The long-discussed rebuild in Detroit has yet to come and the Red Wings scouting staff is doing their best to make sure that no such rebuild has to take place.
With recent graduations to the NHL like Teemu Pulkkinen and Dylan Larkin – the latter of whom leads all NHL rookies in goals with 11 – there are still several prospects plying their trade at the AHL level looking to be the next call-up to help keep the Red Wings going.
In the past, the Detroit Red Wings found long-term success in partial thanks to a scouting department that unearthed gems like Sergei Fedorov, Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk past the draft’s first round. That trend has continued in recent years. Tomas Tatar, a second-round pick in 2009, burst onto the scene in 2014-15 with a 29-goal season while Gustav Nyquist, a fourth-round pick in 2008, posted consecutive seasons of 28 and 27 goals.
As with seemingly every Detroit Red Wings draft class, five years is almost too early to evaluate its success; that said, the Red Wings 2010 draft may have been the organization’s most successful since 2005, when the team took long-term contributors Justin Abdelkader, Jakub Kindl and Darren Helm.
It has been a gradual change, but the draft picks that have been laying in wait for the Detroit Red Wings have started to make their impact on the team’s NHL roster. As some graduate to the NHL others have filled their spots in the AHL, leaving Detroit’s system very top-heavy with prospects playing professionally.
The drive from Grand Rapids to Detroit is rather unremarkable. Flat land and clusters of trees pockmark the edge of the highway.