Red Wings Prospect Report: Development Camp Edition

When the Detroit Red Wings management team arrived in Buffalo for the NHL Entry Draft, they hoped to address a few organizational needs. And after the Red Wings traded Pavel Datsyuk’s contract to Arizona and drafted defenseman Dennis Cholowski in the first round, it’s fair to conclude that the draft was a success for Detroit.

Detroit’s 2016 NHL Entry Draft Picks:

  • D Dennis Cholowski – 1st Round (20)
  • RW Givani Smith – 2nd Round (46)
  • D Filip Hronek – 2nd Round (53)
  • D Alfons Malmstrom – 4th Round (107)
  • D Jordan Sambrook – 5th Round (137)
  • G Filip Larsson – 6th Round (167)
  • LW Mattias Elfstrom – 7th Round (197)

After the draft, Detroit’s seven selections joined other Red Wings prospects in Traverse City for the team’s development camp. Prospects competed in on- and off-ice drills, team bonding competitions, and scrimmages July 6-10 up north. Red Wings management, including Ken Holland, Jiri Fischer, and Todd Nelson, were on hand to watch the young players.

Top 25 Under 25

Earlier this summer, we debuted the Red Wings’ Top 25 Under 25 list. And now that development camp is over, we have a better understanding of how the newly drafted players stack up against the other Red Wings prospects. Here is the updated list of Detroit’s top players under the age of 25—the future of Hockeytown:

Rank Position | Player | Age 2015-16 Team


C | Zach Nastasiuk | 21 Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL)


C | Christoffer Ehn | 20 Frolunda HC (Sweden)


D | Ryan Sproul | 23 Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL)


RW | Martin Frk | 22 Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL)


RW | Givani Smith | 18 Guelph Storm (OHL)


C | Axel Holmstrom | 20 Skelleftea AIK (Sweden)


D | Robbie Russo | 23 Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL)


C | Dominic Turgeon | 20 Portland Winterhawks (WHL)


LW | Dylan Sadowy | 20 Barrie Colts (OHL)


D | Xavier Ouellet | 22 Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL)


RW | Teemu Pulkkinen | 24 Detroit Red Wings (NHL)


RW | Tomas Jurco | 23 Detroit Red Wings (NHL)


D | Filip Hronek | 18 Hradec Kralove (Czech)


D | Alexey Marchenko | 24 Detroit Red Wings (NHL)


LW | Tyler Bertuzzi | 21 Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL)


D | Joe Hicketts | 20 Victoria Royals (WHL)


D | Vili Saarijarvi | 19 Flint Firebirds (OHL)


C | Riley Sheahan | 24 Detroit Red Wings (NHL)


LW | Evgeny Svechnikov | 19 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL)


D | Dennis Cholowski | 18 Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL)


C | Andreas Athanasiou | 21 Detroit Red Wings (NHL)


LW | Tomas Tatar | 25 Detroit Red Wings (NHL)


RW | Anthony Mantha | 21 Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL)


G | Petr Mrazek | 24 Detroit Red Wings (NHL)


C | Dylan Larkin | 20 Detroit Red Wings (NHL)


Dropped from the list: Adam Marsh, LW (22); Tomas Nosek, LW (23); Jared Coreau, G (24).

Just missed: Louis-Marc Aubry, C; Mitch Callahan, RW; Colin Campbell, C; Mattias Elfstrom, LW; Alexander Kadeykin, RW; Hampus Melen, RW; Chase Pearson, C; David Pope, LW; Julius Vahatalo, LW; Patrick Holway, D; Nick Jensen, D; Mike McKee, RW/D; Dan Renouf, D; James de Haas, D; Alfons Malmstrom, D; Jordan Sambrook, D; Jake Paterson, G; Joren von Pottelberghe, G; Chase Perry, G; Filip Larsson, G.

Red Wings Positional Rankings

Now that we’ve ranked the top young guns 1-25 overall, let’s take a look at how they stack up by position. This gives us a good luck of which positions the Red Wings have a surplus in and which could use additional help.

