The month of November saw many Detroit Red Wings prospects get off to a great start in their respective leagues. With the lockout ongoing, a handful of these players who might have had a shot at cracking the NHL lineup have been forced to play in the minors or junior leagues instead, and are using that chance to show off their skills.
Among the prospects in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins, 2008 third round draft choice Gustav Nyquist is leading the way, with eight goals and 19 points. His linemate Tomas Tatar, a 2009 second round choice had a great month and has 10 goals and 18 points. 2007 second round pick Joakim Andersson, centering the same line, has four goals and 11 points.
Defenseman Brendan Smith has also continued his strong play, with 12 points through 17 games. Francis Pare brings a seven-game point streak into Friday’s game against the Texas Stars. 2010 first round pick Riley Sheahan has three goals and will learn the consequences of an October DUI arrest on Dec. 13.
In his first pro season, forward Tomas Jurco continues to impress with speed in the offensive zone, and has scored four goals. Rookie sensation Petr Mrazek blazed to a 6-1 record in his first month in the AHL, posting a 2.53 goals against average.
Other prospects in Grand Rapids include Louis-Marc Aubry (2010, third round), Brent Raedeke, Trevor Parkes, Mitch Callahan (2009, sixth round), Landon Ferraro (2009, second round) and defensemen Brian Lashoff and Adam Almquist. Goaltender Thomas McCollum, a first round choice in 2009, has a 4-2-1 record and continues to rebound from a shaky start.
The ECHL’s Toledo Walleye are being led by Willie Coetzee (nine goals and 18 points) and Andrej Nestrasil, a 2009 third round pick who has six goals and 13 points through 19 games. Goaltender Jordan Pearce has a 5-1 record since swapping places with Mrazek, and defenseman Gleason Fournier has bounced between Toledo and Grand Rapids.
Teemu Pulkkinen, a 2010 draft selection, has so far struggled to find his scoring touch while playing for Jokerit Helsinki in Finland. Fellow 2010 draftee Calle Jarnkrok has 20 points in 26 games for Brynas IF Gavle in Sweden. Defenseman Mattias Backman continues to see increased ice time for Linkoping in Sweden, and Russian prospect Alexei Marchenko has a career-high four goals for Dynamo Moscow of the KHL.
In the QMJHL, 2012 draft selection Martin Frk has 30 points in 23 games for the Halifax Mooseheads. Defenseman Xavier Ouellet, a 2011 second round pick, has 25 points in 26 games for the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and could earn a spot on Team Canada for the World Junior Championships.
In the WHL, prospect Marek Tvrdon (Vancouver Giants) was recently lost for the season due to injury, while Swift Current Broncos defenseman Richard Nedomlel continues to find a balance with the offensive and defensive aspects of his game. Ryan Sproul (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) is one of four prospects in the OHL, and has four goals and 13 points in 10 games since returning from an injury that kept him out for seven weeks.
Jake Paterson, a 2012 pick, has a 10-10-2 with the Saginaw Spirit, carrying the bulk of their goaltending workload. Center Alan Quine (Peterborough Petes) has five goals and ten points in 12 games, also missing some time due to injury. Andreas Athanasiou, a fourth round pick this year, has made the most of a fresh start with the Barrie Colts, and has scored 12 goals and 25 points in 26 games.
At the college level, defenseman Ben Marshall has three goals for the University of Minnesota, and 2009 fourth round pick Nick Jensen, also a defenseman, has nine assists in twelve games for St. Cloud State. Mike McKee, a 2012 pick in his second USHL season with the Lincoln Stars, has five points and 108 penalty minutes in 13 games.