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Top 20 prospects, ranked and in-depth


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#1 Shutemdown

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 08:31 AM

http://www.redwingsc...asonRanking.php

That's the link, but I might as well just post it here, too.

Jonathon Ericsson and Darren Helm have bounced Jimmy Howard from the top of Red Wings Central’s end-of-season prospect ranking.

Ericsson, who started the season ranked eighth, and Helm, who started the season ranked 10th, sit 1-2 on the final report, knocking off Howard, who has been No. 1 on the list since midway through the 2006-07 campaign.

All three are capable of playing in the NHL in the fall.

Most of the other movement within the ranking is fairly minor, but recently-signed Finnish forward Ville Leino debuts at No. 11 and Belarusian defenseman Sergei Kolosov bounces back onto the list in the final spot at No. 20.

Here’s a rundown.

01. Jonathan Ericsson (+1) — Mike Babcock loves him and with good reason. The mobile 6-foot-5, 218-pound blueliner boasts a 100-mile-per-hour bomb and should be logging top-four minutes in Detroit in a couple of seasons.

02. Darren Helm (+5) — Red Wings GM Ken Holland said after the Cup win Helm gave Detroit a fourth line. With his speed, hitting and tireless work ethic, he’ll give them a lot more than that in a few years. He’s a lock for Detroit in 2008-09.

03. Jimmy Howard (-2) — Howard has been inconsistent his entire career, and still hasn’t shaken it after three years in the pros. But despite a poor finish, he looks like a future star when he’s on. He’s ready for NHL backup duty.

04. Jakub Kindl (-1) — Kindl was ranked 36th among NHL prospects by a panel of scouts in The Hockey News, and there is no denying his raw skills. But parts of his game were exposed as an AHL rookie, and he has plenty of work to do.

05. Justin Abdelkader (-1) — He plays a hard, physical game and does so with a smile, and that makes him the future of the Grind Line in Detroit. He would benefit from a full year of AHL seasoning, with a few call-ups mixed in.

06. Brendan Smith (-) — Before he could gain any momentum, a shoulder injury knocked him out for half the season. But he’s a great skater with sky-high offensive upside, and a big sophomore year could be in the offing in 2008-09.

07. Jan Mursak (+1) — He’s a slippery little bugger with home-run type skills, and was a scoring-line forward on one of Canada’s top junior teams this season. His offensive prowess will be tested in the fall at the AHL level.

08. Cory Emmerton (-3) — Emmerton lost his footing as a blue-chipper in a year he should have challenged for an OHL scoring title, but mononucleosis is partly responsible. He will look to reassert himself in the AHL in 2008-09.

09. Dick Axelsson (-) — When Hakan Andersson raves about a prospect, people listen. And Andersson gives Axelsson glowing reviews. Beyond his all-world natural skills, Axelsson has to bulk up and stay out of off-ice trouble.

10. Kyle Quincey (-) — You know a team has a deep prospects depth chart when an NHL caliber defenseman is ranked No. 10. Quincey can play, albeit in a limited role, and his waiver status should finally give him an NHL job in 2008-09.

11. Ville Leino (NR) — The Red Wings hope Leino will challenge for an NHL spot in 2008-09. The Finnish SM-Liiga MVP is a fierce competitor with terrific puck-possession skills, but some wonder if he has the foot-speed to keep up.

12. Joakim Andersson (-1) — Andersson is a big, strong, two-way forward who has made outstanding strides. He looked comfortable during his brief time in the Swedish Elite League and is a lock to be signed next summer.

13. Daniel Larsson (-) — The Red Wings weren’t sold on Larsson coming into the season, but he forced their hand by winning Swedish Elite League rookie- and goalie-of-the-year awards. He could be third on the NHL depth chart in 2008-09.

14. Logan Pyett (-2) — The small but skilled power-play quarterback looks like another late-round steal. His future depends on how he measures up defensively against bigger, stronger pro forwards. He'll play in the AHL in the fall.

15. Mattias Ritola (-1) — Ritola made good strides as an AHL rookie, showing solid work ethic and surprising defensive smarts. He occasionally flashes hints of dynamic offense, and he’ll need to produce more in 2008-09.

16. Evan McGrath (+2) — Could there be light at the end of the tunnel for McGrath? He got his act together and had a terrific second half in Grand Rapids, and now, the door is open for him to become a high-scoring AHLer in 2008-09.

17. Ryan Oulahen (-2) — Oulahen is a class-act and a coach’s dream for doing the little things that help a team win. But he needs to start doing more damage offensively or get his nose dirtier if he wants to get a cup of coffee in the NHL.

