The Detroit Red Wings 5-2 loss to St. Louis in the Prospect Tournament certainly pumped the brakes on the prospect-palooza that had been sweeping the fanbase. Sebastian Cossa looked every bit of an 18-year-old goaltender, Jonatan Berggren exited with an injury and Lucas Raymond is well, Lucas Raymond.
Between some fans on Red Wings Twitter and the live chat on the streaming page of Youtube, some might thing that the prospect pool is doomed. The future of Detroit is not as bright sans Seider and Raymond.
Or it could be that everything is exactly as it should be when prospects are raw and fighting for their path to the big team?
Some things look right on for the Red Wings
Let’s start with Raymond. After scoring his second and third goals of the tournament last night, coincidentally the only Red Wings goals, the young 2020 first round draft pick is emerging as many expected. Cautiously, it’s just a prospect tournament which is a limited sample size as well as everyone from top end prospects to invitees. But Raymond is noticeable on every shift he’s out there.
Whether it’s playing the point on the power play, threading a pass on the tape for a juicy scoring chance, or breaking up a scoring opportunity on the other end, Raymond is appearing to be exactly what was reported when he was drafted.
There’s still a preseason to be played and then an AHL season where he’ll presumably start. But boy oh boy, will he warrant quite the discussion should he be as noticeable while playing against men.
Some things are rightly developing for the Red Wings
The other high end prospect on display was between the pipes and making a very anticipated start last night. It didn’t go as many fans had hoped and as is the custom, reviews were divided. In one camp you had those cautioning that he was a young kid appearing in his first high stakes game in a while. On the other, some hand wringing went one of three ways:
- The Red Wings should have taken Jesper Wallstedt instead
- Yzerman shouldn’t have taken a goalie at fifteen, let alone trade up to do so
- He’s not as good as advertised.
I wrote yesterday that Kirill Tyutyayev’s performance from Thursday night was a great showing, and one that certainly bolstered hope that he was going to be a diamond in the rough Detroit was looking for in those later rounds. But that caution should be practiced, especially knowing that the road for any prospect is a long and winding one.
I still feel that Tyutyayev will factor into the Wings’ plans down the road, but whether he’ll be a Darren Helm type or mentioned in the same breath as a Henrik Zetterberg or Pavel Datsyuk–both late round gems as well–remains to be seen.
Had Cossa shut out St. Louis and made 25 saves, it would have been an entirely different conversation. But that’s just it. After a laborious rebuild that has seen Wings fans view some pretty awful hockey at times while seeing lottery luck just as dismal, it’s the prospects drafted that provide the hope and promise to renew the faith the fanbase has shown.
I’m tired of the losing. I so desperately want to see playoff hockey again with the Red Wings in it. But I’ve believe that Yzerman is building the right way, and while he won’t be perfect with every pick, trade, or signing, his vision is one that I’ve written about often that I believe in.
Though it’s different, and certainly a entirely separate sport, watching the rise of the Tigers this summer has been something to behold. It took one hire for them to get things going in the right direction–that being manager A.J. Hinch. I felt that way when they hired him. I felt the same when Yzerman came home to guide the Wings back to prominence.
One game won’t make or break a prospect. It’s not advice to anyone in particular–just something I remind myself when sometimes my emotion as a fan overrides my reason.
Detroit takes on Columbus tonight to wrap up its slate of games. It’s another chance to see the kids develop some more.