A closer look at the top 10 prospects in the Red Wings’ organization

Detroit News

Detroit —  The future appears bright for the Tigers and Pistons, who have received good grades for their recent drafts.

The Red Wings are in a similar position.

General manager Steve Yzerman and his scouting staff have stockpiled a jaw-dropping amount of draft picks and valued prospects since Yzerman’s return to Detroit in 2019.

The deft work and scouting has put the Wings consistently among the top-five to top-10 organizations in the NHL in terms of young talent on the way, according to draft/prospect gurus.

When you gather information on the young players, it’s easy to see why there’s excitement.

More: With training camp a month away, Red Wings have questions to answer

The Wings have a collection of high-end talent that is likely going to begin making NHL debuts this season — and for the next several seasons.

Red Wings fans have heard the names over the last few years. Given this year’s draft haul, and the fact some European leagues have already hit the ice and the North American juniors and colleges are about to, here’s a refresher on 10 of the Wings’ top young prospects.

Moritz Seider, defenseman

►Selected: 2019, first-round (sixth overall)

►2020-21 stats: Rögle (SEL): 41 games, 7 goals, 28 points.

►The skinny: When was the last time a Wings’ prospect has been so eagerly anticipated by Wings’ fans? Almost since the day Seider was drafted, fans have been wanting to see the mobile, physical 6-foot-4 defenseman in the NHL.

They’ll get their wish this season, likely right out of training camp. Seider, 20, was the the best defenseman in the Swedish League last season. There isn’t a prospect ranking out there that doesn’t have Seider in the top-3 players outside of the NHL.

Lucas Raymond, forward

►Selected: 2020 first-round (fourth overall)

►2020-21 stats: Frölunda (SEL): 34 games, 6 goals, 18 points.

►The skinny: Raymond’s season was cut short by an elbow injury. But during his time in Frolunda’s lineup, Raymond showed the explosiveness, creativity, shot, and two-way ability that make him one of the top forward prospects not currently playing in the NHL.

Raymond’s lack of action over the last two seasons will likely necessitate some time in Grand Rapids this season, while also familiarizing himself with North American hockey. But the expectation is Raymond will be a dynamic NHL player at some point.

Jonatan Berggren, forward

►Selected: 2018 second-round (33rd overall)

►2020-21 stats: Skellefteå AIK (SEL): 49 games, 12 goals, 45 points.

►The skinny: The one concern since being drafted was Berggren’s lingering list of injuries. But Berggren stayed healthy this past winter and showed the talent that makes him a potential NHL top-six forward. He’s dangerous with the puck on his stick, and has an uncanny level of patience which further makes Berggren dangerous. He’ll play in Grand Rapids this season, but a look-see at the NHL level is likely, too.

Joe Veleno, forward

►Selected: 2018 first-round (30th overall)

►2020-21 stats: Malmö (SEL): 46 games, 11 goals, 20 points.

►The skinny: Veleno had five games with the Wings (one goal), and didn’t look out of place, displaying a fine two-way game and increased strength. Veleno also showed an ability to play on the wing while in Sweden. One of the dominant questions heading into training camp will be whether Veleno will begin the season with the Wings, or in Grand Rapids? If there’s not a chance of getting quality ice time in the NHL, Veleno will definitely return to Grand Rapids.

Simon Edvinsson, defenseman

►Selected: 2021 first-round (sixth overall)

►2020-21 stats: Frölunda (SEL): 24 games, 6 points.

►The skinny: The Wings drafted the big (6-foot-5), mobile, two-way defenseman in July and could have a future top-pair defenseman to join with Seider. Edvinsson is only 18 and has plenty of learning to do, but the attributes and instincts are there to make him a sure-fire NHL prospect. If Seider and Edvinsson both hit on their projections, the Wings have a big, versatile defensive tandem for a decade or more.

Sebastian Cossa, goaltender

►Selected: 2021 first-round (15th overall)

►2020-21 stats: Edmonton (WHL): 17-1-1, 1.57 goals-against average, .941 save percentage.

►The skinny: The other first-round gem the Wings drafted in July, some analysts put Cossa a peg or two higher on some depth charts. Scouts love the size (6-foot-6), athleticism, and confidence that Cossa plays with, and feel he’s about as sure-fire of a goaltending prospect as any netminder can be. Cossa is probably two or three years away from the NHL, but when he arrives, there’s a good chance he’ll be in the Wings’ net for a long time.

 Albert Johansson, defenseman

►Selected: 2019 second-round (60th overall)

►2020-21 stats: Färjestad BK (SEL): 44 games, 8 goals, 19 points.

►The skinny: Johansson has kept showing he can be a safe, steady, two-way defenseman who isn’t going to necessarily fill the box score but be a key piece in a team’s lineup. Johansson took a positive step with Farjestad last season, getting more ice time, playing in a variety of roles, and improving the offensive part of his game.

Theodor Niederbach, forward

►Selected: 2020 second-round (51st overall)

►2020-21 stats: Frölunda (SEL): 20 games, 3 goals, 5 points.

►The skinny: Niederbach had 35 points in 19 junior games, was promoted, and held his own as a 19-year-old against older players. A slick 5-foot-11 center, Niederbach has been held back by injuries but has shown the ability of being a fine set-up man. Niederbach has the type of talent that could make him a second-round steal in the future.

William Wallinder, defenseman

►Selected: 2020 second-round (32nd overall)

►2020-21 stats: MODO (SEL): 43 games, 1 goal, 6 points.

►The skinny: Wallinder (6-oot-4, 190-pounds) is another one of those prospects, similar to Niederbach, that could turn out to be a huge steal considering where he was drafted. He’s only 19, and hasn’t played much top-level hockey, but his raw skills are tantalizing, with his ability with the puck the most intriguing skill. If Wallinder fills out physically, and learns the defensive part of the game, he easily could be an NHL defenseman.

Donovan Sebrango, defenseman

►Selected: 2020 third-round (63rd overall)

►2020-21 stats: Grand Rapids (AHL): 31 games, 4 points.

►The skinny: There aren’t many folks who would have guessed Sebrango would be this high up the prospect ladder in one year. But the 19-year-old got a chance in the AHL last winter because of the pandemic, and showed the grit, physical play, and defensive instincts to become a legitimate prospect. Sebrango’s offense is a work in progress, and he’ll likely never be a major point-producer, but that’s fine considering his value in other areas. Players with his attributes can last a long time in the NHL.


Twitter: @tkulfan

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