Red Wings Top 25 Prospects: 2021-22 Midseason Update

Entering the 2021-22 season, the Detroit Red Wings had one of the deepest prospect pools across the NHL. Led by Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond, their pool consisted of high-end prospects at almost every position, and plenty of depth to go around (especially on the blue line.) Since our last update in August, a funny thing happened: Seider, Raymond graduated, and Joe Veleno is on the cusp of graduating as well. That accounts for three of the Red Wings’ top six prospects, previously, with two of them no longer being considered prospects.

Detroit Red Wings Top 25 Prospects Simon Edvinsson, Jonatan Berggren, Sebastian Cossa & Theodor Niederbach
Simon Edvinsson, Jonatan Berggren, Sebastian Cossa & Theodor Niederbach (The Hockey Writers)

If the Red Wings’ rebuild is going to be successful, they will need to graduate even more of their prospects while continuing to add to their pool via the draft. Establishing a steady stream of young talent is how general manager Steve Yzerman built a juggernaut in Tampa Bay, and it’s how the Red Wings are going to find and sustain success. Despite the graduations of their top two prospects, the organization still has plenty of quality prospects in the system, but the depth isn’t quite where it was following the 2021 draft.

Related: Red Wings Prospect Rankings: Top 25 Post-2021 Draft

(All stats are current as of this writing.)

25. (G) Filip Larsson – 2016, 167th Overall

2021-22 Stats: HV71 (HockeyAllsvenskan): 13 GP, 8-4-0, 2.28 Goals-Against Average (GAA), .910 Save-Percentage (SV%)

Previous Rank: NR

Remember this guy? At just 23 years old, Larsson has come, gone, and come around again in regards to his place as a prospect to watch for the Red Wings. His one and only season with the University of Denver back in 2018-19 was especially strong, leading him to be anointed as Detroit’s “goaltender of the future” at one point in time. The following season, he struggled mightily in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Grand Rapids Griffins, and he’s basically dropped off the face of the earth ever since. Until this season, that is.

Filip Larsson Grand Rapids Griffins
Filip Larsson, Grand Rapids Griffins (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

This season in the HockeyAllsvenskan, Larsson has reestablished himself as a goaltender to watch. While his Denver dominance may never be repeated, the fact that he seems to have regrouped is a promising sign. Good performance breeds confidence, and a confident goaltender is a good goaltender. It’s not out of the question to suggest that he may find his way back to North America next season, and the generally lowered expectations surrounding him could do a lot for his psyche. He still has plenty of time to develop into a solid NHL goalie, likely as a backup that can shoulder 25 to 30 games a season.

24. (D) Wyatt Newpower – Undrafted

2021-22 Stats: Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL): 29 GP, 3 G, 6 P

Previous Rank: NR

When the Red Wings signed Newpower in May of last year, most people had the same reaction: “who?” Coming off of his first season in the AHL, which he spent with the Cleveland Monsters, he hadn’t exactly turned himself into a household name. Yet, the Red Wings felt compelled to sign him to an entry-level deal.

During the Traverse City Prospects Tournament, Newpower wore an “A” on his sweater as an alternate captain for the Red Wings. At 23 years old (now 24), he was one of the older players wearing the winged wheel at that tournament, but age does not automatically turn into a leadership position. Going back to his time with the University of Connecticut, he was the captain for the Huskies during his Senior season; he’s a big-bodied defender that isn’t afraid to get physical and stand up for his teammates, and his drive to succeed despite his undrafted status is something that younger players can use as an example.

Related: Red Wings: 5 Takeaways From the 2021 Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Realistically, he projects as a Dylan McIlrath-type that can either be a top-tier defensive defenseman in the AHL, or can fill in as an extra defenseman in the NHL.

23. (RW/C) Otto Kivenmäki – 2018, 191st Overall

2021-22 Stats: Pelicans (Liiga): 37 GP, 5 G, 16 P

Previous Rank: 24

At just 5-foot-9, Kivenmäki has always needed to stand out offensively for him to really project as an NHL forward. His skill is undeniable, and he does have the ability to make things happen on the ice. However, it’s fair to question if he makes enough happen whenever he has the opportunity. After producing 18 points in 29 games last season, he’s produced just 16 points through 37 games so far this season.

