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NHL Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings: 8 Prospects To Watch During 2013-14 Season

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Detroit Red Wings: 8 Prospects To Watch During 2013-14 Season

Detroit Red Wings: 8 Prospects To Watch During 2013-14 Season
Rick Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports

The 2013-14 season is underway for the Detroit Red Wings, and for their AHL affiliate the Grand Rapids Griffins. Of the 20 players on the Red Wings’ opening night roster, 10 had played at least a few games with the Griffins, and a handful were part of a Calder Cup championship team last season. As the Red Wings look to keep their consecutive playoff appearance streak alive, the Griffins will be looking to defend their championship and some of the brightest prospects in the organization are on hand to help them in that quest.

Joakim Andersson, Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist starred for the Griffins last season, but were also regular contributors during their time in Detroit. Salary cap issues have Nyquist starting the season in Grand Rapids, but he’ll no doubt be with the Wings before season’s end. Calle Jarnkrok and Teemu Pulkkinen are among the forwards who could see a call-up this season, but they are just two of the talented players with the Griffins. Red Wings defensemen Brian Lashoff, Brendan Smith and Danny DeKeyser also spent time with the Griffins, and now a new crop of blueliners will strive to be the next call-up.

Here’s a look at eight of the top prospects for the Red Wings, seven of whom will start the season with the Griffins. Another prospect makes this list due to a blistering start in the QMJHL. Who will be the next player to join Andersson, DeKeyser and the other former Griffins in Detroit?

Jonathan Katje is an NHL featured columnist for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or add him to your circles on Google Plus.

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Petr Mrazek

Petr Mrazek
Brace Hemmelgarn - USA TODAY Sports

An injury to Jonas Gustavsson has opened the door for Petr Mrazek to start the season as Jimmy Howard's backup in Detroit, but he'll likely spend most of the season in Grand Rapids helping the Griffins with their defense of the Calder Cup. It could be argued that he was just as deserving as Tomas Tatar for the AHL playoff MVP award last season, as Mrazek posted a 2.31 goals-against with four shutouts in 24 postseason starts. He recorded 23 wins as an AHL rookie, and also won one of the two games he started for the Wings last season.

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Tomas Jurco

Tomas Jurco
Tom Szczerbowski - USA TODAY Sports

After a slow start in his AHL rookie season, Tomas Jurco eventually found his groove and finished the year with 14 goals and 28 points. He chipped in another eight goals and 14 points in the playoffs, and with Andersson and Tatar in Detroit (and Nyquist eventually as well), he'll need to step up even more as a top-six forward.

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Riley Sheahan

Riley Sheahan
Rick Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports

Riley Sheahan has appeared in one game for the Red Wings in each of the past two seasons. He was able to shake off some off-ice problems last season and chip in 16 goals and 36 points for the Griffins last season, and they will be looking for him to be even more of a contributor this season.

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Landon Ferraro

Landon Ferraro
Charles LeClaire - USA TODAY Sports

Landon Ferraro's 24-goal, 47-point season for the Griffins in 2012-13 elevated his stock quite a bit, and he could see time in Detroit soon as an injury call-up. A second round pick in 2009, Ferraro continues to mature and continues to evolve his all-around game.

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Anthony Mantha

Anthony Mantha
Ed Mulholland - USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Mantha is the one player in this slideshow who won't be playing for the Griffins this season, but the Red Wings will definitely be keeping an eye on his progress. Last season Mantha led the QMJHL with 50 goals, and through six games with the Val d'Or Foreurs this season the 20th overall pick in the 2013 draft has eight goals and 14 points.

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Ryan Sproul

Ryan Sproul
Rob Grabowski - USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Sproul is one of a handful of defense prospects that will get their first taste of professional hockey this season with the Griffins. His 20-goal, 66-point season with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds made him a first team OHL All-Star last season.

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Xavier Ouellet

Xavier Ouellet
Rob Grabowski - USA TODAY Sports

Joining Sproul on the blue line in Grand Rapids will be 2011 second round pick Xavier Ouellet. He had 10 goals and 41 points for the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada last season, and was a QMJHL First Team All-Star for the second consecutive season.

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Luke Glendening

Luke Glendening
Rick Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports

Heading into his second season of pro hockey, Luke Glendening continues to defy expectations. A former walk-on at the University of Michigan who eventually became a team co-captain, he worked his way up from the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL (14 goals, 21 points in 27 games) to the Griffins (eight goals, 26 points in 51 games) last season and eventually earned a contract from the Wings. Coach Mike Babcock is a bag fan of Glendening's work ethic, and even though he isn't a flashy prospect he could end up being an injury call-up depending on the need in Detroit.