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Red Wings prospects grab WJC spotlight

Published Tuesday, January 3, 2012, 11:42 p.m. under 2011-12 RWC Reports
Petr Mrazek

Petr Mrazek (Credit: Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

The Detroit Red Wings have five prospects at the IIHF world junior championship in Calgary and Edmonton — and all of them have done nothing but impress.

Goaltender Petr Mrazek, a fifth-round pick in 2010, made the most headlines and further solidified his status as the organization’s top goaltending prospect by almost leading the underdog Czech Republic to the semifinals.

The 19-year-old Ottawa 67’s stopper turned in a 52-save round-robin gem in a 5-2 win over the U.S. that helped eliminate the Americans from medal contention. He then made 43 saves in a heartbreaking 2-1 overtime loss to Russia in the quarterfinals.

His athleticism and quickness were all on full display throughout the tournament, as were his competitiveness and enthusiasm. His emphatic celebrations in games against Canada and the U.S. drew the ire of his opponents

“Petr obviously stood on his head,” said Czech Republic assistant coach Jiri Fischer — also the Red Wings’ director of player development — to Sportsnet.ca. “He’s (an) extremely passionate guy, I think a lot of people noticed over the last few games. It trickles down all the way through the team, so it’s nice to have that energy on the ice. He’s got a lot of passion so I don’t have a problem with him doing whatever he does when he’s stopping pucks.”

Heading into Wednesday’s fifth-place game against Slovakia, Mrazek has a 2-3-1 record with a 2.59 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage.

Finland’s Teemu Pulkkinen, a fourth-round pick in 2010, is one of the tournament’s top scorers with six goals and four assists in five games. He scored four consecutive third-period goals in a 10-1 round-robin rout of Denmark and his lethal shot made him a dangerous offensive threat on a line with Minnesota Wild first-rounder Mikael Granlund.

Despite Pulkkinen’s strong play, it was Sweden — with the steady play of Red Wings defense prospect Mattias Backman — that beat Finland 3-2 in a shootout in the semifinals to earn a spot in Thursday’s gold-medal game. The 6-foot-2 Backman, drafted 146th overall in last June’s draft, has put himself on the map with his silky-smooth play, recording three assists and a plus-5 in five games while being relied upon in last-minute situations.

Finally, although not in the spotlight, Tomas Jurco and Marek Tvrdon quietly had good tournaments for Slovakia. Jurco had a team-high eight points on a goal and seven assists in five games while Tvrdon led the team with three goals and an assist.

One player not at the WJC is defenseman Alexey Marchenko. He was expected to be Russia’s captain but has been out since October with a knee injury.

NOTES: Center Brent Raedeke (Grand Rapids, AHL) is heating up. He has three goals and three assists in his past six contests and nine points in his past 15 games. The defensive ace had just one point in his first 14 games … Defenseman Xavier Ouellet (Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL) is on fire lately, having piled up five goals and an assist in his past three games and 11 points in his past nine contests. His 12 goals n 35 games are second in the QMJHL to Buffalo Sabres free-agent signing Jerome Gauthier-Leduc, who has 20 goals in 36 games … Center Joakim Andersson has appeared in three NHL games since his first career recall from AHL Grand Rapids. Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock told MLive.com Andersson is “probably going to be a third- or fourth-line center” but that he needs “more pace in his game.”

Following is this week’s statistical report.

SKATERS: REGULAR-SEASON REPORT

NAME TEAM LEVEL LEAGUE GP G A P PIM +/- SOG
Coetzee, Willie Grand Rapids PRO AHL 31 7 5 12 7 0 71
Ferraro, Landon Grand Rapids PRO AHL 26 4 4 8 27 -1 30
Nyquist, Gustav Grand Rapids PRO AHL 30 9 21 30 10 -5 85
Tatar, Tomas Grand Rapids PRO AHL 32 9 18 27 24 -3 104
Andersson, Joakim Grand Rapids PRO AHL 29 8 9 17 16 +1 59
Aubry, Louis-Marc Grand Rapids PRO AHL 25 3 3 6 14 -6 44
Callahan, Mitchell Grand Rapids PRO AHL 23 3 2 5 60 -1 30
Ehrhardt, Travis Grand Rapids PRO AHL 3 0 0 0 9 -1 5
Lashoff, Brian Grand Rapids PRO AHL 23 3 3 6 17 -14 42
Pare, Francis Grand Rapids PRO AHL 32 5 13 18 14 -3 71
Parkes, Trevor Grand Rapids PRO AHL 23 1 3 4 6 +1 38
Raedeke, Brent Grand Rapids PRO AHL 29 5 5 10 18 0 38
Smith, Brendan Grand Rapids PRO AHL 26 5 12 17 43 +2 59
Piche, Sebastien Grand Rapids PRO AHL 17 0 2 2 13 -5 14
Pyett, Logan Grand Rapids PRO AHL 32 1 14 15 20 +2 89
Nestrasil, Andrej Grand Rapids PRO AHL 11 2 1 3 2 -1 17
Fournier, Gleason Grand Rapids PRO AHL 3 1 1 2 2 0 1
Fournier, Gleason Toledo PRO ECHL 27 2 9 11 12 -5 60
Nestrasil, Andrej Toledo PRO ECHL 14 1 6 7 4 -5 28
Parkes, Trevor Toledo PRO ECHL 4 4 0 4 2 +1 17
Ouellet, Xavier B.-Boisbriand JR QMJHL 32 12 15 27 45 -8 107
Macek, Brooks Calgary JR WHL 36 9 14 23 13 +4 N/A
Nedomlel, Richard Swift Current JR WHL 39 4 15 19 52 -19 N/A
Tvrdon, Marek Vancouver JR WHL 33 14 23 37 16 -1 N/A
Sproul, Ryan Sault Ste. Marie JR OHL 37 10 16 26 39 +17 N/A
Quine, Alan Peterborough JR OHL 37 15 25 40 11 -11 N/A
Jurco, Tomas Saint John JR QMJHL 30 21 24 45 25 +28 125
Hudon, Philippe Victoriaville JR QMJHL 10 2 1 3 8 +1 25
Jensen, Nick St. Cloud State COL NCAA 22 4 13 17 2 +6 35
Nicastro, Max Boston U. COL NCAA 16 1 3 4 18 -2 26
Cayer, Julien Clarkson COL NCAA 17 5 2 7 16 -2 26
Marshall, Ben Minnesota COL NCAA 22 2 4 6 25 +13 50
Sheahan, Riley Notre Dame COL NCAA 19 5 13 18 14 -1 64
Pulkkinen, Teemu Jokerit EUR FIN 32 9 13 22 4 0 136
Almquist, Adam HV-71 EUR SEL 31 3 8 11 20 +18 N/A
Axelsson, Dick MoDo EUR SEL 21 8 7 15 47 -3 N/A
Jarnkrok, Calle Brynas EUR SEL 35 8 14 22 10 -7 N/A
Backman, Mattias Linkoping EUR SEL 26 1 5 6 10 +5 N/A
Marchenko, Alexey CSKA Moscow EUR KHL 4 0 0 0 2 -3 2