There’s still some solid potential with this player. If he pans out, he could bring offense in a third-line role. He creates opportunities from the perimeter and, as the clip above shows, is able to put himself in position to finish a play as well. Kivenmäki turns 22 years old in March, so there’s still time for him to develop and come into his own. However, the next two years or so is crucial for his NHL future.

22. (C) Pasquale Zito – 2021, 166th Overall

2021-22 Stats: Windsor Spitfires (OHL): 28 GP, 14 G, 24 P

Previous Rank: NR

Zito was something of a Hail Mary toss in the sixth round of the 2021 draft. He hadn’t played a competitive hockey game since the pandemic shut down the rest of the 2019-20 season in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), and that season wasn’t exactly a prolific one for the forward (13 points in 46 games). Fast forward to this season with the Windsor Spitfires, and the 18-year-old forward now wears an “A” on his sweater, and is almost a point per-game player in the OHL.

As THW writer David Jewell noted in a recent Red Wings Prospect Update, Zito has really owned his identity as a do-it-all forward, and that has endeared him to fans of the Spitfires.

“While he’s only 6-foot-1, 176-pounds, he’s more than willing to engage physically and shows no fear on the ice. He’s well-liked by his team and the city and it’s mutual. The club gave him a well-earned alternate captain’s “A” at the start of the season. He’s a fan favourite, developing the way everyone had hoped, and will be a fun one to watch as he continues this season and beyond.”

21. (C) Liam Dower Nilsson – 2021, 134th Overall

2021-22 Stats: Frölunda HC (J20): 21 GP, 9 G, 28 P

Previous Rank: 25

Dower Nilsson is the type of give-it-your-all player that fans love to cheer for. He has a strong two-way game, and the offensive side of it seems to have taken some strides this season. While he missed out on making Team Sweden’s World Junior Championship roster, he should be under consideration for next year’s team if he continues to develop.

Dower Nilsson still projects as a bottom six forward that could find a role on the penalty kill; if his offense develops further, he could become a bit of a special teams specialist. His playmaking is developing well, and that could be the key to him realizing his NHL potential. As I stated in the last prospect rankings, he has some serious long-term potential that could make him one of the steals of the 2021 draft.

Dower-Nilsson is a smart two-way pivot who makes excellent reads in all three zones. He’s a creative thinker in the offensive zone, and that skill informed his ability to produce well in both the junior league and in the Hockeyettan (the third-tier senior league)

– Jimmy Hamrin (EP Rinkside)

20. (C) Chase Pearson – 2015, 140th Overall

2021-22 Stats: Grand Rapids Griffins: 32 GP, 4 G, 13 P

Previous Rank: 19

At 24 years old, the fact that Pearson has yet to play a single game in the NHL despite playing over 100 games and parts of four seasons in the AHL is a bit disheartening. There’s still a chance that he makes his NHL debut this season as the Red Wings ship off some players at the trade deadline, but it’s fair to question whether his best chance to make the NHL is in Detroit.

That being said, Pearson still has potential as a fourth line center in the NHL. He plays a relatively sound defensive game, which is important given his limitations in the offensive zone. Overall, this has been a fairly disappointing season for the centerman, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he still has some upside, even if it ultimately leads to carving out a long, fruitful career in the AHL.

19. (D) Alex Cotton – 2020, 132nd Overall

2021-22 Stats: WHL: 32 GP, 11 G, 28 P

Previous Rank: 22

Cotton is another player that showed his stuff during the Traverse City Prospect Tournament. With him, the story begins and ends with his offense. He has a good shot from the point, as evidenced by his 11 goals this season, and his 19 goals over his last 58 games in the Western Hockey League (WHL). When he’s not scoring, he’s setting up his teammates and making a difference in the offensive zone.

