Pronman names 5 Wings in his top 120 NHL prospects

Wings’ prospects always seem to get rated a little bit too high and because of it, bloggers from all over want to complain about their placement in lists. Corey Pronman is the gold standard when evaluating prospects. Yesterday, we pondered whether or not the team’s placement of 18th was the right decision.

Today, I want to look at the players’ he decided to put on the list. Did he make the right call or was he too hard on some?

First thing I noticed on this list is the amount of guys who made it from the Red Wings. I wasn’t expecting this many players to make it. The number is comparable to the Blue Jackets, who have the fourth ranked prospect pipeline and five players making the list. 

The problems begin with players falling sharply down the list. Joe Hicketts, Evgeny Svechnikov and Axel Holmstrom all saw their names drop down the list. As more players enter the league, obviously others will have to drop. Seeing so many players drop is the disappointing part. Hicketts went from 53rd to 59th, Svechnikov went from 21st to 62nd and Holmstrom went from 33rd to 78th. The most disappointing drop has to be Svechnikov, who still has plenty of hype around him. This next year in the AHL should be a great litmus test for him.

The two players to rise were Anthony Mantha and Vili Saarijarvi were the only risers. Saarijarvi was unranked last year and was the 64th ranked player this time around. Mantha was 70th last year and 55th this year. Mantha obviously stepped up after a disappointing first year in the AHL to have a great season. Saarijarvi played on a terrible Flint team and was one of the lone bright spots.

Pronman hammers home the fact that nearly all of these players had disappointing years compared to the hype surrounding them. The interesting part about each of them is the age of each of them, they are all still young compared to normal Wings players. Regardless, they will be in the system for a few more years before any talk of the NHL takes place. 

It is a model the Red Wings have perfected and has allowed for players to be considered “Detroit ready”. They’re able to join the team almost seamlessly, yet we continue to see the same players trotted out, year after year. Is the development getting stunted or was the growth going to happen regardless? 

It makes for a tough developmental path for some players. As some prospects demand trades around the league, the Wings stick to their guns and make sure that their prospects stick to the path they have been given. Success has allowed for them to stick to their plan. It may not be arrogance guiding them but other teams have shown that you can bring a prospect along quickly and still have success.

The Wings won’t change the way they draft and they won’t change the way they go about business. One list surely isn’t going to change that. It is just another example of the team’s slow decline into mediocrity.

(You can read Pronman’s article about the prospects here)