2018-19 Farm System Report: Detroit Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings’ impressive 25-year run of Stanley Cup Playoff appearances came to an end following the 2016-17 season, but don’t expect their postseason drought to last much longer.

As has long been the case, the Red Wings once again enjoyed an incredibly successful NHL Draft — this time in the offseason of 2018 — and one which has positioned the franchise for ample success in the immediate future.

Not only was the storied franchise able to nab uber-sniper Filip Zadina with the sixth-overall selection in the event, but Detroit downright stole a bevy of other notable prospects fairly late in the Draft. With prospect depth at every position of the ice except for in-goal, the Red Wings could return to their former glory much earlier than originally thought.

Franchise Breakdown:

Division: Atlantic

Stanley Cups: 11

2017-18 Record: 30-39-13; 73 Points

2017-18 Top Scorer: Dylan Larkin; 16G, 47A, 63Pts

Farm System Grade: A-

Top 10 Prospects:

  1. Filip Zadina
  2. Michael Rasmussen
  3. Joe Veleno
  4. Evgeny Svehcnikov
  5. Jared McIsaac
  6. Jonatan Berggren
  7. Filip Hronek
  8. Dennis Cholowski
  9. Vili Saarijarvi
  10. Joe Hicketts

The State of the Red Wings’ Farm System

Positional versatility is the driving force behind the value of the Detroit Red Wings’ farm system.

While many NHL organizations boast a wealth of skill in one particular area of the ice, the Red Wings own an arsenal of highly skilled young talent throughout their prospect pool — a reality which could return the franchise to its former glory in the coming years. If, and when, Detroit is capable of meeting its own expectations, sixth-overall selection in the 2018 NHL Draft Filip Zadina will surely be leading the charge.

In hindsight, the Red Wings were exceptionally fortunate to land Zadina in the Draft.

Zadina_TW_CHL_6099
The fact that the Red Wings were able to nab Zadina at sixth-overall in the 2018 NHL Draft remains nothing short of mind-boggling. (Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/CHL Images)

Despite his projection as a top-three talent, Zadina fell to Detroit after a number of NHL organizations holding higher choices targeted players who satisfied specific organizational needs. Yet, the Red Wings will surely not complain about their luck, as Zadina’s internal drive and lethal skill-set should allow the young ‘Czech to make an impact at the NHL-level this coming season.

Further to Zadina, Detroit nabbed Joe Veleno, Jonatan Berggren, Jared McIsaac, and Alec Regula relatively early in the 2018 Draft. Seizing the opportunity to add both forwards and defenceman to their farm system, the Red Wings strengthened an already saturated prospect pool which contains Michael Rasmussen, Dennis Cholowski, Filip Hronek, and Vili Saarijarvi.

If Detroit can acquire or develop a goaltender capable of backstopping a young team with relative consistency — see Frederik Andersen in Toronto — the Red Wings could become a lethal and dynamic team in a few years time.

One Red Wings Prospect to Watch

While it would have been incredibly easy to discuss Zadina and his goal-scoring prowess, let’s shift our focus towards one of Detroit’s more intimidating prospects.

When the Red Wings chose Michael Rasmussen with the ninth-overall choice in the 2017 NHL Draft, may were quick to criticize the decision. However, since his selection by Detroit, Rasmussen has evolved into a goal-scoring machine for the Tri-City Americans of the WHL.

In the season immediately following his selection by the Red Wings, Rasmussen potted 31 goals and 59 points in just 47 regular season games played. Then, when his team competed in the playoffs, Rasmussen added another 16 goals an 33 points in just 14 games played.

Standing 6-foot-6 and weighing 220-pounds, Rasmussen owns NHL size and the offensive skill-set to match. Although the Red Wings could allow Rasmussen to play an additional season in the WHL, the fact remains that Rasmussen is ready for the professional ranks and well worthy of his ninth-overall selection.

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