Alex Cotton Lethbridge Hurricanes
Alex Cotton of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. (Erica Perreaux/Lethbridge Hurricanes)

It’s his play in his own zone that will likely determine whether or not he’ll make the jump to the NHL at some point. Cotton doesn’t have the best defensive instincts, and he’s known to make a few too many dangerous passes over the course of a game. Learning to maintain his offense while rounding out his game in the defensive zone will take time, and he’s destined to play in the AHL next season. How long it takes to get to the NHL after that is up to him. He projects as an offensive bottom-pairing defenseman that sees time on his team’s second power play unit.

18. (C/LW) Robert Mastrosimone – 2019, 54th Overall

2021-22 Stats: Boston University (NCAA): 23 GP, 8 G, 17 P

Previous Rank: 14

To Mastrosimone’s credit, he is having the most productive season of his college career thus far. His 17 points this season matches the 17 points he put up in his Freshman season, though he’s reached that mark in 11 fewer games. His calling card since his draft year was his blend of tenacity and puck skills, and that package seems to be coming together this season at Boston University.

However, this is a prospect that is suddenly starting to become a victim of the plethora of prospects in Detroit’s pool. There are at least two other prospects ranked ahead of Mastrosimone in these rankings that project to fill a similar role as him. which just means that if he doesn’t pan out or he opts not to sign with the Red Wings, there are other options in house. He still projects to develop into a Blake Coleman-type of player that plays what I call the “modern day grinder” style; he can grind down his opponents just as well as he can put the puck in the back of the net. With a successful Junior season so far, it’s fair to wonder whether or not it’s time for him to make the jump to the AHL.

17. (LW) Kirill Tyutyayev – 2019, 190th Overall

2021-22 Stats: Grand Rapids Griffins: 9 GP, 0 G, 3 P

Previous Rank: NR

To be honest, this may be a slightly higher ranking than Tyutyayev deserves at this point in his career. While he arrived in Traverse City and immediately grabbed people’s attention with his strong play at the Prospects Tournament, he has since joined the Griffins in the AHL and has missed all but nine games due to a presumed shoulder injury. That being said, his play at the tournament was enough to seal the fact that he deserves to be a part of these rankings after being left off the list the last time around.

A seventh round pick in 2019, Tyutyayev has that scorer’s confidence that can be the difference between a player sinking or swimming at the pro level. He is creative in the offensive zone, showing the ability to recognize and execute plays when they present themself. Still only signed to an AHL deal with the Griffins, a clean bill of health cannot come soon enough for the Russian forward. He has middle six potential and, before his injury, was well on his way to cementing himself as a sleeper prospect league-wide.

16. (C) Redmond Savage – 2021, 114th Overall

2021-22 Stats: Miami University (Ohio): 23 GP, 4 G, 12 P

Previous Rank: 23

After captaining Team USA’s U-18 team at the World Juniors, Savage was named to the U-20 roster in December and played in the Americans’ only game before the tournament was shut down. For somebody who slipped well into the fourth round of the 2021 draft, he is quickly showing that he’s a top prospect coming out of the USA.

His numbers in the NCAA this season are not eye-popping by any means, but they are promising given that he’s just a Freshman. Ultimately, however, his success as a prospect will be determined not by how many points he can put up, but by what kind of impact he can make away from the puck. He’s already shown to be a leader at the junior level, and as a fourth liner for Team USA at the World Juniors, he was going to be tasked with playing a defense-first style that made life difficult for the opposition. If he can sprinkle in some offensive ability along the way, that’s gravy. He projects as a bottom six forward that plays the tough minutes for his team.

15. (D) Jared McIsaac – 2018, 36th Overall

2021-22 Stats: Grand Rapids Griffins: 33 GP, 3 G, 12 P

Previous Rank: 12

When it comes to McIsaac, the good news is that he’s remained healthy this season and, despite playing 10 games in the AHL last season, has finally began his pro career in earnest. While he’s not lightning the world on fire offensively, he’s not looking out of place defensively, as evidenced by his minus-1 plus/minus rating (the Griffins as a whole have a minus-3 goal-differential, so he is right on par with his team.) He’s looking like he belongs out on the ice, and that’s a very positive sign for a player whose history with injuries is still cause for concern.

