The Detroit Red Wings have long had the philosophy that prospects need to be "ripe" before they make the jump to the National Hockey League. That means after getting drafted, our prospects spend around 3-5 years between junior or overseas and the AHL before finally getting their shot in the NHL. This has proven to be successful for many years now and I don't see them drastically changing that system any time soon.
I don't see there being much of a chance that Mantha makes the big club this season, despite how highly fans, media and management regard him, nor do I think Jurco will start the season in the NHL. I'm actually a fan of the Red Wing way, of over ripening players, and I like the idea of having a farm oozing with talent. Depth is probably the biggest key to a teams success in the league today, and because of our drafting, development and ripening methods, we are definitely stacked with depth in the minors.
There is a reason players like Nyquist and Tatar were able to jump into the NHL with little to no growing pains, while highly regarded players drafted by other teams get thrown in the fire too early and flame out due to not being ready, and having their confidence destroyed. I'm just as excited for all these kids as anyone but I think it would be a huge mistake to throw them in the best league in the world before they're fully ready, both physically and mentally. In my opinion, on the back end, Marchenko could be ready for full time duty in the NHL, other than that I think Backman, Ouellet, Sproul and Jensen can all use more seasoning in the AHL. Up front, Jurco is the closest to being ready, but could still use another season down in the minors, along with Pulkkinen, Mantha, Athanasiou, etc.
Anyway, point being, I don't think there is any harm in resigning a future hall-of-famer, veteran like Alfredsson, allowing all of our forward prospects another season in Grand Rapids to round out there game. Having these guys getting top line minutes and loads of PP time down in Grand Rapids, to me is a lot more beneficial than getting 3rd line minutes and no PP time up in Detroit.
As for our RFA's that are not waiver exempt, I don't think there is any chance whatsoever that any team picks up Nestrasil, with a slim chance a team takes a chance on Ferraro, although that may be even less likely now with uncle Tony now as the assistant coach. My only fear is that we lose Callahan. The kid is coming off a career year with the Griffins, is an absolute warrior and would be a great addition to any teams 4th line. I hope Holland doesn't give any team the chance to claim him. No he's not going to put up a lot of points but I think he would be a huge loss...
I don't understand why Callahan doesn't just become the new Holmstrom? He's clearly tough as hell, has a scoring touch around the crease, and isn't afraid to stand in front of slap shots. Plus, he's actually good defensively and on special teams.
In another dimension (one where the Wings don't have Andersson or Cleary or Glendening on the opening night roster) I'd pencil this kid in as my fourth line winger, penalty killer, and net front on my 2nd PP unit.