NHL Prospects Tournament: 7 Red Wings to Watch

When the Detroit Red Wings released their roster for the 2018 NHL Prospect Tournament, not too many surprises popped up. A handful of Detroit’s top prospects will participate in the annual showcase from Sept. 7 to 11 in Traverse City just before training camp kicks off.

Headlining the list is 2018 first-round pick Filip Zadina, who impressed earlier this offseason at development camp. In addition, high-impact prospects Joe Veleno, Dennis Cholowski, Michael Rasmussen, and Jared McIsaac will be among the 26 in attendance.

Filip Zadina of the Detroit Red Wings
Filip Zadina already has high expectations among Red Wings fans. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Not all of the Red Wings’ future stars will be in town for the tournament. Those set to play in Europe, the collegiate ranks, or the USHL will not participate due to their individual commitments. This includes goaltenders Keith Petruzzelli and Filip Larsson, forward Jonatan Berggren, and defensemen Malte Setkov and Kasper Kotkansalo.

Related: Grading Ken Holland’s Rebuild Moves

With those prospects not available, others will have the opportunity to step up and make a name for themselves. This, in part, is how Joe Hicketts and Kaden Fulcher earned contracts with the Red Wings after going undrafted.

Here are seven prospects to pay attention to once the tournament kicks off next month.

Patrik Rybar

After playing in the Czech Republic’s top league the previous two years, goaltender Patrik Rybar signed with the Red Wings this offseason to bolster the organization’s depth. He’s expected to either back up Harri Sateri in Grand Rapids or start in Toledo if Detroit deems Fulcher ready for AHL play.

Rybar and Fulcher will get a fair shot at starting for the prospects team, with the top performer likely to play a game or two more than the other. This will be the first opportunity for Rybar to prove he can transition to the North American game smoothly and show the Red Wings he’s capable of challenging Sateri in the AHL.

Pavel Gogolev

Technically not a Red Wings prospect, left wing Pavel Gogolev earned an invite after taking part in the organization’s development camp. The Russian winger was not selected in June’s draft, but could latch on if he can continue his solid play.

Gogolev has quick hands and a nose for the net, as evidenced by his 30 goals this past season with Peterborough (OHL). His speed is nothing to write home about and resembles a left-handed Thomas Vanek. However, his goal scoring can’t be ignored and should be something to watch as he lines up against other NHL teams’ top prospects.

David Pope

Since David Pope (Detroit’s No. 15-ranked prospect) chose the college route, this will be his first NHL Prospects Tournament and Red Wings training camp despite being drafted five years ago. Now, the winger with the powerful shot will compete in Detroit’s top-six on their prospects team.

Now a professional, Pope is a dark horse candidate to make the Red Wings out of camp. His excellent shot, size, and offensive touch are all traits which Hockeytown values. An impressive prospects tournament could give him the momentum he needs to earn a roster spot once the NHL season starts.

Related: Red Wings Prospects Ready to Take Veterans’ Jobs?

The Usual Suspects

Let’s be honest – you’re going to watch to see how Zadina, Veleno, Cholowski, and Rasmussen do at the tournament. Don’t worry – we all will be right there with you. When you root for a franchise that gave you 25 consecutive springs of championship hope, you get eager to return to that stage. And those young players—fairly or unfairly—are at the center of the rebuild and those hopes of returning to glory.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Dennis Cholowski
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Dennis Cholowski (Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)

Full Red Wings Prospect Tournament Roster

Which Detroit Red Wings prospect are you excited to see at the annual NHL Prospects Tournament?