Red Wings Prospect Rankings & Outlook

Even though the Detroit Red Wings stand to add a handful of quality prospects at the 2020 NHL Draft, they still possess a deep prospect pool.

Former first-round picks Filip Zadina and Moritz Seider headline a group which should begin to pay dividends at the NHL level as soon as next season. Seider, in particular, could jump into a meaningful role on Detroit’s blue line.

“He will get an opportunity, whenever our season kicks off,” Steve Yzerman told the Detroit Free Press. “He will get an opportunity to show he is ready to play. If he is ready to go, he will play.”

Moritz Seider of the Detroit Red Wings.
Moritz Seider would have skated in a few games for the Red Wings if the 2019-20 season finished. (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

But to contend, the Red Wings will need contributions from more than just their two prized prospects. Let’s take a look at how Detroit’s prospects stack up beyond Zadina and Seider. 

Related: Red Wings News & Rumors: Mock Drafts, Lindstrom & More

Red Wings’ Top 25 Prospects

Before diving into the rankings, it’s worth noting who’s a prospect and who’s not. Here’s the criteria that I used:

  • Must be 24 or younger
  • Can be assigned to Grand Rapids without having to pass through waivers
  • Played 10-plus games below the NHL level during the 2019-20 season

Based on these rules, Christoffer Ehn, Dmytro Timashov, Dominic Turgeon, and Joe Hicketts are no longer considered “prospects.” I’m also calling an audible and including Evgeny Svechnikov on this list even though he’ll need waivers to be assigned to the AHL next season.

Now onto the rankings.

Rk Prospect Pos 2019-20 Stats 2019-20 Team(s)
1 Moritz Seider RD 49 GP – 2 G – 20 A – 22 PTS Grand Rapids (AHL)
2 Filip Zadina RW 21 GP – 9 G – 7 A – 16 PTS Grand Rapids (AHL)
3 Joe Veleno C 54 GP – 11 G – 12 A – 23 PTS Grand Rapids (AHL)
4 Michael Rasmussen C 35 GP – 7 G – 15 A – 22 PTS Grand Rapids (AHL)
5 Dennis Cholowski LD 30 GP – 3 G – 10 A – 13 PTS Grand Rapids (AHL)
6 Jared McIsaac LD 25 GP – 4 G – 13 A – 17 PTS Moncton (QMJHL)
7 Jonatan Berggren LW 24 GP – 2 G – 10 A – 12 PTS Skellefteå AIK (SHL)
8 Antti Tuomisto RD 48 GP – 15 G – 34 A – 49 PTS Ässät U20 (Jr. A SM-liiga)
9 Albert Johansson LD 42 GP – 2 G – 11 A – 13 PTS Färjestad BK (SHL)
10 Evgeny Svechnikov RW 51 GP – 11 G – 14 A – 25 PTS Grand Rapids (AHL)
11 Robert Mastrosimone LW 34 GP – 7 G – 10 A – 17 PTS Boston U. (NCAA)
12 Gustav Lindstrom RD 45 GP – 0 G – 5 A – 5 PTS Grand Rapids (AHL)
13 Givani Smith LW 37 GP – 9 G – 10 A – 19 PTS Grand Rapids (AHL)
14 Taro Hirose LW 35 GP – 5 G – 22 A – 27 PTS Grand Rapids (AHL)
15 Albin Grewe LW 23 GP – 6 G – 13 A – 19 PTS Djurgårdens IF J20 (SuperElit)
16 Filip Larsson G 7 GP – 4.01 GAA – .843 SV% Grand Rapids (AHL)
17 Elmer Soderblom C 36 GP – 29 G – 26 A – 55 PTS Frölunda HC J20 (SuperElit)
18 Keith Petruzzelli G 34 GP – 2.01 GAA – .920 SV% Quinnipiac (NCAA)
19 Chase Pearson C 59 GP – 8 G – 14 A – 22 PTS Grand Rapids (AHL)
20 Otto Kivenmäki C 53 GP – 5 G – 16 A – 21 PTS Ässät (Liiga)
21 Jesper Eliasson G 25 GP – 3.09 GAA – .887 SV% Almtuna IS (Allsvenskan)
22 Victor Brattstrom G 45 GP – 2.13 GAA – .914 SV% Timrå IK (Allsvenskan)
23 Seth Barton RD 30 GP – 3 G – 12 A – 15 PTS UMass-Lowell (NCAA)
24 Ethan Phillips C 31 GP – 2 G – 8 A – 10 PTS Boston U. (NCAA)
25 Cooper Moore LD 55 GP – 12 G – 21 A – 33 PTS Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL)

