Even though the NHL still has its doors closed, the rest of the hockey world is celebrating this joyous time of year.
Fans of international and minor league hockey are gearing up for the annual World Junior Championship in hopes of seeing their nation capture the Gold.
The American Hockey League has also hit the 20 game mark and some of the game's young stars are proving to be valuable assets to their team's season.
And most international leagues are on their holiday break.
For the future Red Wings, there is much to celebrate, including several prospects landing spots on their country's roster for the WJC tournament. Here is how your favorite prospects are doing...
Ryan Sproul, Defenseman/Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
So far there have been no signs of setbacks since Sproul's return from a hand injury. In addition to making the latest round of cuts for Team Canada's World Junior Championship roster, he has also been a steady presence for the Greyhounds. This past weekend saw him chip in four assists despite his team dropping two games. Sproul's fate will be determined for the WJC in the coming days as tournament play begins on Dec. 26 in Ufa, Russia. Until then Sproul has games against the Whalers on the 12th, Spirit on the 14th and Sarnia on the 16th before the extended holiday break.
Which Grand Rapids player has impressed you the most this season?
Landon Ferraro, Center/Grand Rapids Griffins
In a season where the son of Ray Ferraro has finally stayed healthy, Landon has been a surprise for the Griffins. The Red Wings traded down to acquire him 32nd overall in 2009, but he struggled in his first season with the Griffins in 2011-12. He had 20 points in 57 games. This season, Ferraro is third in team scoring with 17 points in 22 games and is second on the team with a +6 rating (AHL.com). Over the weekend Ferraro assisted on two goals in a 3-0 win over the Chicago Wolves and netted two goals in a 4-2 win over the Rockford IceHogs.
Calle Jarnkrok, Center/Brynas IF (Sweden)
The season over in Sweden has hit the 30 games mark and Red Wings' prospect Calle Jarnkrok has once again impressed the team's scouts. The lockout has forced many NHLers overseas and Jarnkrok has responded well to the increased talent level. In 31 games, the Swedish prospect has ten goals and 17 assists. He is also a +6, but most importantly, he leads his team in scoring as a 21 year old. His team, Brynas IF, is now on their holiday break until Dec. 26 when games resume.
Alan Quine, Center/Peterborough Petes
The play of this third-round draft pick is one of the few bright spots for the Petes in 2012-13. He is third in scoring on the team with 19 points in 18 games (eight goals, 11 assists). While Quine is a bit undersized standing at 5'11" and 188 lbs., he has a knack for getting to the net. Quine and his teammates have three games over the weekend and look to make up ground in the OHL's East Division.
Petr Mrazek, Goaltender/Grand Rapids Griffins
It's been nine games into Petr Mrazek's first season in GR and he has yet to disappoint. That is primarily because of the organizational void at goaltender. Mrazek has a 7-2-0-0 record with a 2.42 GAA and a .912 Save percentage. What is nice is that the Red Wings will keep the 20-year-old goaltender around over the holidays. The past three seasons Mrazek has gone to play for his native Czech Republic in the World Junior tournament. The Griffins will also like to have him around for their arduous stretch run of games which includes a home game against the Peoria Rivermen and then travelling to Toronto play against the Marlies on Sunday.
Michael McKee, Defenseman/Lincoln Stars
Standing at a brutish 6'4 and 245 lbs., Michael McKee demands respect on the ice. He makes others pay with his fists and his grit. In just 17 games this season, McKee has already compiled 156 PIMs. With an organizational need for team toughness, this fifth round draft pick in June's draft fits the bill. McKee also has two goals, five assists and +4 rating. At only age 19 he can spend some time down in the Minors to become more responsible on defense.
Martin Frk, Right Wing/Halifax Mooseheads
Frk will also be another Red Wing prospect trying to fight his way onto the Czech Republic 2013 WJC roster. While injuries and his age have kept him off in year's past, a strong start out in Halifax coupled with his rapid maturity and growth on the ice should land him a spot. In 28 games this season, Martin has lit the lamp 13 times and assisted on 25 other goals. What's better is that he led the Mooseheads to two wins over the weekend and provided a goal and two assists during that time. The Mooseheads have four games remaining before the break and Frk looks to eclipse the 40 point plateau before then.
Chad Billins, Defenseman/Grand Rapids Griffins
Billins has not registered a point in the last six games, but that won't phase this up and coming defensive prospect. Billins still has given the Griffins valuable ice time and has worked well on their special teams units and in even strength. He will look to regain his form against a Rivermen team that has been struggling in net (Jake Allen: 7-10-2, 3.29, .897 percentage) and also against a Marlies team that is anchored by the goalie play of Ben Scrivens (8-7-0, 2.47, .908 percentage).
Xavier Ouellet, Defenseman/Armada-Blainville Broisbriand
Ouellet beat out defenseman like Mathew Dumba and Frank Corrado to be selected to the 2013 World Junior Championship roster for Canada. This is truly an honor for a player like Ouellet who has carried his QMJHL for much of the season and continued his point-per-game pace. He has 25 points in 26 games and looks to add to his totals before a weekend tilt with Val d'Or and Rouyn-Noranda. Red Wings should be on the look out for Ouellet being paired with Morgan Rielly or Scott Harrington on defense during the tournament.
Nick Jensen, Defenseman/St. Cloud State Univ. (WCHA)
Red Wings fans have most likely never heard of this defenseman. He is putting up good numbers with the Saint Cloud State University Huskies of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association through 16 games. He has a goal and 11 assists which leads the team. He was drafed in 2009 but was only 17 when he was acquired by the Red Wings in the fifth round. The Red Wings are letting this prospect sit down in the college system and get his reps. His college team has a weekend series against Colorado College on Friday and Saturday before taking a week long break for Christmas.