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2015 Draft Preview – Detroit Red Wings still the prospect kings

Ken Campbell
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Dylan Larkin (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

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2015 Draft Preview – Detroit Red Wings still the prospect kings

Ken Campbell
By:

For years, the Detroit Red Wings had based much of their success on their ability to find late-round gems, almost always from Russia or Sweden. But that paradigm is shifting. The Wings’ top prospects are Canadians and Americans, and two of them – Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin – were first-round picks.

For years, the Detroit Red Wings had based much of their success on their ability to find late-round gems, almost always from Russia or Sweden. But that paradigm is shifting. The Wings’ top prospects are Canadians and Americans, and two of them – Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin – were first-round picks. That’s not to say the Wings have lost their magic in the late rounds. Finland's Teemu Pulkkinen was drafted 111th overall in 2010 and defenseman Alexey Marchenko was taken 205th overall in 2011. Center Axel Holmstrom is now considered a steal, going in the 196th spot in 2014.


Picks

Round 1, pick 19
Round 3, pick 73
Round 4, pick 110
Round 5, pick 140
Round 6, pick 170
Round 7, pick 200

Short-Term Needs

Before acquiring Marek Zidlicky at the trade deadline, the Red Wings were in the market for an NHL-caliber defenseman, and that search will continue after Zidlicky’s contract expires this summer.

Long-Term Needs

The Red Wings have relied heavily on the tandem of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. It has long worked for them, but with both players getting up there in age and prone to missing long stretches with injuries, Detroit needs players who are elite at both ends of the ice. Consistency in goaltending has also been an issue.

Cap Situation

The Red Wings have roughly $56 million committed for next season. Aside from Zidlicky, they have only Dan Cleary, Erik Cole and backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson coming up for unrestricted free agency. Where GM Ken Holland will face his biggest challenge is in restricted free agency, where key players Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Jurco lead a long list of young players who want raises.

In the System 2015-16

There was speculation Mantha would make the team without any time in the minors, but he was hurt in rookie camp and had his struggles in the AHL, with just 15 goals in 62 games with Grand Rapids. Pulkkinen made the jump at mid-season after scoring 61 points in 46 AHL games and will stay, as will Marchenko.

Did You Know

The Red Wings had five prospects in the top 50 and six in the top 75 (tied with the Winnipeg Jets for most in the league) of this year’s Future Watch edition.

 

THN will be releasing its Team Reports from Draft Preview for each of the 30 NHL franchises in the week leading up to the NHL Draft. Read them in our “Draft” channel.

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2015 Draft Preview – Detroit Red Wings still the prospect kings