Rasmussen & Veleno’s Future at Center

When the Red Wings drafted Michael Rasmussen and Joe Veleno, the organization envisioned that the two would slot in down the middle behind Dylan Larkin. But depending on which player Detroit selects in the 2020 NHL Draft, one of Rasmussen or Veleno could move to the wing. 

Joe Veleno of the Detroit Red Wings
Joe Veleno finished his rookie campaign strong after a slow start. (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

While chatting with Red Wings prospects guru Mark Hillier, we both agreed that Detroit would be in an enviable position with their center depth if they drafted Marco Rossi or Cole Perfetti at No. 4. However, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to play all four of Larkin, Rasmussen, Veleno, and Rossi/Perfetti at center, with one anchoring the fourth line. Instead, either Veleno or Rasmussen could play a middle-six wing role while the other is penciled in as the third-line pivot. 

Both have experience flanking skilled centers. Veleno skated as a top-line wing for Team Canada at the 2020 World Junior Championship and Rasmussen moved to the wing for his final WHL playoff season, where he produced 33 points in 14 games.

Of the two, it makes more sense to shift Veleno out of the center role. His offensive skill set is a little more advanced than that of Rasmussen and he could thrive on a line with Perfetti/Rossi and Zadina on the opposite wing. Plus, Rasmussen’s two-way game would make him a good candidate to match up against opponents’ top lines as a shutdown center with some offensive upside.

Related: Injuries Slowing Red Wings’ 2018 Draft Class

2020 & 2021 Draft Thoughts

While either Rossi or Perfetti (or Swedish winger Lucas Raymond) would be outstanding picks at No. 4, keep an eye on the No. 32 and No. 45 selections as well. The Red Wings have a fantastic opportunity to bolster their already solid prospect pipeline, especially at forward. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Detroit wait until the third or fourth round to draft a defenseman this year.

Potential Detroit Red Wings draft pick Marco Rossi.
Marco Rossi skating with the Ottawa 67’s (Credit: CHL Images)

Think about it: They drafted Seider, Antti Tuomisto, and Albert Johansson in the first three rounds last year, plus Cooper Moore and Gustav Berglund later on. Add in Jared McIsaac, Dennis Cholowski, and Gustav Lindstrom and there’s some solid depth on the blue line.

You also have to consider the 2021 draft class. As many as five elite defensemen—Brandt Clarke, Carson Lambos, Owen Power, Luke Hughes, and Simon Edvinsson—are expected to go in the first 10 selections. All five would be fantastic additions when/if the Red Wings choose somewhere in the top 10 a year from now.

Back to 2020, there aren’t many elite defensemen outside of Jamie Drysdale and Jake Sanderson in this year’s class. While teams with organizational needs on the blue line prioritize the second tier of defensemen, more quality forwards could fall to the Red Wings at No. 32 and No. 46 (plus Washington’s pick later in the second round). And as a result, Detroit’s prospect depth at forward will continue to grow.

Related: 2020 NHL Draft Guide

Final Word

While Steve Yzerman preached patience early on, we’re already starting to see Detroit’s prospect pipeline reach new heights. And I’m not just talking about 6-foot-7 Elmer Soderblom. 

Behind Seider, Zadina, Veleno, and Rasmussen, the Red Wings have great prospect depth, especially on defense. Offensively, they could use a boost, which will likely happen at this year’s draft. Goaltending could be improved as well. But overall, the Red Wings’ farm system is trending in the right direction.