Red Wings Top 25 Prospects: Post-2022 NHL Draft

During general manager Steve Yzerman’s tenure, the Detroit Red Wings have steadily maintained one of the deepest prospect pools in the NHL. Their pool routinely ranks as one of the top-five groups in the league, and the additions made at the 2022 draft have only helped solidify their pool’s standing as one of the best.

Detroit Red Wings Top-25 Prospects: Post-2022 Draft Simon Edvinsson, Jonatan Berggren, Marco Kasper
Simon Edvinsson, Jonatan Berggren, Marco Kasper (The Hockey Writers)

This list is not about their prospect pool as a whole, however. It’s about the individuals that comprise the pool, and how those individuals stack up against each other. Not every prospect is going to be a stud in the NHL – heck, not every prospect is going to make it to the NHL in the first place. The process of ranking these prospects is the process of determining which prospects have the best outlook in terms of becoming NHL players. My colleague here at THW, Logan Horn, went through that process prior to the 2022 draft, and now it’s my turn to do the same now that the draft is complete.

Related: Red Wings Top 25 Prospects – Pre-Draft Rankings

A quick note: our rankings will differ not only because of the new additions from the draft, but also due to our own differences when it comes evaluating prospects. As for me, I judge these prospects based on a set of criteria that includes, but is not limited to:

  • Overall potential (how good of a player can the prospect become?)
  • NHL projectability (what type/level of player will the prospect most likely become?)
  • NHL readiness (how close to the NHL is the prospect?)
  • Importance of position (centers and defensemen tend to be valued higher than wingers and goalies.)
  • Age (how much room/time does the prospect have to grow/develop?)

Without further ado, here are the Red Wings’ top-25 prospects following the 2022 draft.

25. (G) Jan Bednář – 2020, 107th Overall

2021-22 Stats: Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL) – 47 GP, 28-14-4, 2.72 Goals-Against Average (GAA), .912 Save-Percentage (SV%)

Previous Rank: 18

The conversation around goaltending prospects for the Red Wings usually centers around one individual (who ranks much higher on this list), but it would be unwise to overlook the season Bednář had in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this year. In a highly-offensive league, the 19-year-old goaltender posted a stat line that reflects a goaltender that helps his team win games, not a goaltender that rides the coattails of the guys in front of him. This comes after a stint at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament last year where he put up a solid performance and was probably the second-best goalie for the Red Wings at that tournament.

Slow and steady will win the race for Bednář. After the pandemic created a brief 2020-21 season for him, the 2021-22 season was his first full season playing in North America. The Czechia native will return to the “Q” next season with hopes of building on the results he posted last season. He is still years away from sniffing the NHL, and he likely tops out as nothing more than a quality backup, but his steady progress since being drafted is a promising sign.

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

2021-22: Windsor Spitfires (OHL) – 49 GP, 22 G, 42 P

Previous Rank: 19

As this past season went on, I found myself liking Zito more and more. Consider that when the Red Wings picked him in the 2021 draft, it was basically a leap of faith because he did not play at all in 2020-21 due to the Ontario Hockey League’s season being completely cancelled. Since then, he wore an ‘A’ on his sweater as an alternate captain for the Windsor Spitfires, and he proved that he can produce despite not playing in a premier offensive role. I’ve got plenty of time for players like that.

Pasquale Zito, Windsor Spitfires
Windsor Spitfires’ forward Pasquale Zito (David Jewell / The Hockey Writers)

Zito displayed a solid two-way game last season, making him quite projectable despite having limited upside. He scored a clutch goal to send the Spitfires to a Game 7 against the Hamilton Bulldogs in the OHL Final, and even though the Bulldogs were victorious in Game 7, he proved that he can rise to occasion and deliver when his team needs him the most. Earlier this offseason, Windsor traded him to the Niagara IceDogs, so it will be very interesting to see how he is utilized with his new team.

23. (C) Amadeus Lombardi – 2022, 113th Overall

2021-22: Flint Firebirds (OHL) – 67 GP, 18 G, 59 P

Previous Rank: NA

Am I giving this kid a bump because he has an incredible name? Perhaps. But to distill Lombardi down to just his name is to do a disservice to what he brings on the ice. The Flint Firebirds had a fun team this past season, and he was a big part of that, showcasing eye-popping speed and adept playmaking skills that could make him a sneaky-good pick coming out of the fourth round of the 2022 draft.

