- The Legwand trade has been pretty much torn apart by everyone. The Wings gave up Eaves, what ended up being a 2nd round pick, and Calle Jarnkrok the team’s top center prospect. After the trade, Holland had said publicly that they didn’t feel Jarnkrok was going to be anything more than a bottom 6 center. Like most, I didn’t really understand this move, I felt like Jarnkrok was a really important prospect and the return for him wasn’t all that great for a player who was supposedly a great talent. Well, I did some research and think I may have figured out why the Wings don’t feel he is a top 6 center. As a Red Wing, Jarnkrok was listed at 6 feet 188 lbs. However, as a Predator, he is listed at 5 foot 11, 156 pounds. Jarnkrok was already considered small the way the Wings listed him. For him to “lose” an inch and 32 pounds, well that’s a lot. He might just be a guy who just can’t put on weight. It’s really hard to be a center if you’re small, and even harder if you aren’t all that strong. Datsyuk is small, but he is extremely strong. Helm is small, but his elite speed and strength allows him to be shifty enough, but he is a guy who always seems to be hurt. I think his size made the Wings real nervous and it probably led to the devaluation of him from a top 6 center to a bottom 6 center.
- Petr Mrazek, how about that guy huh? One of the most interesting things about him is his ability to raise his game when it counts. Looking at his time at the World Juniors where he stood on his head and last year’s Calder Cup run, this looks like a goalie who can bring his A game when it counts. A hot goalie can steal a series and win you a cup. Mrazek looks like a bona fide number one goalie in the making. He gets talked about in the same breath as Vasilevsky, that’s pretty exciting. Mrazek is probably going to be the backup in Detroit next year, and if he plays well, could challenge Howard a little bit. Mrazek has improved a lot this year getting much more consistent play to play and game to game. Things seem to be lining up really well for the goalies in the Detroit system. They have Mrazek moving up and Paterson coming in to probably tandem with McCollum, who will probably be resigned. Look for them to draft a goalie in the upcoming draft, to add onto a position in which they look to have a lot of depth.
- I want to take this moment to address all this talk about this year being a “show me” year for Holland. I’ve read a few articles in the Wings blog-o-sphere that discuss Holland needing to earn an extension this year if he wants to stay with the team. This is ridiculous. Ken Holland is the best General Manager in all of sports. 23 straight postseason appearances and one of the best prospect systems in the league, not to mention the organizations strength and stability. They are the most respected organization in the NHL since the 1990’s. What’s worse is that to defend their argument to fire Holland, they will cite the signings of Samuelsson, Cleary, and Tootoo. This is mind boggling. Are those three signings that Holland would like to have back? Yeah probably. I don’t think anyone would argue that differently. But to fire a guy over those three rather unimportant signings? That’s ludicrous. I like Holland. A lot. He’s proved plenty to me in his tenure as the Wings GM. He’s not going anywhere. And he shouldn’t.
- Let’s talk about Andreas Athanasiou. I have loved this guy since the start of the year. Outside of Mantha, I think he has the highest ceiling out of all the forward prospects. He has speed, he has hands, and he is improving quickly. He was 5th place in the OHL this year in points and he looks to be a guy who could get some serious attention in Grand Rapids next year.
- I think I am the only person who is wholly unimpressed with Teemu Pulkkinen’s game. He looks to me as a guy whose only value is as a power play specialist. Unless he improves the rest of his game, he looks like a guy who is going to have just one NHL skill, his shot. I think he’s going to disappoint a lot of people. Pulkkinen is overrated.
- Backman and Janmark have really impressed me thus far in their limited time in the AHL. The Euro to North American transition can really mess with a player’s game, but these guys look to be really solid. Backman seems to be living up to his hype.
- Am I the only person who wants to see the Wings try to re-sign Quincey? The various beat writers have pretty much said that the Wings aren’t going to try to re-sign him, but I’m not sure if they are speaking as an intermediary or if they are purely speculating. I don’t think the Wings are going to be able to get a better mid level defenseman and I’m not really sure there are better options out there. I am going to assume that Lashoff reverts back to being a 7th defenseman and that Oullet comes up to play full time next year. After that, I am not really sure there is another kid who is ready yet. The Wings are still really young at the blue line, and I’m not sure that getting younger is the right choice, especially when Quincey seemed to find his step this year and played really solid hockey for them. I know I’m in the minority but, it’s a deal I want them to try to get done.
- This lets me transition quite nicely into the youth movement. I like the kids, but people also need to realize that kids aren’t always better. Not every prospect reaches his ceiling, and not everyone makes a seamless transition. The Wings need a few strong veterans to really lead them. Wings fans hate the veterans, but they have a lot of value on this team strictly in terms of helping the young guys adjust to playing in the NHL. Keep that in mind as the offseason progresses.
To wrap it up here, look me up on twitter @ProspectGuy and if you have any Red Wings questions or if you want to contact me send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.