The problem is that he’s not making a huge difference on the ice. Maybe it’s a byproduct of his first real season of pro hockey, maybe it’s the aftermath of all the time he’s missed over the last couple of seasons. Either way, for a player that some had ranked within the first round of the 2018 draft, he isn’t standing out the way that a prospect of his caliber should. It is way too early to pull the plug – he’s only played in 43 AHL games after all – but you’d like to see him take another step or two by the time this season is done.

14. (D) Antti Tuomisto – 2019, 35th Overall

2021-22 Stats: University of Denver: 21 GP, 1 G, 7 P

Previous Rank: 11

Tuomisto’s scouting report has always told of an offensive defenseman that creates chances using his shot and his vision on the ice. His scouting report has also told of a raw prospect that needs to work on his mobility and his play in his own end. The potential to become a second-pairing guy that produces in offensive situations has always been there, and it continues to be there in his Sophomore season at Denver.

Much like Mastrosimone, Tuomisto is becoming a victim of the Red Wings’ depth – Tuomisto especially so because the Red Wings’ greatest strength is their sheer amount of defensive prospects. While he’s developing at a nice slow and steady rate, he’s been passed by as others make strides in their development. A breakout season isn’t coming this year, but he could really use one next season. I still think he has NHL potential, but I’m less certain about it, and I’m even less certain that he’ll fulfill that potential with the Red Wings.

13. (D) Eemil Viro – 2020, 70th Overall

2021-22 Stats: TPS (Liiga): 28 GP, 1 G, 3 P

Previous Rank: 13

Viro’s game hasn’t changed much since our last ranking, and you could probably make the argument that he has stagnated a little bit this season. He’s still a cerebral player that plays a smart game with a little bit of offensive upside. He’s never going to lead any league in points from the blue line, but he very well could find himself among the league-leaders in plus/minus simply because he rarely lets himself get exposed on the ice.

Eemil Viro Team Finland
Eemil Viro of Team Finland (Pasi Mennander / Finnish Ice Hockey Association)

Viro is already signed to an entry-level contract, so the odds that he makes the trip across the pond sooner rather than later are pretty high. For my money, I expect that he’ll spend next season in Grand Rapids where he’ll learn what North American hockey is all about. Going from the Finnish Liiga to the AHL could be exactly what he needs to stop his game from stagnating; sometimes you need to get uncomfortable before you can grow, and he looks a little too comfortable playing in Finland right now….

12. (LW) Cross Hanas – 2020, 55th Overall

2021-22 Stats: Portland Winterhawks (WHL): 33 GP, 12 G, 38 P

Previous Rank: 21

This was written by Scott Wheeler of The Athletic back in April of last year:

He has continued to play a thorny, aggressive, forechecking style that keeps him involved in the play one way or another; and he occasionally flashes some good puck skill in dashes to the front of the net. But I also think the tempo and tenacity that he plays with is more eye-catching than effective, and I think that fooled some evaluators into noticing him a lot. He just hasn’t taken steps forward and can’t seem to score or generate the chances needed to.

– Scott Wheeler (From ‘Wheeler: Risers and fallers from the 2020 NHL Draft’ – The Athletic – 4/1/21)

Since then, Hanas has taken his game to another level, showcasing a level of skill that we all hoped to see last season. Even fans of the Anaheim Ducks would have to admit that this kid looks pretty good this season:

Hanas needs to finish strong this season, but there’s no doubt that his stock is on the rise right now.

11. (D) Shai Buium – 2021, 36th Overall

2021-22 Stats: University of Denver: 20 GP, 1 G, 9 P

Previous Rank: 9

Buium just reeks of potential. He has the offensive IQ to recognize when to pinch and when to carry the puck himself instead of passing it up to a forward. He’s got all the makings of a power play guy that can lead the attack from the back-end. Heck, his defensive game isn’t even that bad considering he’s still just 18 years old. If he reaches his potential, he’ll become an anchor on his team’s second pairing that plays in all situations.