At just 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, Lombardi has a lot of bulking up to do between now and when he decides to go pro. I’m not worried about his lack of size inhibiting him, mostly due to his speed, but he’ll need to add strength for the sake of keeping the puck on his stick when the beasts of the NHL – or even the American Hockey League (AHL) for that matter – have him in their crosshairs. He’s a player I could see shooting up our rankings the next time we do one, but he’s also a player I could see fading into obscurity. To stay in the top-25, Amadeus will have to rock me and everyone else who has their eyes on him.

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

2021-22: Boston University (NCAA) – 34 GP, 11 G, 25 P

Previous Rank: 16

After three seasons at Boston University (BU), Robert Mastrosimone has transferred to Arizona State University for his Senior year.

Through three seasons and 83 games with BU, Mastrosomine had 50 points, which his 25 points in 34 games this past season being a career-high for the 21-year-old. In that sense, he had the type of season you had to hope the 2019-draftee would have. With Arizona State, he’ll look to finish strong before deciding whether or not to sign a contract with the Red Wings.

This ranking is less about Mastrosimone as an individual and more about the Red Wings’ pool as a whole. There are at least two other players in the top-25 whose games are similar to his. The longer he’s been in the top-25, the further he has slipped down the rankings. This is pure speculation, but considering the competition in-house and the fact that the pandemic has limited his ability to spend time with and grow a fondness for the Red Wings as an organization, I can’t help but wonder if his entry-level contract (ELC) will come from another team.

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

2021-22: Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL) – 9 GP, 3 P

Previous Rank: 20

Heading into training camp, it seemed like everyone around “Hockeytown” was talking about three players: Moritz Seider, Lucas Raymond and Kirill Tyutyayev. While Seider and Raymond made noise for looking NHL-ready right out of the gate, Tyutyayev made noise by looking like one of the Red Wings’ best forward prospects in the Traverse City Prospects Tournament, so everyone was eager to see how he would look against elevated competition. While preseason play dulled his shine a little bit, it was still very easy to get excited about what the Russian winger could bring to the AHL.

Unfortunately, Tyutyayev was limited to just nine games with the Grand Rapids Griffins before he suffered a shoulder injury, and the surgery that followed, shut him down for the rest of the season. In the limited action he did see, he displayed good puck skills and playmaking abilities. The Griffins re-signed him to another one-year AHL contract, so while he still isn’t signed by the Red Wings, he’ll (hopefully) have a healthy 2022-23 season to showcase what made him such an intriguing prospect just over a year ago.

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

2021-22: University of Denver (NCAA) – 35 GP, 1 G, 9 P

Previous Rank: 14

Antti Tuomisto finds himself in a similar boat as Mastrosimone. In some ways, this past season with the University of Denver was the most successful of his collegiate career. The Pioneers won the National Championship, and he generally had a positive impact on the ice despite recording low offensive numbers. Instead of returning to Denver for his Junior season, he signed a two-year deal to return to his native Finland. There, he will go up against men and play in an elevated role than the one he had with the Pioneers.

Related: Red Wings Prospects Shine in Denver Pioneers’ NCAA Championship

I am not as concerned about Tuomisto heading back to Finland as others are, but I do think the clock is ticking. He was always labeled as a “project pick” from the moment the Red Wings took him, so it’s not really a surprise that he isn’t ready yet. However, he’s entering a “put up or shut up” phase of his development. Until he takes a step that really shows he’s ready to push for the NHL or AHL, he’s going to keep sliding down these rankings.

19. (LW) Dmitri Buchelnikov – 2022, 52nd Overall

2021-22: SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL) – 56 GP, 41 G, 75 P

Previous Rank: NA

Similar to Lombardi, there’s a chance that Dmitri Buchelnikov finds himself ranked a lot higher the next time we rank the Red Wings’ prospects. He wasn’t exactly a household name entering the 2022 draft, and even the folks who knew about him didn’t have him ranked as a second-round prospect. Alas, the Red Wings felt like they needed to claim him with their second second-round pick and, upon further examination, I can see what attracted them to this player.

Buchelnikov is a highly skilled winger that can carry and maneuver the puck at top speed. As he gets stronger and faster, he’s going to be a nightmare to defend as he can beat defenders with both his hands and his feet. He scored a bunch of his goals last season in “Ovechkin’s Office”, so there’s a chance that he develops into a legitimate shooting option on the power play as he continues to develop. Given the country he is from, this may be a long-term investment in terms of ETA, but on skill alone, he’s quite possibly my favorite pick from Detroit’s 2022 draft class.

