So now that I wrote a thing about each of the Wings top defensive prospects (click the Prospect Report tag and off you go!), figured it’s time to talk about who I think is ready and who needs more time. I’ll give a quick summary of each then make my list.
Signed a two-year deal in the KHL. The Wings still hold his rights. You all know this. It’s for the best, he can develop overseas (see Rafalski, Brian) and if he’s ready in two years, come back and challenge for a spot. But for now, he’s out of the equation.
Still needs more time in the AHL. I don’t know how much time he’ll get. The Griffins have Paetsch and Evans, in addition to Sproul, Ouellet, Marchenko, and Backman. If the Wings 7 are healthy, GRG either goes 7 D or has to bench someone. Either way, he’ll be in GR and won’t be the first call up.
Looked like he was ready in minimal AHL time. Isn’t physical, but plays very smart. Seeing the North American style was huge for him and could help him make the big club this year.
May have been the first call up, but he’s still not fully healed from his ankle injury in September. He only skated a little bit at Development Camp, helping to warm up the goalies and such. He’s working out and should be ready for Training Camp, but I don’t like a young prospect not playing for so long. I think he needs to start the year in GR, even if only for a few games.
I want him on the Wings power play right now. Obviously, his defensive game needs some work, but might be better off making mistakes at the NHL level instead of the AHL. He’s got the most upside of all the other D prospects, but isn’t a sure thing.
You know I have a huge thing for WOOOOOOuellet. Never going to be a top offensive guy, but won’t hurt you in the offensive zone, and his intelligence and decision-making will more than make up for that.
Enough babbling, who would you call up?
6 – Adam Almquist. Since he is ineligible, obviously.
5 – Nick Jensen. With the limited games and minutes last year, needs more time to develop.
4 – Alexey Marchenko. May have been one or two, but needs some game action to see how the ankle is and get back in game shape.
3 – Mattias Backman. Might want to get him some more games in GR to help his transition, but wouldn’t be against him in Detroit.
2 – Ryan Sproul. If something happens and Kindl isn’t on the roster (*crosses fingers*), he goes to number one. And he’s on the first power play with Kronwall.
1 – Xavier Ouellet. He’s the most ready, at least in the defensive zone. With no other injuries, he’ll be in GR, but he’s so close.
This list may change after camp and preseason. Look for me to do another post. But I will say that if Brian Lashoff plays more games than any of the top 4 on this list, I will be mad. These kids can all do better than this. The future is here, Kenny.