This season with Denver, Buium has experienced some setbacks that are normal of players in their Freshman season. Things that worked at lower levels aren’t working anymore, and part of this season has been him learning how to adapt to the elevated competition. He’s on a talented team, but his plus-12 rating should not be overlooked – a rookie with that strong of a number is something to take note of. He probably has at least one more season of college hockey ahead of him before he makes the jump to the pro level, but it looks like he’s building a solid foundation to build on as a prospect.

10. (LW/RW) Elmer Söderblom – 2019, 159th Overall

2021-22 Stats: Frölunda HC (SHL): 34 GP, 14 G, 20 P

Previous Rank: 20

Ranking Söderblom is an interesting task because while his progress this season is undeniable, there remains the fact that he doesn’t exactly project to be a top six forward. On the contrary, he still projects as a bottom six forward that specializes in being a big, unmovable body in front of the opponent’s net while also having some sneaky-good hands in-tight on the goaltender. While there are players ranked behind him on this list that have greater upside, the strides he’s taken this season inspire confidence that he is going to make his way to North America and the NHL within the next two years.

Söderblom is surprisingly mobile for a guy that stands at 6-foot-8, 238 pounds. His long legs help him get up and down the ice with minimal strides, but his top speed is obviously not up there with the roadrunners of the NHL. In a way, it seems like a waste that his NHL projection has him in a role where he will mostly be stationary; you can’t help but wonder what he might be able to do if he were tasked with playing alongside elite-level talent. He will likely need a year in the AHL to fine-tune his game, but he could be a candidate to sneak into some NHL games as soon as next season.

9. (LW) Carter Mazur – 2021, 70th Overall

2021-22 Stats: University of Denver: 22 GP, 11 G, 24 P

Previous Rank: 16

If there is one player that has stolen some of the luster off of Mastrosimone’s name, it’s Mazur. Both players project to play a similar role in the NHL, and while Mastrosimone was drafted higher in 2019, Mazur has quickly asserted himself as one of the best prospects to come out of Detroit’s 2021 draft class. He sits fourth in team scoring as a 19-year-old Freshman, and his strong play this season led to a roster spot on Team USA’s World Juniors team, along with his fellow 2021-draftee Savage.

His offense is popping and he generally finds himself in the right spots on the ice. Mazur seems to only be scratching the surface of what he can do, and that should excite fans of the University of Denver just as much as it should excite fans of the Red Wings. If he can continue his current trajectory, he may upgrade his projection from a third-line forward to a second-line forward.

8. (D) Donovan Sebrango – 2020, 63rd Overall

2021-22 Stats: Grand Rapids Griffins: 28 GP, 1 G, 6 P

Previous Rank: 15

There’s a decent argument to be made that Sebrango is the Red Wings’ most NHL-ready prospect. After surprising many people by simply fitting in at the AHL level as a 19-year-old last season, he has improved upon his performance last season, recording two more points in two less games, while also improving his plus/minus rating by seven points (plus-8 on a team that is minus-3). While he doesn’t light up the scoresheet, he does all the little things right, and seems to be highly coachable at such a young age.

The only thing holding him back from being a top-five prospect is his overall potential. While there’s no doubt that he has the makings of an NHL defenseman, he likely tops out as a third-pairing guy that also sees time on the penalty kill. His offense simply isn’t where it needs to be for him to project higher in the lineup, and as a bottom pairing defenseman, he can really excel at playing a simple game and doing little to no damage to his team whenever he’s on the ice. A reasonable comparable would be current Red Wing defenseman Gustav Lindstrom.