18. (C) Redmond “Red” Savage – 2021, 114th Overall

2021-22: Miami University (Ohio) (NCAA) – 35 GP, 6 G, 16 P

Previous Rank: 17

Truth be told, I believe the 18th and 17th-ranked prospects on this list are so close that they are essentially tied. That being said, I have Redmond Savage is the 18th spot due, in part, to the program he is currently a part of. With all due respect to the RedHawks, Miami University (Ohio) just wasn’t that great of a team this past season, and I believe that players develop the most when they are part of winning teams/programs. In a previous mailbag article, I was asked about whether or not we should be concerned about Savage’s development while playing for the RedHawks. While I still say the answer is not yet, I think it is highly important that he has himself a strong season regardless of the quality around him.

Red Savage, USNDTP
Red Savage, USNDTP (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

Savage still has all the tools you look for in a potential bottom six forward. His effort-level is unquestionable, he chips in at both ends of the ice, and he simply does things the right way. He’s a really easy player to cheer for, so I’m crossing my fingers that he has the strong season I’m looking for.

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

2021-22: Frölunda HC J20 (J20 Nationell) – 34 GP, 19 G, 50 P

Previous Rank: 13

The next step for Liam Dower-Nilsson is to translate his game against men in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL). Over the last two years or so, he has proven that he can play a tenacious two-way game that features high-effort defensive play and opportunistic, if not surprising, offensive skill. Since they were drafted 20 picks apart in last year’s draft, I’ve often compared Dower-Nilsson to Savage, and I still think that comparison holds some water. The reason Dower-Nilsson ranks ahead this time is because of the opportunity for him to consistently play against men next season.

Dower-Nilsson is still, at minimum, two years away from pushing for an NHL spot. Realistically, he’s probably three years away, but a strong showing next season could alter the timeline a bit. I love his fit in the Red Wings’ system – especially because he’s good friends with the team’s top prospect – and he’s playing in one of the top programs in the SHL. A bold take I have for next season is that he will firmly place himself on a lot of fans’ radars by the end of next season.

16. (LW) Dylan James – 2022, 40th Overall

2021-22: Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) – 62 GP, 28 G, 61 P

Previous Rank: NA

Remember when I said there are at least two other players in the Red Wings’ pool whose games resemble Mastrosimone’s? Dylan James is one of them.

James plays a north-south brand of hockey, and he will make his living in the pros on the forecheck. He’s a puck-hound who the opposition has to hate seeing coming towards them as he’ll attack the puck-carrier with tenacity and good stick work. He moves the puck well and, while I don’t think he has high-end skill, I think he could carve out a nice career for himself as a complimentary third line player in the NHL. Right now, I think he projects to become a Tyler Bertuzzi-type of player with a lower offensive ceiling, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes me eat those words in time.

He’s set to play his Freshman year of college at the University of North Dakota, a school known for its elite hockey program. I’m looking forward to seeing how James develops while playing with the Fighting Hawks.

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

2021-22: TPS (Liiga) – 52 GP, 3 G, 7 P

Previous Rank: 15

There are a handful of players set to join the Griffins next season in what will be their first season in North America. Eemil Viro is one of those players, and his journey to the western hemisphere could not come at a better time.

Since his draft year, I’ve been a fan of Viro (I thought he was a bit of a steal coming out of the third round of the 2020 draft.) He plays a quiet, calculated game that won’t translate to any highlight reels, but he’s the type of player teams need somewhere on their blue line. After two and a half seasons playing in the top league in his native Finland, I started to fear that his game was stagnating a bit. Spending next season in the AHL should give him a bit of a jolt, and we should be able to get a feel for where he’s at in comparison to his peers.

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

2021-22: Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL) – 70 GP, 5 G, 24 P

Previous Rank: 12

The biggest development for Jared McIsaac last season was able to play in more than 30 games in a season for the first time since the 2018-19 season. In 70 games this season in the AHL, he proved himself to be a steady force on the blue line while playing with a mediocre Griffins team. That’s a solid development for a player who has seen his stock take multiple blows due to various injuries over the last three years. Evgeny Svechnikov, anyone?