18. Zack Torquato (+1) — It’s hard to get a good read on Torquato from last season because he was stuck on such a poor team. If Erie improves, as expected, Torquato will have a monster offensive campaign and earn a contract.

19. Johan Ryno (-3) — Ryno is at risk of completely falling off the prospect map. He left the AHL after 12 games to take limited ice time in the Swedish Elite League and has now signed with a second-level Swedish team for 2008-09. Not good.

20. Sergei Kolosov (NR) —Kolosov is still on the radar. The Red Wings are talking about signing him at some point, mostly because they like his hard-hitting style. Problem is, he’s totally unproven, and needs to find a home in a top league.

#2 Dump-N-Thump

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Posted 23 August 2008 - 01:22 PM

Old, but yah its perty accurate.

#3 Doggy

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 04:29 PM

How is Kindl not our no. 1 prospect?

Ericsson won't be as good as Kindl will be. Brendan Smith too.
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#4 F.Michael

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 12:15 AM

QUOTE (Doggy @ August 24, 2008 - 04:29PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
How is Kindl not our no. 1 prospect?

Ericsson won't be as good as Kindl will be. Brendan Smith too.

Thing with the NHL is that they're drafting 18 yr olds (kids really) whom need time to physically/mentally mature...Some guys are late bloomers (Ericsson), & some may have peaked, & won't get much better (career in the AHL).

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#5 Doggy

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 05:26 AM

QUOTE (F.Michael @ August 25, 2008 - 12:15AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thing with the NHL is that they're drafting 18 yr olds (kids really) whom need time to physically/mentally mature...Some guys are late bloomers (Ericsson), & some may have peaked, & won't get much better (career in the AHL).

I think some people have gotten a little ahead of themselves when it comes to Jon Ericsson. Firstly, he's very skinny and weak. He has a big frame but that's about it. He'll never be a top 3 D-man. Kindl and Smith are almost certain to be that.

Don't get me wrong, I like Ericsson and am really pleased with his development, particularly over the last few years but he is very far from our #1 prospect. I can't see how someone would think he is. I really can't.
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#6 F.Michael

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 05:39 AM

QUOTE (Doggy @ August 25, 2008 - 05:26AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think some people have gotten a little ahead of themselves when it comes to Jon Ericsson. Firstly, he's very skinny and weak. He has a big frame but that's about it. He'll never be a top 3 D-man. Kindl and Smith are almost certain to be that.

Don't get me wrong, I like Ericsson and am really pleased with his development, particularly over the last few years but he is very far from our #1 prospect. I can't see how someone would think he is. I really can't.

Well Scotty Bowman seems to hold him in high regard by claiming he'll be a top 4 Dman in a few years...Kindl has been said to have taken a step back in his development since being in GR - not saying he won't turn things around, & play well this year, but it appears that he'll need at least 1 more full season in the AHL...As for Smith - he was a very good Dman in Junior A (mind you not Major Junior), & went on to play for the Wisconsin Badgers this past season, but his season was cut short due to an injury. It'll be 3, or 4 years before Smith's ready for NHL action, & way too early to tell if he'll be a top 3 guy.

Edited by F.Michael, 25 August 2008 - 05:40 AM.


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#7 Doggy

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 06:53 AM

I don't wanna rag on him too much, but Ericsson is a less skilled, thinner and softer version of Jiri Fischer with slightly worse puck-moving skills and a similar shot. He'll be a #4 Dman at best, I think. I'd love for him to use his body a little more, hopefully he will. I doubt anyone would say he'll become a top 2 Dman though. So how is he our top prospect? Seriously, if he was our top prospect we'd be in a lot of trouble. Guys like Mursak, Smith, Howard and Kindl are all better prospects because chances are they'll have a larger impact on the team when the time comes. Well, that's the way I look at prospects anyway.

Regarding Jakub Kindl - he just needs to adjust to professional NA hockey a little more. It was very likely he'd find it tough initially and did but he hasn't taken a step back at all. Taking a step back would be him failing to improve this season. He will play minimum one more season in the AHL. He is getting pretty much the perfect preparation for the NHL. IMO, he's our best prospect, and should be a top 2 defenseman for Detroit given time like Kronwall has.

Edited by Doggy, 25 August 2008 - 07:07 AM.

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#8 skacore

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 06:47 PM

QUOTE (Doggy @ August 25, 2008 - 06:26AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think some people have gotten a little ahead of themselves when it comes to Jon Ericsson. Firstly, he's very skinny and weak. He has a big frame but that's about it. He'll never be a top 3 D-man. Kindl and Smith are almost certain to be that.

