Detroit Red Wings: The Future Looks Bright In Hockey Town

Adam GreuelSenior Analyst IJune 27, 2008

With another successful season in the books, the Wings once again had a low draft pick (30th overall because of the cup win!).

With that pick, the Wings selected a kid who may be there potential number one in 3-4 years. His name is Thomas McCollum.

With this article I will be ranking the top 15 prospects in the Wings system and giving them a grade based on their potential.

1. Jakub Kindl D: The Wings have high hopes for Jakub Kindl. The Czech Republic native played for the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL) this past season. He is a big player and his skating/puck poise are incredible. He isn't afraid of being hit and has been known to drop the gloves every once in a while.

Potential: First pairing defense men (9/10)

2. Jonathan Ericsson D: Ericsson has shot up the depth chart this season. Mike Babcock even went as far as saying that it was amazing that they could keep this guy off the ice during the play-offs. Ericsson is another bug defense men and he has great mobility. A cannon from the point makes him a valuable player on the Power play.

Potential: First pairing defensemen (9/10)

3. Jimmy Howard G: Once seen as a franchise goaltender for the Wings but from what was seen recently the Wings only see him as a gap-stop solution until McCollum is ready. He should be given the chance to split games with Osgood next year. Utilizes the butterfly technique, very good at positioning himself to make the first save. He needs to work on his rebound control.

Potential: Number one goaltender (8/10)

4. Jan Mursak LW: Very small forward but he can skate like the wind. Soft hands and excellent hockey-sense make him a dangerous threat whenever he is on the ice. He hustles all the time but can be thrown around because of his small stature.

Potential: Second Line Scorer (7.8/10)

5. Darren Helm C: Helm made a size able contribution to this years cup run. His play on the fourth line was great and he may have earned himself a permanent spot on the team next year. His speed and grit makes him a great two way player and helped him score a few timely goals in this years play-offs.

Potential: Two way third liner( 7.5/10)

6. Justin Abdelkader C: Justin is an excellent skater. He has a great release, good shot and is very good around the offensive net. He’s a good two-way forward who plays well at both ends of the ice. He is also physical. Could be ready to play in the NHL next year but the big question is, will their be room?

Potential: Two way third liner (7.5/10)

7. Brendan Smith D: Could be a great defense man. He posses great speed and his stride is effortless. His vision is great and his soft hands allow him to make great breakout passes.

Potential: Second pairing defense men (7.5/10)

8. Johan Ryno RW: Ryno has tremendous size for a winger and is a solid skater. He also possesses above average puck skills. He has a good attitude and works hard. Ryno isn´t afraid of using his size to his advantage. He has a good scoring touch and is dangerous around the net. He possesses above average hockey sense and uses his line mates to his advantage.

Potential: Third Liner (7.0/10)

9. Cory Emmerton C: Great play maker who uses his line mates to his advantage. He isn't afraid to drive hard to the net and he is good on his skates. To become a successful NHler he may need to improve on the defensive side of the game.

Potential: Second/Third Line Play maker (7.0/10)

10. Daniel Larsson G: He uses his excellent positioning and reflexes to stop most shots, but he is not very big. Quick glove hand but he has problems with rebound control and shot recovery.

Potential: Back-up/rotating number one: (6.8/10)

11. Kyle Quincey D: Quincey has decent size and mobility. He uses his quick feet and aggressive style of play to his advantage in playing a great defensive game. He is strong and can clear the zone very well.

Potential: third pairing shut down defense man (6.5/10)

12. Dick Axelsson LW: His best asset is his hockey sense and he also have good speed and fore checking ability. He doesn't shy away from the physical part of the game. One thing he needs to improve on is his play in the defensive zone.

Potential: Third/Fourth Liner (6.0/10)

13. Logan Pyett D: May not make it to the NHL if he cannot improve defensively. He has a good shot and decent speed. His vision is a huge plus and he can make great first passes out of the zone.

Potential: Fifth or Sixth defense man (5.8/10)

14. Mattias Ritola C: Ritolla is a great penalty killer who excels in the defensive zone. He has great hockey sense to help him know where to position himself. However, he needs to work on his scoring touch.

Potential: Fourth Line Center (5.5/10)

15. Joakim Andersson C: Another defensively skilled player, Andersson is slow on his feet and he must work on his acceleration. He isn't very physical but his hockey sense is great.

Potential: Fourth Line Center (5.5/10)