7. (C/RW) Theodor Niederbach – 2020, 51st Overall

2021-22 Stats: Frölunda HC (SHL): 34 GP, 3 G, 7 P

Theodor Niederbach Frolunda Indians
Theodor Niederbach of the Frolunda Indians (Frolunda Indians)

Previous Rank: 10

Much like Lucas Raymond in his draft year, Niederbach’s play cannot be outlined by his stat line. After spending the 2020-21 season bouncing back and forth between the SHL and Frölunda’s J20 team, he has spent this entire season with the main team. To his credit, he hasn’t looked out of place, though he would undoubtedly like to have recorded a few more points along the way.

His playmaking ability is his calling card as he is very much a pass-first type of player. He can bury it when he has the opportunity, but he’s much more Valtteri Filppula than he is Dylan Larkin. With only 172 pounds on his 5-foot-11 frame, he will likely need to add some weight in order to truly be effective at the next level. He’s got plenty of skill and sky-high hockey IQ, but it won’t matter if he becomes too easy to knock off the puck. He’s likely still at least two years away from challenging for an NHL spot.

6. (D) William Wallinder – 2020, 32nd Overall

2021-22 Stats: Rögle BK (SHL): 27 GP, 4 G, 12 P

Previous Rank: 8

The 2021-22 season was always going to be a big one for Wallinder, one way or another. As the first pick of the second round in 2020, he was a prospect that a number of people had ranked much higher than 32nd on their draft boards. With that kind of reputation, you want to see production and progress sooner rather than later, even though one of the drawbacks on him was that he was seen as a raw prospect. To his credit, he has taken a number of steps this season after looking pretty lost last season.

Wallinder has great offensive instincts to go along with his size (6-foot-4, 190 pounds) and this season in the SHL, he’s putting those instincts on display. He’s creating plays from the blue line and, at times this season, has even looked like he could score at will. He still has some developing to do in his own end (which could be a reason why he was left off Team Sweden’s roster for the World Junior Championship this year) but his progress this season should warrant a sigh of relief from Red Wing fans after the organization invested such a valuable pick in him.

5. (G) Sebastian Cossa – 2021, 15th Overall

2021-22 Stats: Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL): 26 GP, 19-4-3, 2.36 GAA, .918 SV%

Previous Rank: 5

To put it bluntly: Cossa has taken a step back this season, or he has stagnated at the very least. After a truly dominant 2020-21 season (though COVID restrictions limited the amount of games and opponents the Oil Kings could play), he rode that wave all the way to the 15th pick, where the Red Wings traded up to select him and make him the first goalie taken in the 2021 draft. He was a confident kid with an eagerness to learn, and while that is still the case, his results simply aren’t where most people expected them to be.

Sebastian Cossa Edmonton Oil Kings
Sebastian Cossa of the Edmonton Oil Kings (Andy Devlin/Edmonton Oil Kings)

The biggest disappointment came during the cancelled World Juniors this year as many, including myself, expected him to earn the starting role for Team Canada and lead them on their quest for gold. Instead, he was the only one of Canada’s three goalies to not play a single game at the tournament (though it’s possible he would have played if the tournament hadn’t been cancelled.) That stings, and it ultimately prevents him from moving up in these rankings. Still, his potential is through the roof, and if he can take these setbacks as a lesson and an opportunity to get better, the future of the Red Wings’ crease will be better for it.

4. (D) Albert Johansson – 2019, 60th Overall

2021-22 Stats: Färjestad BK (SHL): 34 GP, 3 G, 17 P

Previous Rank: 7

With 17 points through 34 games this season in the SHL, Johansson is three points away from setting a new career-high in points at the SHL level. At 21 years old, he’s facilitating play from the blue line like a longtime veteran, and the decision by Yzerman and Co. to return him to the SHL this season seems to be paying off. It seems like it’s only a matter of time before he makes his North American debut.

Heading into the 2022-23 season, Johansson should get a good look to make the Red Wings out of training camp. While it would take a really strong camp to actually seal the deal, it’s not out of the question, especially if Detroit opts to stay away from signing any big name free agents on defense. Regardless, he might be the Red Wings’ most NHL-ready defensive prospect, though there is one other player that could fit that title….