In all seriousness, the 2022-23 season is McIsaac’s last waiver-exempt season, meaning that he’ll have to be exposed to waivers beginning in the 2023-24 season if the Red Wings want to continue to stash him in the AHL. Because of that, as well as all the other left-handed defensemen in Detroit’s system, this is a make-or-break season for him in terms of his future with the Red Wings. I’m rooting for him because of all that he has been through, but he absolutely must have a strong 2022-23 season.

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

2021-22: Frölunda HC (SHL) – 51 GP, 9 G, 16 P

Previous Rank: 7

Theodor Niederbach is increasingly embodying what being an SHL prospect is all about. He’s developing a strong two-way game that could lead him to becoming a force on both the power play and penalty kill in North America, and he displayed some nifty puck skills like delaying to open up passing and shooting lanes. He’s becoming a real Swiss Army knife of a player that could fill a role wherever his team needs him to.

Theodor Niederbach Team Sweden
Theodor Niederbach, Team Sweden (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

Right now, I project Niederbach to be a middle six forward that can play on the wing or down the middle. I’d like to see him have a highly-productive season in the SHL with his new team in Rögle BK before I really start shipping this guy as a second-line type of guy, but the skill and fundamentals are all there. My colleague Logan had him ranked in the top-10 of his pre-draft rankings, and I completely understand why. I think the next time I rank these prospects, he could (and probably should) be in that range. As it is right now, I’m not completely sold on his upside.

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

2021-22: University of Denver (NCAA) – 39 GP, 3 G, 18 P

Previous Rank: 10

All things considered, Shai Buium had himself a highly successful Freshman season with the Pioneers. He proved that he wasn’t out of his depth while playing for the top collegiate program in the country, and he got to celebrate a championship with his teammates. Now the real work begins – it’s time for him to assert himself as a top defenseman for his team.

Buium is sneaky-good with his stick, and he uses it well to protect the puck from opposing attackers. He makes subtle little plays in the defensive zone that help put his team back on offense, and his mobility allows him to join the attack once the puck heads in the other direction. I’m not sure that he’s “elite” in any area of his game, but his game is well-rounded as he’s good at a little bit of everything. Right now, I think he projects as the perfect complimentary partner for a defender whose game leans in one specific direction.

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

2021-22: Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL) – 65 GP, 1 G, 7 P

Previous Rank: 11

As weird as it is to say this about a 2020 draft pick, I think we all know the book on Donovan Sebrango at this point. He’s played two seasons in the AHL before his 21st birthday, and he’s never looked out of place despite a special set of circumstances allowing him to play in that league in the first place. Through 96 AHL games, he has one goal and 11 points.

If you’re waiting for an offensive explosion from Sebrango, I hate to tell you this, but I really don’t think it’s coming. He is going to make a living as a pro by taking care of things in his own end and moving the puck up to his offensive teammates. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and this player is one that is mature beyond his years, so I’m not as worried about the limitations in his game as I would be with others. I’d like to see him push to get some games in the NHL this coming season.

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

2021-22: Portland Winterhawks (WHL) – 63 GP, 26 G, 86 P

Previous Rank: 9

The last time I ranked these prospects, I had Cross Hanas at 12th. At that time, he had 38 points through 33 games in the Western Hockey League (WHL). Here’s what I had to say about him:

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

Red Wings Top 25 Prospects: 2021-22 Midseason Update

Well, through his next 30 games, he recorded 48 more points and cemented what was a needed bounce-back season after a down year in 2020-21. Hanas is now signed by the Red Wings, and the option for him to join the Griffins next season is available. He’s got tons of skill and can be a highly-noticeable player when he’s on his game. Assuming he does make the jump to the AHL next season, I’m expecting him to experience some growing pains while also flashing the talent that made him a second round pick back in 2020.

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

2021-22: University of Denver (NCAA) – 41 GP, 14 G, 38 P

Previous Rank: 8

If you’re someone in the “trade Bertuzzi” camp, Carter Mazur should be one of your main talking points. Mazur is a bit of a character off the ice, and on the ice, he relishes playing a hard-nosed, high-effort game that reflects a lot of what has endeared people to Bertuzzi. That Mazur was one of the most productive members of the National Championship-winning Pioneers as a Freshman is just icing on the cake.

