Two Red Wings Crack List Of NHL's Top 50 Prospects

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Photo credit © Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With eight picks in the first two rounds of the draft over the last two years -- and 13 picks over the last four -- the Red Wings have assembled a strong core of prospects. 

The effect is already being felt in Detroit, and it will grow stronger over the next few years. One doesn't have to look too far down the line to see the likes of Filip Hronek, Filip Zadina, Joe Veleno and Moritz Seider playing big-time roles in the NHL. Just to mention a few. 

The most important question for the Red Wings is which of these prospects will develop into stars. The answer, for now, lies in their respective ceilings. 

In a list of the top 50 prospects in the NHL compiled by The Athletic, two Red Wings gained mention: Zadina and Veleno. 

The ranking only considered prospects who A) came out of the draft, B) are under 23 years old and C) did not spent the majority of last season in the NHL. So, for the Red Wings purposes, players like Hronek and former first-rounders Dennis Cholowski and Michael Rasmussen were not eligible. 

Notably absent from the top 50 was defenseman Moritz Seider, the sixth overall pick in this year's draft. 

Zadina, the sixth overall pick in last year's draft who had an up-and-down season with the Grand Rapids Griffins, came in at No. 12:

"Zadina is young, can really break players down with his puck skill and can flat out score. That should be enough to make him a 30-30-60 guy (maybe more) and a dynamic threat on the power play. It may just not happen overnight." 

Veleno, who led Quebec Major Junior in points per game last season after the Wings drafted him 30th overall, came in at No. 33:

"An excellent skater whose scoring touch has begun to catch up to his elite speed and cerebral playmaking talent. There’s impact 2C upside in his game."

Both Zadina and Veleno have a chance to make the Red Wings' opening night roster out of training camp. Veleno made it clear at development camp last month his sights are set on the NHL. The same could be said for Zadina, who got a taste of the NHL last season. 
The fact that Seider was left off the list is evidence that opinions still vary on the German defenseman. Steve Yzerman and the Red Wings are especially high on him -- so is Scotty Bowman, for that matter -- but there's a reason there was widespread surprise when Detroit took him sixth overall. 

Most mock drafts had Seider going somewhere in the middle of the first round. 

"I don’t pay attention to the mock drafts at all," Yzerman said after the draft. "We can’t. We have to do our jobs and hopefully do them well and kind of tune out the noise, so to speak. But we had him right at six on our draft list." 

Seider, 18, can back up Detroit's faith in him with a strong season this year -- be it stateside (either in the OHL or the AHL) or with his club team in Germany. Meanwhile, Zadina and Veleno can justify the hype by graduating from the AHL to the NHL. 

The top prospect in the NHL, according to the Athletic, is Michigan native and 2019 first overall pick Jack Hughes -- two spots ahead of his brother, Quinn, the seventh overall pick last year. They're sandwiched around 2019 second overall pick Kaapo Kakko.