Left Wing


Right Wing

Tomas Tatar (4)

Dylan Larkin (1)

Anthony Mantha (3)

Evgeny Svechnikov (7)

Andreas Athanasiou (5)

Tomas Jurco (14)

Tyler Bertuzzi (11)

Riley Sheahan (8)

Teemu Pulkkinen (15)

Dylan Sadowy (17)

Dominic Turgeon (18)

Givani Smith (21)

Tomas Nosek (NR)

Axel Holmstrom (20)

Martin Frk (22)

Julius Vahatalo (NR)

Christoffer Ehn (24)

Mitch Callahan (NR)

Adam Marsh (NR)

Zach Nastasiuk (25)

Alexander Kadeykin (NR)

Mattias Elfstrom (NR) Chase Pearson (NR)

Mike McKee (NR)




Dennis Cholowski (6)

Petr Mrazek (2)

Vili Saarijarvi (9)

Jared Coreau (NR)

Joe Hicketts (10)

Jake Paterson (NR)

Alexey Marchenko (12)

Joren von Pottelberghe (NR)

Filip Hronek (13)

Filip Larsson (NR)

Xavier Ouellet (16)

Chase Perry (NR)

Robbie Russo (19)

Ryan Sproul (23)


Looking at the positional rankings, the Red Wings have some solid depth down the middle. Each wing position has decent depth, but mostly players that project to fill a bottom-six role. On defense, the Red Wings have great puck-moving defensemen—a current need at the NHL level—but none of the top prospects are ready to join the Red Wings on a full-time basis.

Development Camp Notes

At the Red Wings’ development camp, team management gave great assessments of where players are and what they need to do in order to succeed at higher levels. Below are some notes that came out of camp:

Filip Hronek, D – Director of Player Development Jiri Fischer said Hronek needs to learn the English language to succeed. He has virtually no understanding of the language, which makes it difficult for him to interact with teammates and coaches. Hronek was drafted by the Saginaw Spirit in the CHL Import Draft and signed an entry-level deal with the Red Wings following camp. He’ll also need to put on some muscle to compete in the NHL, as he’s only listed at 165lbs.

Tyler Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings.
Tyler Bertuzzi (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Tyler Bertuzzi, LW – At camp, Bertuzzi was easily one of the most impressive players on the ice. It’s an early indication that the young Bertuzzi could push for an NHL roster spot in September when the Red Wings open training camp.

Christoffer Ehn, C – This guy can skate. At development camp, Ehn’s wheels were apparent on the ice. He projects as a bottom-six, two-way center, making his elite speed a coveted asset. Ehn will likely play another year in Sweden

Axel Holmstrom, C – Speaking of players staying overseas, Holmstrom will play another year for Skelleftea AIK of the Swedish Elite League. Red Wings management was hoping Holmstrom would want to play the upcoming season in Grand Rapids, but they’ll have to wait another year for their newest Holmstrom to arrive in Michigan.

Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings
(Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)

Dylan Larkin, C & Petr Mrazek, G – It was announced at development camp that Larkin and Mrazek—two former development camp participants—would be missing Detroit’s main training camp to compete in the World Cup of Hockey tournament. The two will be essential pieces of the Red Wings’ 2016-17 team, but will not be in Traverse City with most of the team.

Dennis Cholowski, D – Instead of playing major junior hockey next season, Cholowski will attend St. Cloud State in the fall to continue his hockey career. Holland stated in a radio interview that he’s confident Cholowski will be an elite player for St. Cloud State and hopes to have Cholowski in Grand Rapids before his four years are over.

Final Word

The Red Wings have a solid pipeline of prospects and some great young players in the organization. Larkin, Mantha, Mrazek, Athanasiou, Bertuzzi, and Svechnikov will make an impact sooner, rather than later. They will likely need to wait a few years before Cholowski, Saarijarvi, and Ehn make an impact in Grand Rapids or Detroit.

Detroit’s deep collection of young players also gives them the ability to make some moves to address current roster needs. It would not be surprising to see the Red Wings trade a player in their top 10 prospects for a top, puck-moving NHL defenseman.

Which Red Wings prospects are ranked too high? Too low? Comment below with your thoughts.