3. (C) Joe Veleno – 2018, 30th Overall

2021-22 Stats: Detroit Red Wings: 26 GP, 3 G, 4 P

Previous Rank: 6

With 31 NHL games under his belt, there are some who would argue that Veleno no longer qualifies for a list like this. Realistically, if this article had been written a month from now, he probably wouldn’t be a part of it. But as it is, he is in the midst of his rookie campaign in the NHL, and there’s still reason to believe that he may find his way back to the AHL before all is said and done. Until he has that NHL spot locked-down, he’s a prospect in the eyes of this list.

While Veleno still projects as a middle six, two-way center center, you can’t help but feel a little disappointed in his NHL production so far this season. While he doesn’t do much to hurt his team when he’s on the ice, he also hasn’t done much to move the needle in his team’s favor. He’s shown flashes of being that two-way guy that knows what to do with the puck on his stick, but those moments are far and few in between. Still, this seems like a player who is just waiting for a bigger opportunity with better players before he really takes off.

2. (LW/RW) Jonatan Berggren – 2018, 33rd Overall

2021-22 Stats: Grand Rapids Griffins: 31 GP, 8 G, 27 P

Previous Rank: 4

Berggren’s first season in North America didn’t start exactly as he had hoped. First he got injured during the Traverse City Prospects Tournament. Then, after he was sent down to the AHL, he found himself in Grand Rapids…Ohio. Ever since he found his way to Grand Rapids, Michigan, however, he has looked like the budding star that most people expected to see following his strong 2020-21 SHL season.

Whether it’s dazzling dekes or dominant playmaking performances, Berggren has quickly made a name for himself in west Michigan. He’s arguably the Griffins’ purest offensive talent, and other teams have taken note. His vision and playmaking ability should translate at the NHL level, setting him up to be a top six playmaker along the wings. It will be interesting to see if he can consistently score as the competition gets tougher, but even if he can’t, he should still be able to find ways to collect points. This is Detroit’s best forward prospect.

1. (D) Simon Edvinsson – 2021, 6th Overall

2021-22 Stats: Frölunda HC: 26 GP, 1 G, 12 P

Previous Rank: 3

The bright side about Seider graduating is that the Red Wings already had another blue chip defensive prospect ready to take his place as the organization’s top defensive prospect, and top prospect as a whole. In a short matter of time, Edvinsson has answered questions about his game that persisted throughout his draft season. He’s a play-driver from the blue line that isn’t afraid to take chances offensively, but can also cover for his mistakes when he makes them. He turns 19 years old in February, but right now he looks like a 24-year-old entering the prime of his career.

In just two games at the World Juniors, Edvinsson had three points while donning an “A” on his sweater as an alternate captain for Team Sweden. While he was left off both power play units to start the tournament, he quickly found himself on one of the units before the tournament came to a close. He has spent most of this season calming concerns about his game and asserting himself not just as the Red Wings’ top prospect, but one of the top prospects throughout the game. A future top pairing of Edvinsson and Seider is going to frustrate a lot of teams in the future.

More on the Way

The Red Wings’ pool is so deep that we could have made this list a top 35 ranking if we wanted to. That just goes to show the commitment to building up through the draft that Yzerman has had since he signed on as the Red Wings’ GM. While there is room for debate about who made this list and who was left off of it, there is zero debate about the sheer depth that Detroit has in their prospect pool.

One thing to note heading into the second half of this season: you’ll notice that there aren’t a ton of players that project to play in top roles in the NHL. There are some players listed here that could surprise and raise their ceilings over the next year, but generally speaking, what you see is what you get. For the Red Wings to create a sustainable winning culture, they will need to establish that steady stream of youth that leads straight to their lineup so that young players can fill key roles as roster turnover inevitably happens. This is why it is so important that Detroit has another good draft in 2022, and it’s why they cannot yet afford to unload their best picks and prospects to accelerate their rebuild.

All good things take time, and if this list doesn’t convince you that good things are coming, I don’t know what will.

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