Detroit Red Wings: 5 Most Exciting Prospects After 2013 NHL Draft
Another hockey season has passed and another NHL draft is complete.
Holding the 18th overall selection, general manager Ken Holland was able to trade down to the 20th overall pick in a quick swap with the San Jose Sharks. He was also able to acquire San Jose's second-round pick (58th overall) and selected Tyler Bertuzzi, whose uncle, Todd, plays for the Red Wings.
But at the 20th selection, the Red Wings were able to choose the skilled scorer Anthony Mantha from Val-d'Or of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Mantha is a perfect fit for the Red Wings and their needs. He scored 50 goals last season for the Foreurs, who finished fourth in their division. He also has good size (6'3", 200 lbs), plays right wing and will only be in Major Junior for one more season before likely playing in the AHL.
The Wings are confident that Mantha will be in the NHL sooner rather than later.
With a slew of highly touted prospects in front of Mantha, however, he only adds more hype and anticipation to a Red Wings system that is yielding many future NHLers.
Some of those NHLers are pushing to find their way on the roster this season.
They also have prospects, like Mantha, who are giving fans a reason to adjust to the team's youth movement.
Here are the five prospects who are creating excitement in the Wings' system.
Holland is hoping he addressed the second-line center role by signing veteran free-agent Stephen Weiss.
But if Weiss fails to work out, the solution may be found within the Red Wings' system.
This next season will be Calle Jarnkrok's first over in North America. He spent nine games over in Grand Rapids to better acclimate himself to professional hockey.
Jarnkrok could make enough noise to join the Red Wings coming out of training camp.
He is an offensive forward who has the playmaking ability to be the No. 2 center. In Sweden, he had 42 points in 53 games while playing for Brynas IF of the Swedish Elite League. He also would be a nice addition in the dot, as he won 51.89 percent of his faceoffs.
A huge setback is Jarnkrok's small frame. He only stands at 6'1" and 176 pounds. He also struggled when he played with Grand Rapids.
There is too much upside to this skilled Swede that his frame may not be an issue in the NHL.
Wings fans will likely see Tomas Jurco play at some point this NHL season.
Not only has he adjusted to the professional level, but he is also likely the first or second call-up to Detroit, barring an injury to a significant player.
Jurco was a junior hockey standout who helped the Saint John Sea Dogs win a Memorial Cup in 2011. He was a key figure on that team, which had many young NHL stars like Jonathan Huberdeau, Zach Phillips, Charlie Coyle and Nathan Beaulieu.
Moving to the AHL was tough for Jurco. He struggled mightily, as he scored 16 points in the first 53 games. Then he finished strong, scoring 12 points in 21 games. Jurco stepped up big time in the Calder Cup playoffs, as he was third in goals with eight.
When looking at Jurco, he is expected to start next season back at Grand Rapids. He has good size (6'2", 195 lbs), and his ability with the puck will only get better as he matures. He has the opportunity to score 30 goals in a season in the NHL.
The 2014-15 season will likely be when Jurco plays for the Wings full time. The team has many contracts in its last year at forward, and he could play into the top six when he makes it full time.
A successful end to his junior hockey career will reap benefits for Martin Frk.
The Czech native will take the career year in Halifax to Grand Rapids, where he could be a key player in their quest to repeat as Calder Cup champs.
Frk brings a dynamic two-way game to the Griffins. He isn't afraid to grind in the corners and give bone-jarring hits. But he also has a scorer's touch. In 152 games in Halifax, he scored 73 goals and had 90 assists. He was also injured most of the 2011-12 season.
Proving that he can stay healthy, Frk will be a force in the NHL. He could play in a checking role for the first few years until a scoring role opens for him. He has a heavy shot and loves to set himself up in high-scoring areas.
His skating will need a bit of work as well, but his offensive game is NHL-ready. It seems like Frk will be on the fast track to the NHL, as it is possible to see him in Detroit for the 2014-15 season.
In a loaded Red Wings defensive pool, there is very little room to improve your chances to make the NHL.
The Red Wings signed Dan DeKeyser near the end of last season and have an organizational surplus at the professional level. So much so that the team bought out Carlo Colaiacovo to alleviate the cap and also to give it seven defensemen under contract for next season.
With Kyle Quincey, Jonathan Ericsson and Dan DeKeyser all free agents at this time next summer, there may be a few of those highly touted prospects who finally get their chance.
Ryan Sproul will likely be the first to have that opportunity.
Named the OHL Defenseman of the Year, the 6'4" blueliner has a rocket of a shot. He missed nine games due to an arm injury, but that didn't slow down his production.
He played 50 games and amassed 66 points (20 goals, 46 assists). He has a heavy shot from the right side and has impeccable offensive abilities. Sproul is spending next season in Grand Rapids.
Expect Sproul to have a chance to make the Red Wings during the 2014-15 season.
Watch the video to learn more about Ryan Sproul.
The newest Red Wing was the only junior player last season to score 50 goals.
Anthony Mantha grew leaps and bounds in his second season playing for the Val-d'Or Foreurs of the QMJHL. Not only did he receive more time in a scoring role, he was also able to eclipse his 51-point season from 2011-12 with relative ease.
He has yet to develop his game fully. At only age 18, he stands 6'4" and tops out at 190 pounds. he will likely add on about 20 pounds or so before he ends up making it to the AHL.
Mantha will likely finish out his career in Val-d'Or, which means the earliest he might make it professional would be in the 2015-16 season. Other questions about his character and work ethic also might need to be hammered out.
There is a lot to like from the newest Red Wing. Fans and writers will be able to watch him in greater detail during his junior season. He will also be attending the upcoming development camp taking place in Traverse City, Mich.
More will come from the grandson of the former NHL forward Andre Pronovost.