Don't get me wrong, I like Ericsson and am really pleased with his development, particularly over the last few years but he is very far from our #1 prospect. I can't see how someone would think he is. I really can't.

I think you're talking out of your ass. Ericsson is not skinny, nor is he weak. He has a big frame and he has skill and hockey sense to go with it, he very well may be a top 3 D-man, why would you think he won't be? Kindl may have more upside but last year was a bit of a set back, when Ericsson came over to North America he jumped right in and had a fantastic year in the AHL and he improved that much more this year. Smith could potentially be a top 3 D-man as well but he is so far from it right now that it's impossible to label him as a "certain" top 3.

It's difficult to compare prospects when their ages range anywhere from 18-24 but I don't see what the fuss is about that someone considers an NHL ready 1984 born D-man above a 1987 D-man who really, really struggled in the AHL last season.

#9 skacore

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 06:57 PM

QUOTE (Doggy @ August 25, 2008 - 07:53AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't wanna rag on him too much, but Ericsson is a less skilled, thinner and softer version of Jiri Fischer with slightly worse puck-moving skills and a similar shot. He'll be a #4 Dman at best, I think. I'd love for him to use his body a little more, hopefully he will. I doubt anyone would say he'll become a top 2 Dman though. So how is he our top prospect? Seriously, if he was our top prospect we'd be in a lot of trouble. Guys like Mursak, Smith, Howard and Kindl are all better prospects because chances are they'll have a larger impact on the team when the time comes. Well, that's the way I look at prospects anyway.

what!?! have you even seen him play aside from his couple of call ups? He's just as skilled as Fischer was, very very similar in size, he's not as punishing physically as Fischer but he is much better at keeping guys to the perimeter and as good defensively, and a better shot than Fischer, he has an unbelievable shot. I can definitely see him getting top 2 minutes in the future, he's really that good and only 23-24.

#10 Doggy

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 11:20 PM

QUOTE (skacore @ August 25, 2008 - 06:57PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
what!?! have you even seen him play aside from his couple of call ups? He's just as skilled as Fischer was, very very similar in size, he's not as punishing physically as Fischer but he is much better at keeping guys to the perimeter and as good defensively, and a better shot than Fischer, he has an unbelievable shot. I can definitely see him getting top 2 minutes in the future, he's really that good and only 23-24.

Lol. Ever see Jiri Fischer play? He's not just as skilled as Fischer. He may be later on. Jiri Fischer had a ROCKET of a shot, just like Ericsson. Jonathan just needs to time his shots a little better and get them more on target.

Ericsson could still put on a little more bulk and use it more. Like Jiri Fischer did.

Anyway bud, all the best.
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#11 skacore

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 01:04 AM

QUOTE (Doggy @ August 26, 2008 - 12:20AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Lol. Ever see Jiri Fischer play? He's not just as skilled as Fischer. He may be later on. Jiri Fischer had a ROCKET of a shot, just like Ericsson. Jonathan just needs to time his shots a little better and get them more on target.

Ericsson could still put on a little more bulk and use it more. Like Jiri Fischer did.

Anyway bud, all the best.

I saw a lot of Fischer, I always thought of him as a much more powerful Lilja with a bit more offensive upside. I loved having Fisch on the team and realize he was young and on the up rise, but I think he gets a lot more credit now that he's no longer playing. He used to make bone head plays as often as Lilja does now, and he wasn't as big of a hitter as he gets credit for. I've only been following Ericsson for 2 years (obviously) and he's still such a raw talent and yet he seems so composed and mature on the ice, still so young too. Only time will tell but I think this kid is the real deal, I'd be very, very shocked and disappointed if he didn't pass "Jiri Fischer status" after 5-6 seasons in the show. He's such a stand out in Grand Rapids and the way Babcock raves about him in press conferences makes me think he's a stud during practices and off ice too.

#12 F.Michael

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 08:57 AM

QUOTE (skacore @ August 26, 2008 - 01:04AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I saw a lot of Fischer, I always thought of him as a much more powerful Lilja with a bit more offensive upside. I loved having Fisch on the team and realize he was young and on the up rise, but I think he gets a lot more credit now that he's no longer playing. He used to make bone head plays as often as Lilja does now, and he wasn't as big of a hitter as he gets credit for. I've only been following Ericsson for 2 years (obviously) and he's still such a raw talent and yet he seems so composed and mature on the ice, still so young too. Only time will tell but I think this kid is the real deal, I'd be very, very shocked and disappointed if he didn't pass "Jiri Fischer status" after 5-6 seasons in the show. He's such a stand out in Grand Rapids and the way Babcock raves about him in press conferences makes me think he's a stud during practices and off ice too.

