When Many Doesn't Mean More
Sure, things haven’t gone swimmingly on the ice for the Detroit Red Wings the past three seasons. Not to worry, management informed the faithful. The team was acquiring extra draft picks and soon, the coffers would be overflowing with Grade A NHL prospects who would return to the Wings to their past glory.
You know that old saying about a prospect meaning you haven’t done anything yet? Well, Detroit’s 2017 NHL entry draft performance is Exhibit A that this is more than a mere catch phrase.
The Wings made 11 selections in that draft. When the June 1 deadline arrived to sign those draftees, Detroit passed on five of them - forwards Zach Gallant, Brady Gilmour and Lane Zablocki and defensemen Reilly Webb and Curtis Foster.
Of the six players still in the fold from that draft, there’s no sure thing among the group. Forward Michael Rasmussen (ninth overall) spent last season in Detroit but faded fast in the second half and seems destined to begin the 2019-20 campaign with AHL Grand Rapids.
Defenseman Gustav Lindstrom (38th overall) is headed to North America next season. His Swedish club Frolunda won the Swedish League and European Champions League titles last season but Lindstrom was a healthy scratch for much of the second half of the campaign.
Defenseman Kasper Kotkansalo (Boston U), forward Jack Adams (Union College) and goalie Keith Petruzzelli (Quinnipiac) remain in the NCAA. As Quinnipiac marched to the NCAA Tournament last spring, Petruzzelli lost his job as the team’s No.1 goaltender.
Danish defenseman Malte Svetkov is playing in the Swedish League but the 6-5, 196-pounder remains a long-term project.
Among that group of six, only Rasmussen and Lindstrom have signed contracts with the Wings.
So far, the Wings have signed just three of 10 picks from the 2018 draft - forwards Filip Zadina and Joe Veleno and defenseman Jared McIsaac.
What all of this shows is that having many is no guarantee that you’ll end up with more.
One of the top defensive prospects in the Red Wings system figures to miss a significant portion of the 2019-20 season.
The Halifax Mooseheads announced that defenseman McIsaac will undergo shoulder surgery Thursday in Detroit. He’s expected to be sidelined 5-6 months. He played while dealing with the injury for much of the second half of the past season.
Selected 36th overall by the Red Wings in the 2018 NHL entry draft, McIsaac, 19, finished second among QMJHL defensemen in scoring with 16-46-62 totals. McIsaac is second all-time among Mooseheads defensemen in scoring with 141 points.
The 6-1, 191-pound rearguard played in the Memorial Cup final with the Mooseheads this season, and also for Canada at the World Junior Championship.
Both of Detroit’s 2018 second-round picks suffered serious injuries last season. Center Jonatan Berggren’s campaign in Sweden with Skelleftea AIK ended in November after 16 games when he suffered a season-ending back injury.
Datsyuk Staying In KHL
The Pavel Datsyuk-Red Wings reunion so coveted by Datsyuk and a portion of the team’s fan base proved to be nothing more than a fantasy.
As was expected, Datsyuk, 40, signed with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg of the KHL, his hometown team. Datsyuk launched his pro career with that club and now it appears he will finish it there as well.
Datsyuk had recently been in Detroit to check out Little Caesars Arena and gauge whether the Wings held any interest in him returning to play for the team. After 14 seasons and 953 games in Detroit, a span during which he won two Stanley Cups, Datsyuk declined to honor the final year of his contract with the Wings and returned to Russia to play for SKA St. Petersburg. He spent the past three years with that team.
The Wings dealt Datsyuk’s remaining contract term to the Arizona Coyotes at the 2016 NHL entry draft. Datsyuk would have become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
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