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Mazur is set to attend the University of Denver for his Sophomore season. In his second season with the Pioneers, he should have a lot less space to work with as opposing teams and coaches zero-in on him as somebody to focus their efforts on. It’s going to be a challenge, but he has the mental fortitude and the overall skill level to overcome that challenge. I think he’ll sign an ELC with the Red Wings following this season if all goes well. I’m a big fan of this prospect and it’s a real testament to the depth of Detroit’s prospect pool that he only ranks ninth here.

8. (C/RW) Pontus Andreasson – Undrafted

2021-22: Luleå HF (SHL) – 52 GP, 18 G, 38 P

Previous Rank: NA

At 23 years old, Pontus Andreasson is the oldest player listed here, and he’s also perhaps the most unconventional inclusion. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Red Wings back in May after he finished second in rookie scoring in the SHL. He followed up his strong season with 13 points through 13 games in the SHL playoffs.

I try to be weary of European undrafted free agents. It wasn’t that long ago that Damien Brunner and/or Mathias Bromé were supposed to surprise everyone and become long-time NHLers. Instead, they both faded into obscurity (despite a strong rookie season from Brunner) and now they’re both nothing more than a fun call-back on trivia night. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Andreasson enough that he debuts in the top-10 – it’s really hard to put up points in the SHL, and he certainly did that last season. I think he has middle six potential with a chance to contribute in the top six, but he’s going to have to impress early on in the AHL next season.

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

2021-22: Frölunda HC (SHL) – 52 GP, 21 G, 33 P

Previous Rank: 6

There will be people out there who think Elmer Söderblom is a top-five prospect in this pool, and I understand why. He is a mountain of a man (6-foot-8, 249 pounds), he puts up points, and he is surprisingly mobile for a player his size. He’s a unicorn that combines size, skill and speed, and if he realizes his potential, he could be a one of a kind-type of player in the NHL.

Söderblom led all U22 players in the SHL last season in both goals and points. He had four more goals than the second place player, and seven more goals than the third place player. He’s an absolute beast of a player. Now that he is signed by the Red Wings, he’s set to play his first season in North America next season, more than likely beginning in Grand Rapids with the Griffins. It may not be long before he makes his NHL debut simply because of his unique package. Still, he ranks outside of the top five for me because I think he tops out as a bottom six winger, and there are other players in this system that project to have way higher ceilings than that.

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

2021-22: Rögle BK (SHL) – 47 GP, 4 G, 19 P

Previous Rank: 5

Quite frankly, William Wallinder had the 2021-22 season I was hoping he would have. He arrived in the SHL and was ready to work, and he slowly climbed up Rögle’s depth chart because of the work he put in. By the end of the season, he had earned the trust of his coaches, and he finished tied for second in U21 scoring among defensemen with 19 points through 47 games. He was the first pick of the second round back in 2020, and this is the season where his potential really shined through.

Wallinder will return to Rögle this season, and he’ll be joined by a few fellow Red Wings prospects. He’ll be expected to build on his success from last season. If he can continue his upward trend, he’s probably the next Swedish prospect to sign an ELC with the Red Wings, likely following the completion of the 2022-23 SHL season. I think he still has some holes in his defensive game he needs to work out, but he’s got a ton of potential as a top-four defenseman that has size (6-foot-4, 190 pounds) and skill.

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

2021-22: Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL) – 46 GP, 33-9-3, 2.28 GAA, .913 SV%

Previous Rank: 3

This is another spot where Logan and I disagree. This is my third time ranking Cossa, and it’s the third time I’m putting him in the fifth spot. While I firmly believe he is one of the Red Wings best and most important prospects, there are a number of reasons why I haven’t moved him from this ranking since he arrived in Detroit’s system.

First and foremost, Cossa is a goalie, and goalies almost always take more time to develop than most players. That hurts him in comparison to the more NHL-ready prospects in this pool. He is also coming off of a season where his development seemingly went sideways; while he helped lead the Edmonton Oil Kings to a Western Hockey League (WHL) championship, the quality of the roster in front of him did a lot of the heavy lifting. He had a good season, no doubt, but for being the first goalie off the board in a draft class that featured more than one top-tier goaltending prospect, I was hoping to see him have a great season. There was also the fact that he lost out on the starting role for Team Canada at the rescheduled World Junior Championship. This was kind of a stagnant year for him, so I don’t feel justified moving him up from where I’ve had him.

I still believe in Cossa’s potential and his willingness to do what it takes to realize that potential. Give me an elite-level 2022-23 season, and then I’ll start feeling a lot better about him as a top-three prospect.

