Though many of the best prospects in the Detroit Red Wings system to start the 2015-16 season have graduated into the NHL, the franchise still has some quality prospects across the system. In particular, the team seems to have invested heavily in the European hockey scene. They have a half-dozen prospects playing abroad right now, led by names like Joren van Pottelberghe and Axel Holmstrom. Though the majority of their top prospects are CHL products, there are a few potential gems hidden across the pond. In addition to those prospects, the Red Wings have taken a chance on a few prospects who will develop at the collegiate level. No one on the list possesses the quality of one-time Michigan Wolverine Dylan Larkin, but there are a few late-round picks that have the talent to develop.
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.
The Detroit Red Wings find themselves in a little bit of a different position that we are used to seeing them. Granted, they still consistently find regular season success and make the playoffs in the face of long odds, but the veteran core is finding itself being more and more minimized.
The youth movement in Detroit has already gotten underway, thanks to exciting players like Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar. Behind them, there are a plethora of enticing prospects that the Red Wings will be leaning heavily on in the future.
The prize of the Detroit Red Wings prospect pool is University of Michigan forward Dylan Larkin, who seems likely to sign an NHL contract sooner rather than later despite being in just his first season of collegiate hockey.