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7 Detroit Red Wings’ Prospects That Busted

A promising pipeline of prospects is an integral a part of a workforce’s long-term success. During the Detroit Red Wings’ 24-year playoff streak, they managed to strike gold within the later rounds of the draft a number of instances, which significantly lengthened their reign of Stanley Cup rivalry. Even now, the Red Wings possess a stable core of younger expertise that’s hoping to steer them again to relevancy.

Unfortunately, there have additionally been a handful of gamers over the previous 20 years who’ve drawn the ire of Hockeytown. While these gamers could not have all been top-end draft picks, they garnered sufficient hype to go away followers disillusioned. To maintain it current, solely gamers drafted after the 2003-04 season can be thought of right here, so Joe Murphy and Curtis Bowen must sit on the sideline.


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Grab your *insert bust right here* jersey and maintain it shut. Revisiting these gamers will deliver again some irritating reminiscences.

Jakub Kindl – Defenseman

Drafted: First spherical, nineteenth general, 2005

Let us begin with one of many extra painful names to mirror on. Jakub Kindl, taken nineteenth general, was the very best Red Wings draft decide since Martin Lapointe was taken tenth general in 1991.

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Jakub Kindl, Detroit Red Wings (Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE)

Kindl was a productive rearguard within the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Kitchener Rangers, tallying 113 factors in 114 video games over his last two seasons. He put up some regular, if not spectacular, seasons with the Grand Rapids Griffins within the American Hockey League (AHL) earlier than turning into a daily on the Red Wings roster in 2010-11.


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The relaxation is, woefully, historical past. Kindl performed six seasons for the Winged Wheel, averaging a meager 0.24 factors per recreation throughout that span. The 19 factors he put up in 2013-14 had been probably the most he ever recorded in a single NHL season. He left the group in 2016.

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To make issues worse, the 2005 draft class was ripe with defensive gems. Marc-Edouard Vlasic (thirty fifth general), Kris Letang (62nd general), Keith Yandle (one hundred and fifth general), Niklas Hjalmarsson (108th general), and Anton Stralman (216th general) are only a few of the opposite blueliners taken after Kindl within the draft. Woof.

Teemu Pulkkinen – Forward

Drafted: Fourth spherical, 111th general, 2010

Pulkkinen is the right instance of a participant that was not a premium draft decide however nonetheless didn’t reside as much as the hype. The Finnish sniper first began grabbing consideration with two resounding outings on the IIHF World Under-18 Championships. His 28 factors by way of two tournaments are the third-highest whole of all time, trailing solely Alex Ovechkin and Jack Hughes.

Pulkkinen then impressed with Jokerit of SM-Liiga within the 2010-11 season. As a 19-year-old rookie, Pulkkinen recorded 19 objectives and 36 assists in 55 video games. His help whole shattered Teemu Selanne’s longstanding single-season rookie assist record of 25.

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Once Pulkkinen reached the AHL, the bandwagon was reaching most capability. He scored 31 objectives and 28 assists by way of 71 video games throughout the 2013-14 season earlier than producing a outstanding 48 objectives and 31 assists in 62 video games (common season and playoffs) within the 2014-15 season. Pulkkinen’s taking part in model was harking back to Brett Hull, as a depraved slap shot was probably the most harmful instrument in his arsenal.

Alas, all good issues should come to an finish, and Pulkkinen’s lack of pace made him a simple goal to defend in opposition to within the NHL. He was unable to create area for himself, which rendered his cannon of a shot ineffective.

Pulkkinen mustered 11 objectives and 9 assists in 70 video games with the Red Wings earlier than the Minnesota Wild claimed him off waivers within the 2016-17 season. Now, he’s again in Europe, taking part in with Dinamo Minsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).

Tom McCollum – Goalie

Drafted: First spherical, thirtieth general, 2008

Once heralded because the goaltender of the longer term, Tom McCollum by no means panned out for the Red Wings. The American netminder began to garner hype with three spectacular seasons within the OHL.

He was listed because the top North American goaltender by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau forward of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. A mediocre efficiency on the 2009 World Junior Championships raised some eyebrows, however the group was nonetheless excited for the promise he had proven.

Things modified as soon as McCollum reached the skilled stage. He endured a depressing 2009-10 season cut up between the AHL and the ECHL. Again, within the 2010-11 season, he struggled in each leagues, however he additionally made his first NHL look in reduction of Joey MacDonald. This debut couldn’t have gone worse as McCollum allowed three objectives on eight photographs earlier than head coach Mike Babcock determined to place MacDonald again within the recreation.

Related: 4 Directions for the Red Wings’ Roster

McCollum’s hype rapidly fell off after that horrendous first look. He continued to toil within the minor leagues for the subsequent two seasons, finally being surpassed by Petr Mrazek for the beginning job in Grand Rapids throughout the 2013-14 season.

He made two extra reduction appearances for the Red Wings throughout the 2014-15 season, which went significantly higher, however he was out of the group two seasons later. Now in 2019, he has but to make one other NHL look.

Tomas Jurco – Forward

Drafted: Second spherical, thirty fifth general, 2011

Tomas Jurco was drafted as a renowned YouTube sensation with silky easy fingers, however he finally turned a serious disappointment for the Red Wings group. He performed a key position, alongside Jonathan Huberdeau, on the Saint John Sea Dogs who received the 2011 Memorial Cup. Jurco completed his junior profession with 239 factors in 228 video games (common season and playoffs).