GOALIES: REGULAR SEASON REPORT

NAME TEAM LEAGUE GP W L O/S SO GAA SV%
Mrazek, Petr Ottawa OHL 29 16 7 5 0 3.01 .909
Pearce, Jordan Grand Rapids AHL 12 1 6 1 1 3.42 .877
McCollum, Thomas Grand Rapids AHL 8 5 3 0 0 3.03 .901
McCollum, Thomas Toledo ECHL 13 5 6 1 0 2.68 .905
8 Comments
  1. RW19 says:

    A couple of thoughts on Teemu Pulkkinen – great shot and very deceptive with his hands. He was really good in that loss to Sweden. Surprisingly, I thought he was pretty solid on the defensive side of things, especially covering his man. I did not expect that. RWC list him at 5’11, but I think its more like 5’8 or 5’9 though he looks very stocky. Biggest shock was that the Finnish coach did not send him out when the game went to a shoot out. Even the commentators were surprised.

    Also saw a couple of Slovakia games. Wings nation rejoice: Jurco and Tvrdon are huge looking, engage physically and are not shy about going into the blue paint. They played on the same line most of the time and they were quite effective. Tvrdon has the making of a draft day steal, like Mrazek.

  2. sheckman9 says:

    RW19, did you actually go to the games or just watch them on TV? I’m only asking because I saw several games on TV, but missed Pulkkinen. I’ve seen him listed at 5″10″ before, so I believe you there. I’d just as soon take a guy that’s shorter as long as he’s pushing 200 lbs.m — gives ‘em a low center of gravity (which, if he isn’t yet, I think he will be by the time he’s a Wing).

    I’ll echo that on Jurco and Tvrdon… and Backman looked pretty good for a late pick. But obviously, Mrazek stole the show… so close to defeating the Russians… who may win it all (but I’ll be rooting for the Swedes).

    What did you think about Collberg, Grigorenko, and Barkov?

    Is it really true that Marchenko was supposed to be Russia’s captain? Man, we have some good prospects!

  3. Dale says:

    Hockey News reported that Marchenko was the top defenseman (junior) in Russia.

  4. Joakim says:

    A Red Wings prospect, Petr Mrazek, was given the Goaltender of the Tournament award at 2012 World Junior’s – that’s spectacular!

    I was greatly surprised by the play of Mattias Backman. It really looks like he has a good chance of becoming an NHLer. ‘The tools are there’ summarizes it well. He earned more and more ice-time as the tournament went on, and played solidly, skated well, and quite simply inspired calm and confidence into his team-mates. He sees the ice well and has an offensive game, although aren’t pinching very often. He likes to shoot the puck. Like Lidstrom, he prefers poke-check to open-ice hits, but also has decent size.

  5. Alex says:

    These kids are incredible. I don’t ever remember having such a deep, diverse collection of talent in the Wings pipeline. There aren’t any clear franchise type guys but Datsyuk and Zetterberg weren’t suppossed to be either. On that note, in terms of what type of potential each guy possess’s…

    Pulkkinen* Jarnkrok* Jurco*
    Tvrdon Sheahan Tater
    Callahan Aubry Mursak
    Nestrasil Quine Ferraro

    Smith* Sproul
    Ouellet Marchenko
    Almquist Backman/Lashoff

    Mrazek*
    McCullom

    *denotes potential Star players

    Without high first round picks this is amazing. Way to go Holland, Nill, Andersson, Fischer, Dellavano and the rest of the front office!

  6. Jack says:

    Alex you forgot about Nyquist and Jenson (probably has a better shot in North America then Almquist, either case the the depth is there). I also heard that the wings could potentially sign a college free agent who is getting a lot of attention, I don’t know how to spell his name but it sounds like dyckizer, anyone know what I’m talking about?

  7. Mark says:

    Jack,

    the college player’s name is Danny Dekeyser from Western Michigan University. Should pan out to be an outstanding stay at home defenseman.



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