Stocked and ready with skilled players, the Detroit Red Wings continue to supply Joe Louis Arena with world-class skill on a nightly basis. With a number of prospects set to make the transition from either the junior game to the pro game or the AHL to the NHL, the inaugural edition of the HF Prospect Awards is ripe with noteworthy names.
The Detroit Red Wings have several talented prospects playing in the CHL, boasting players who offer a mix of both offensive talent and physicality. There are three players in the OHL, two in the QMJHL and three from the WHL.
Petr Mrazek, G, Ottawa 67's
While Mrazek was one of the top goalies in the OHL through the first ten games of the season, his play has slowed down a bit since. He has started in 23 of Ottawa's 26 games this year, posting a 3.10 goals against average and .910 save percentage.
Despite all of their playoff and regular season success over the past number of years, the Detroit Red Wings have still managed to draft some talented prospects. While none of the players will stand out as blue-chip prospects, Detroit does have notable depth – especially at the forward position.
The Red Wings are probably strongest at the left wing in terms of pure talent, even though it has the lowest number of prospects among the forwards ranks. Right wing and center are fairly strong as well, boasting talent, grit, and defensive savvy.
On the blue line, Detroit will be looking to some 2011 draftees – Xavier Ouellet and Ryan Sproul – to bolster a pool of prospects that has not met expectations. While there is surely talent on amongst the defense corps, there are also several question marks. The Red Wings' goaltending depth is in a similar situation as well, with several prospects not meeting their expected potential.
The Red Wings maintained their recent trend of looking towards the CHL with their early picks and adding depth later in the draft with prospects playing overseas. The team's first five selections all came from Canadian Major Junior leagues, with six total CHL picks in the 2011 draft class equally distributed among the QMJHL, OHL, and WHL.
Detroit made nine total selections in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and came away with five defensemen and four forwards. The club traded their first round pick (24th overall) to Ottawa in exchange for a pair of second round picks at 35th and 48th, and the team still came away with a prospect considered by many a first round talent. With the blue line a hot topic of debate in Detroit after the retirement of Brian Rafalski, the team added a pair of high-end defensive prospects in the second round. Three more defensemen were added late in the draft, strengthening one of the system's weaker positions.