That's quite a compliment to a youngster making his way up the ladder to the NHL - being praised by 1 of the better current head coaches, & by arguably 1 of the best coaches in all of sports.

I have confidence in both Babcock, & Bowman as judges in both talent, & character.

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#13 Aussie_Wing

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 12:08 AM

Ritola too far down the list. He had a great season in Grand Rapids and deserves to be higher.

Ken Holland: He’s (Mursak) a young guy, provides energy, can skate, he’s a puck hound.


#14 lomekian

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 11:34 AM

Being compared to fischer is no bad thing...given the way fisch was starting to get his game together before he was struck down, I think he'd comfortably be a top 4 man at most teams now. Also Ericsson features so highly because he offers the potential to be something that none of our other prospects or roster will be...a big defensive body with a bomb of a shot and with decent skills. Others are better in some areas (and possibly much so - Kolosov is a bigger hitter), but none have that particular package which puts him at a premium. That and the fact tha in any other organisation he would be on teh big club now...we're just lucky enough to be stacked on defense. The vary fact that we know he can play in the NHL tomorrow massively increases his worth, as apart from Helm and Quincy (and maybe howard and abdelkader at a pudh) none of our other prospects are at that stage, and Ericsson offers more than quincy certainly, and the wings aren't short of 3rd/4th line forwards.

Leino is the only other possibility for this year.....

#15 Shutemdown

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 11:40 AM

I would love to see Ville Leino get some playing time this year!

#16 eva unit zero

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 06:09 PM

QUOTE (skacore @ August 26, 2008 - 02:04AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I saw a lot of Fischer, I always thought of him as a much more powerful Lilja with a bit more offensive upside. I loved having Fisch on the team and realize he was young and on the up rise, but I think he gets a lot more credit now that he's no longer playing. He used to make bone head plays as often as Lilja does now, and he wasn't as big of a hitter as he gets credit for.


You're a bit off.

Fischer was a top-three defenseman on a team that was more stacked defensively than our current lineup is. He was better in ALL respects when he was forced to quit than Kronwall is now. What people forget about Jiri Fischer? He had the hardest shot on the team, was among the fastest skaters on the team; he had better top-end speed than any other defenseman on the team when he was here, including Mathieu Dandenault and Brett Lebda, he was among the biggest hitters on the team, was one of the go-to PK defenseman, and was just starting to get looks on the power play as well; the only reason he hadn't until that point was the number of experienced defensemen the team had who had played a lot of time on the PP in their careers, regardless of actual offensive performance, which resulted in guys like Chelios and Hatcher seeing PP time before Fischer did.
The Wings probably don't have Stuart right now if Fischer is still on the team. But the Wings don't NEED to make that trade, and the Wings have more cap space if Fischer is still around because he would have cost less at this point than Stuart ended up costing. And for the record, Stuart is not as good as Fischer was or would have become.
Fischer also had yet to have a true 'breakthrough' season...yet he was already quite good. People liked to bash him because he was the unfortunate kid who ended up with a benching during the Calgary series; but often forgotten is that this is due to the fact that Dave Lewis didn't have the balls to bench a veteran, and that Fischer had been one of the better defensemen during the run but was the only 'benchable' defenseman because Lewis was a *****. Anyone who thinks Derian Hatcher outplayed Jiri Fischer at either end of the ice more often than not during the time they were both Red Wings? I don't expect to see many hands raised, because Hatcher was pretty awful in Detroit and Fischer played some of his best hockey during Hatcher's stay as a Wing.
Certainly there are former Fischer-bashers who have reversed tone since his de facto retirement...but to say that he was basically a stronger Lilja is to do the opposite, given that he was already a much better player in all respects than Lilja has ever been or ever will be, and he had not yet reached his prime. Fischer was well on his way to being a STAR defenseman in the NHL...Lilja will never be more than a third pairing defenseman. Remember...Lilja was born 5 years after Fischer, yet they made their NHL debuts the same season. Fischer played 55 games that season; Lilja played 2. Fischer was the #3 defenseman on the Cup champions before Lilja had earned a regular NHL job. If you go based on age-point, Fischer did it 6 years earlier.

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#17 Dump-N-Thump

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 02:05 AM

I love reading peoples thoughts on players when they've only seen them play like 4-5 times..

#18 Doggy

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 03:23 AM

QUOTE (Dump-N-Thump @ September 1, 2008 - 02:05AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I love reading peoples thoughts on players when they've only seen them play like 4-5 times..

I actually only saw Ericsson play for Detroit once. I didn't really take anything from it coz he played f*** all.
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