Of prospect-related note this morning:
- The Detroit Free Press’s Helene St. James returns this morning with a discussion about the Red Wings’ prospect tournament. Among her subscriber-only article’s “stories to watch” are the following items of note:
There’s been a great deal of excitement — and patience — surrounding [Jonatan] Berggren since he was drafted at No. 33 in 2018. He’s a gifted offensive player, capable of dazzling moves. His development was derailed by a back injury, limiting him to 40 games from 2018-19 to 2019-20, but he rebounded last season with 12 goals and 33 assists in 49 games with Skellefteå. Berggren should stand out at this tournament because he’s played in the SHL most of the last four seasons.
Picked just a few spots after Berggren, at No. 36, defenseman Jared McIsaac likewise has been waylaid by shoulder injuries (he got hurt in his first game playing in Finland last year) but he appeared in 10 games with the Griffins last season. Donovan Sebrango, a defenseman taken at No. 63 in 2020, is also on the roster; he’s a mix of old-school grit and offense.
Kirill Tyutyayev (who shares his hometown of Yekaterinburg, Russia, with former Wings great Pavel Datsyuk) is an undersized dynamic forward dating to the 190th pick in 2019. He’s earmarked to play in GR this season. Jan Bednar (No. 107, 2020) and Victor Brattstrom (No. 160, 2018) are the other goaltenders besides [Sebastian] Cossa.
2. And The Athletic’s Max Bultman offers 5 specific storylines to watch over the course of the prospect tournament:
The mystery men: The aforementioned Red Wings prospects are all exciting precisely because they are well-known entities (at least by prospect standards). They’ve all played in high-profile leagues and international tournaments, allowing fans and media to get a solid sense of what they do well, and what they may someday bring to the Red Wings.
But there are a few prospects who still have an air of the unknown to them. The most obvious is 2021 sixth-round pick Pasquale Zito, out of OHL Windsor, who Detroit took a swing on despite him having not played a single meaningful game in his draft year. Sure, Zito played a season with the Spitfires at 16, tallying 13 points in 46 games. But having no data from Zito’s most recent season (at 17) is a huge difference between him and the other affiliated prospects on the team — though he will have that in common with some of the free agent invitees on the roster.
Beyond Zito, there’s also Kirill Tyutyayev, the Russian forward Detroit picked in the seventh round in 2019 who played in Belarus last season. Because relatively few major prospects come through the Belarusian league compared to Russia, Finland or Sweden, it’s been hard to contextualize the diminutive Tyutyayev’s 32 points in 43 games last season. But viewing him head-to-head (and side-by-side) with more established prospects should provide a much more revealing look at where Tyutyayev’s game is, and where he’ll need to improve this year in Grand Rapids.
Less unknown, but still of interest, will be 2020 fifth-round pick Alex Cotton — a 6-foot-2 defenseman out of the WHL who has been above a point-per-game the last two seasons. Because of the pandemic, the Red Wings haven’t been able to have a development camp since he was drafted as an overager last fall, so seeing him in this setting will be a valuable viewing opportunity.