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

2021-22: Färjestad BK (SHL) – 52 GP, 5 G, 25 P

Previous Rank: 4

While Wallinder finished tied for second in scoring among U21 SHL defenseman, Albert Johansson sat at the top of the list. Johansson has now played 141 regular season games in the SHL and he has 15 goals and 57 points to show for it. His game has developed quite a bit since the Red Wings took him in the second round of the 2019 draft, and I believe he is NHL-ready right now.

I have made little mystery of the fact that I like this prospect a lot. Johansson is not the most explosive offensive defenseman you’ve ever seen, but there is plenty of offense in his game. He is also not real shut-down type of defender, but he knows how to take care of things in his own zone. He can compliment any type of defensive partner, making him a highly versatile option on the blue line. While I think he starts next season in the AHL, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s playing home games at Little Caesar’s Arena by the end of the season.

3. (C) Marco Kasper – 2022, 8th Overall

2021-22: Rögle BK (SHL) – 46 GP, 7 G, 11 P

Previous Rank: NA

This is another situation where I think this spot and the spot directly ahead of it are really close. Deciding whether or not to stick Marco Kasper at the second or third spot in this ranking was something I thought about for a week (I’m not joking.) There’s a slight disconnect between what I’ve seen and believe versus what I want to believe in regards to this player, and that’s a big reason why he’s here instead of second.

Kasper was not my first choice for the Red Wings at eighth overall in this year’s draft. He wasn’t even my second choice. I picked him in our site-wide mock draft because he struck me as an Yzerman-type of player/pick; Kasper held down a role as an 18-year-old in the SHL last season, and he already plays a sound two-way game built on high effort in all areas of the ice. It’s not that I didn’t like this prospect – it’s that I didn’t like him at eighth overall. I think he projects as a second line center in the NHL that can play in all situations, and he should be ready to push for an NHL spot in 2023-24.

Related: Red Wings Get the Center They Need in Marco Kasper

I’m looking forward to watching him answer a lot of my questions next season, but the fact remains that I have fewer questions about the forward I have ranked directly ahead of him.

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

2021-22: Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL) – 70 GP, 21 G, 64 P

Previous Rank: 2

In terms of projectability and NHL-readiness, I think Jonatan Berggren is the Red Wings’ top forward prospect – and he should be! Berggren joins McIsaac as the only 2018-draftees on this list, which means that Berggren has spent the most time developing among the forwards listed here. He’s ready to go; if it weren’t for the Red Wings’ flurry of moves in free agency this month, I would have told you that it was a slam dunk that he would make Detroit’s opening night roster. While his path to “Hockeytown” isn’t as clear-cut now, I still think he’ll be wearing the winged wheel before the end of the season.

Jonatan Berggren Grand Rapids Griffins
Jonatan Berggren, Grand Rapids Griffins (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

Berggren broke the rookie scoring record for the Griffins this season, collecting an impressive 64 points through 70 games this season. It took him a few games to get used to the North American style of game, but once he got comfortable, he started putting up points in bunches. He’s a playmaking winger that can dazzle with finesse moves and high-IQ plays in the offensive zone. I think he tops out as a second line winger that can wreak havoc on his team’s second power play unit.

There are many NHL-ready prospects across the NHL. Berggren is one of them, and that’s why he holds down this spot in the rankings.

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

2021-22: Frölunda HC (SHL) – 44 GP, 2 G, 19 P

Previous Rank: 1

Speaking of NHL-ready prospects….

There is some debate about whether or not Simon Edvinsson is ready to push for an NHL roster spot for the 2022-23 season. He has never played in North America, and he’s not that far removed from a draft season that had people like me worried about his decision-making on the ice. I think, however, that once training camp begins in September, we’ll soon find out that he is already the Red Wings’ best left-handed defenseman.

Size, skill, mobility…you name it, Edvinsson’s got it. It’s almost a cliché at this point to talk about what the Red Wings’ blue line will look like with him and Seider patrolling the left and right side, respectively, but that time is coming, and it’s coming soon. Top-pairing defensemen are hard to find in the NHL, but that’s exactly what Edvinsson seems on-track to become.

There are 25 reasons and more to be excited about the Red Wings’ future, but Edvinsson is the biggest one right now.

Just Missed….

  • (C/RW) Ethan Phillips
  • (C) Chase Pearson
  • (RW) Sam Stange
  • (RW) Oscar Plandowski
  • (RW) Kienan Draper

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