Red Wings Prospect Spotlight: Red Savage

The Hockey Writers

The Detroit Red Wings have a deep prospect pool made up of scorers, grinders, playmakers, offensive and defensive defensemen, and starting-caliber goaltenders. They really don’t have a huge weakness when it comes to youth, so it’s always exciting to follow the progress of the pipeline throughout the season. So in the spirit of that, I thought it would be great to shine a spotlight on a few of them as we continue through the dog days of the summer.

Detroit Red Wings Prospect Spotlight
Detroit Red Wings Prospect Spotlight (The Hockey Writers)

During this ongoing series, I will get you caught up on their hockey journey since being drafted/signed, what to expect during 2023-24, and their current place on the prospect depth chart. Finally, I will endeavor to project a ceiling and floor for them moving forward. So without further ado, let’s get started with 2021 fourth-round pick Red Savage.

Spotlight on Red Savage

  • How Acquired: Selected 114th overall by the Red Wings in 2021
  • 2022-23 Team: Miami University (Ohio) (NCAA)
  • 2022-23 Stats: 32 GP – 7 G – 7 A – 14 PTS
  • 2023-24 Contract Status: Unsigned
  • 2023-24 Team: Michigan State University (NCAA)

Savage’s Hockey Journey Since Being Drafted

After a stellar stint with the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP) where he put up 42 goals and 104 points in 118 games and got selected 114th overall by the Red Wings, Savage transitioned to the NCAA with Miami University (Ohio). In his freshman season, he put up a decent six goals and 16 points in 35 games and was named to Team USA’s roster for the 2022 World Juniors where he recorded two goals and five points.

Related: Red Wings 2023-24 Player Preview: Lucas Raymond

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Last season, Savage hit a career-high in goals with seven and again represented his country at the 2023 World Juniors. This time around, he was one of the leaders as he donned an “A” and made a dent offensively with three goals and six points in seven games. On a team full of stars and first-rounders like Logan Cooley and Jimmy Snuggerud, the former fourth-round pick not only stood out for his defensive game and faceoff prowess but his offense as well.

Ultimately leading to a bronze medal around his neck, Savage returned to his team in the NCAA and proceeded to score three of his seven goals in the final five games of the season, including two in an eventual 5-4 overtime loss to Western Michigan University. Unfortunately, the Miami RedHawks were not a good team last season and finished with an 8-24-4 record.

2023-24 Season Outlook

Savage will not be returning to Miami for his junior season as he announced a change in venue for the 2023-24 season through his Twitter account in March. He will be joining Michigan State and continuing his hockey journey with the Spartans. He will team up with the likes of Maxim Strbak (Buffalo Sabres), Isaac Howard (Tampa Bay Lightning), David Gucciardi (Washington Capitals), Jack Sparkes (Los Angeles Kings), and recent Red Wings second-round pick Trey Augustine as draft picks playing for the Spartans.

It will be interesting to see how Savage adjusts to playing for a new school after two years in Ohio. He will have experience coming in having played 67 games in the NCAA, so he should be able to take on a leading role rather quickly. One of his major intangibles is leadership, as he’s worn an “A” with Team USA at the World Juniors and was the captain at the 2021 U18 World Championship. He will also be reuniting with former USNTDP coach Adam Nightingale, who coached him during the 2020-21 season where he had 26 points in 31 games.

According to Elite Prospects, the projected roster for the Spartans doesn’t have a lot of natural centers, so it’s reasonable to assume that Savage will get a lot of responsibility down the middle this season. From penalty killing, shutdown duty, and being out there in the final minute, he should be one of Nightingale’s favorite players in 2023-24.

Where is Savage on the Red Wings’ Prospect Depth Chart?

Still unsigned by the Red Wings going into his junior year of college, Savage is only two years away from becoming an NCAA free agent. While that’s a long way off, it’s something to take note of going forward. This year will be huge for him to convince the brass that he’s worthy of an entry-level contract. With his faceoff ability, leadership, and overall bottom-six skillset, he should get one very soon.

As of right now, Savage is firmly entrenched behind Marco Kasper, Nate Danielson, and probably Noah Dower-Nilsson on the prospect depth chart when it comes to centers.

Prospect Rankings

What is Savage’s Ceiling & Floor?

Since joining the USNTDP, Savage has been known as a solid shutdown center that can be relied upon to play against the opponent’s top line, kill penalties and win key faceoffs in the defensive zone. He likely won’t ever be a huge offensive threat in the NHL, but with his quick wrist shot and occasional flashes of creativity, he could consistently score 10-15 goals in a checking-line role ala Kris Draper. As such, I see that as his ceiling.

As for Savage’s floor, his defensive hockey IQ, work ethic, leadership, and faceoff ability should make him at least a fourth-line center or top call-up option. In any case, I see him making it to the NHL in some capacity in the next few seasons.

NHL ETA: End of the season in 2024-25


“Savage has the potential to be a complete player who excels on both ends of the ice with some offensive prowess that should excite if all goes well.” – Tyler Kotila, Octopus Thrower

“He can be very aggressive on the forecheck and in the neutral zone it’s not a problem for him to have the puck and make a play…In the D zone, that’s probably where he probably excels the most. He kills a lot of plays, really bears down taking draws.” – John Vanbiesbrouck, USA Hockey

“I don’t want to say I don’t see myself as a top six forward, but I understand that I have to play as good of a defensive game as I can…And I really enjoy shutting down top lines that I play against. It’s a role I’m comfortable in.” – Red Savage

Final Thoughts

Savage is one of my favorite NHL prospects. He has been ever since the 2021 NHL Draft where I had him 62nd in my final rankings. He ended up going way later at 114th, but I believed in his potential then and I still believe in it now. He should have been selected late in the second round rather than all the way down in the fourth. His overall skill set is perfect for the bottom six of any NHL team. He might not be the high-end center prospect that Kasper and Danielson are, but he will be an important part of the Red Wings someday. Mark my words, he will be a key piece of a Stanley Cup win, just like Draper was all those years ago as part of The Grind Line with Kirk Maltby and Darren McCarty/Joe Kocur.

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