He joined the Griffins forward of the 2012-13 season, and whereas he had a modest common season, he was very important within the playoffs (14 factors in 24 video games) en path to a Calder Cup Championship. Jurco produced 32 factors in 32 video games throughout the 2013-14 season earlier than being referred to as as much as the Red Wings. He loved a stable debut within the NHL with eight objectives and 7 assists in his first 36 video games.

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Unfortunately, that was the final time followers felt good concerning the Slovakian winger as he scored simply 17 factors in his subsequent 123 video games. Jurco’s 6-foot-2 body, silky fingers, and on-ice imaginative and prescient appeared like an ideal mixture for achievement. Once groups began to grasp his tendencies, he was unable to adapt. He left the group in 2017 and spent all of final season within the AHL.

Brendan Smith – Defenseman

Drafted: First spherical, twenty seventh general, 2007

Brendan Smith is likely one of the gamers on this checklist that’s nonetheless an NHL common. He has 416 NHL video games below his belt in his respectable profession. The challenge with Smith is that he by no means got here near reaching the potential that made him a first-round decide in 2007.

Smith performed for the St. Michael’s Buzzers of the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League (OPJHL) in his draft 12 months earlier than becoming a member of the Wisconsin Badgers within the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

His first two seasons in school had been environment friendly, however he really broke out throughout the 2009-10 season. In 42 video games, he recorded 15 objectives and 37 assists en path to being named the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Defensive Player of the Year.

Smith then starred for the Griffins within the AHL within the 2010-11 season, rating fifth in factors (32) amongst rookie blueliners regardless of lacking 13 video games (and the AHL All-Star game) because of harm. He cracked the Red Wings lineup for a 14-game stint in 2011-12 and impressed mightily with a aim and 6 assists. With Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart off of the roster forward of the 2012-13 season, the trail was clear for Smith to change into an NHL common.

Brendan Smith
Brendan Smith was thought of Detroit’s prime prospect for a very long time. (Photo: Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Smith, who had proven offensive prowess at each stage, turned unable to supply. In six seasons with the Red Wings, Smith solely managed 67 factors in 291 contests. While the shortage of offense was disheartening, he additionally turned a defensive legal responsibility on the ice.

The Red Wings traded him to the New York Rangers on the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline for a second and third-round decide. He continues to place up modest level totals and frustrate the Rangers’ fan base.

Ryan Sproul – Defenseman

Drafted: Second spherical, fifty fifth general, 2011

The 6-foot-4 behemoth with a bomb from the purpose had followers hoping he was the power-play quarterback of the longer term within the Motor City. Ryan Sproul was a tantalizing prospect that produced at a excessive stage within the OHL. In three seasons with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, he recorded 57 objectives and 96 assists in 172 video games whereas turning into a feared asset with the additional man.

He joined the Griffins within the 2013-14 season and produced 32 factors in 72 video games as an AHL rookie. Sproul’s measurement and offensive intuition garnered him consideration within the group, because the Red Wings desperately wanted an affect defenseman. While Sproul was by no means anticipated to be a top-pairing headliner, his improvement into a gentle NHL rearguard was welcomed among the many Red Wings brass.

Related:The Grind Line: Red Wings’ Offseason Wish List

He continued to supply at a mean charge on the AHL stage and earned himself a 27-game stint with the Red Wings within the 2016-17 season. He scored as soon as and added six assists, however an absence of pace and an incapacity to make clear breakouts turned evident.

His struggling defensive play led to a trade to the New York Rangers early within the 2017-18 season. Sproul bounced across the AHL in 2018-19, suiting up for 3 completely different franchises whereas failing to look in any NHL video games.

Riley Sheahan – Forward

Drafted: First spherical, twenty first general, 2010

Last, however not least, is Riley Sheahan. The Red Wings undoubtedly took the protected strategy on the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by deciding on Sheahan. He was a accountable two-way middle out of Notre Dame within the NCAA, however there was a restrict to his offensive potential. Evgeny Kuznetsov, now a star for the Washington Capitals, was a riskier participant who went 5 spots after Sheahan.

Sheahan joined the Griffins for the 2012-13 season and produced 36 factors in 72 video games. Nothing about his model of play was flashy, however he had a knack for defensive positioning and tight checking. Sheahan turned a daily for the Red Wings in 2013-14 and continued to exude the identical tendencies.

Riley Sheahan Detroit Red Wings
Riley Sheahan, former Detroit Red Wing (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

He tallied 85 factors in 202 video games by way of his first three NHL seasons; respectable manufacturing however underwhelming for a first-round decide. Then, catastrophe struck throughout the 2016-17 season. Sheahan went a full 80 video games with out scoring a aim till he miraculously discovered the again of the web twice in the season finale. It was one of the crucial disappointing seasons in NHL historical past.

Sheahan then went scoreless by way of the primary eight video games of the 2017-18 season earlier than the Red Wings mercifully traded him to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sheahan produced 19 factors in 82 video games throughout the 2018-19 season cut up between the Penguins and Florida Panthers.

Final Word

This article means that the Red Wings have drafted horribly in current seasons, however they’ve had their fair proportion of hits as nicely. All groups undergo agonizing relationships with prospects as some bonafide gamers find yourself turning into busts.

Ville Leino and Damien Brunner had been two different gamers that triggered their fair proportion of complications, however they had been left off of the checklist as they had been European free brokers.




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