Saturday, August 11, 2018

Top prospects for Detroit Red Wings

1. Filip Zadina, F
How acquired: Selected with No. 6 pick in 2018 NHL Draft
Last season: Halifax (QMJHL): 57 GP, 44-38-82
The Red Wings had Zadina third on their draft board and were thrilled when he fell to them. The 18-year-old's 44 goals tied for third in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season, and his seven goals for the Czech Republic tied for second in the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, behind Kieffer Bellows (nine) for the United States.
Zadina (6-foot, 195 pounds) could make the opening roster by forcing himself into the top six or take a path similar to forward David Pastrnak's with the Boston Bruins. At 18, Pastrnak started the 2014-15 season with Providence in the American Hockey League and played for the Czech Republic at the 2015 WJC. He came up to the NHL afterward and flourished.
Projected NHL arrival: This season
2. Michael Rasmussen, F
How acquired: Selected with No. 9 pick in 2017 NHL Draft
Last season: Tri-City (WHL): 47 GP, 31-28-59
Rasmussen ranked second in the Western Hockey League playoffs last season with 33 points (16 goals, 17 assists) in 14 games, behind Brad Morrison of Lethbridge, after recovering from wrist surgery during the regular season. A big center (6-6, 221), he's a load down low.
The 19-year-old will likely make the opening roster and break into the NHL on the left wing, as Dylan Larkin did for the Red Wings in 2015-16, to take away some responsibility, ease some pressure, and play to his strengths beneath the top of the circles.
Projected NHL arrival: This season
3. Filip Hronek, D
How acquired: Selected with No. 53 pick in 2016 NHL Draft
Last season: Grand Rapids (AHL): 67 GP, 11-28-39
Hronek (6-foot, 170) seems ready for the next step after breaking out in the AHL last season with skill more than size. The 20-year-old led Grand Rapids defensemen with 39 points (11 goals, 28 assists) in 67 games, with 18 (three goals, 15 assists) coming on the power play.
The Red Wings have a spot open at defenseman -- two, if they carry eight defensemen -- and Hronek is the leading candidate among a group that includes Dennis Cholowski, Joe Hicketts and Libor Sulak.
Projected NHL arrival: This season
4. Dennis Cholowski, D
How acquired: Selected with No. 20 pick in 2016 NHL Draft
Last season: Prince George (WHL): 37 GP, 13-26-39; Portland (WHL): 32 GP, 1-26-27
The Red Wings wanted Cholowski to work hard in the gym and be more assertive on the ice last season, and he looks ready to take the next step. The question is whether the 20-year-old will go straight from junior to the NHL. His only professional experience is one AHL playoff game with Grand Rapids.
Cholowski is a bigger body (6-foot, 195) and different player than Hronek. But if Hronek makes the opening roster, Cholowski could get some of his ice time in Grand Rapids, particularly on the power play. Cholowski could be called up after the NHL Trade Deadline this season and compete for a spot on the opening roster next season.
Projected NHL arrival: Next season
5. Joseph Veleno, F
How acquired: Selected with No. 30 pick in 2018 NHL Draft
Last season: Saint John (QMJHL): 31 GP, 6-25-31; Drummondville (QMJHL): 33 GP, 16-32-48
The Red Wings had Veleno ranked high on their draft board and compared him to Larkin in terms of style. The 18-year-old, known for his speed and work ethic, looks up to Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews as a two-way center, leader and winner.
Veleno (6-1, 193), who received a special exemption to play in the QMJHL when he was 15, has played three seasons of major junior and was captain for Canada at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup and the 2018 IIHF U18 World Championship. 
Projected NHL arrival: 2020-21 season

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