The Detroit Red Wings present playoff prospects do not look good. However, they will get to see potential future players at this year’s World Junior Championships. Four Red Wings prospects will represent at the tournament. Three defensemen and a goalie will be part of the tournament for Detroit.
The Wings defense is in need of an overhaul and all of these players might figure into that. Some of these blueliners may figure into things sooner rather than later. General manager Ken Holland will try to trade the highly sought-after Mike Green and possibly Trevor Daley at the deadline. These youngsters will get a shot in the next couple of seasons.
Red Wings Prospects at the World Junior Championships
Malte Setkov, D, Denmark
The 6-foot-6-inch Dane looks to be the backend stopper of the future for Detroit. The fourth round pick of the 2017 NHL Draft stood head-and-shoulders above the other defensive prospects at the development camp in Traverse City, Michigan over the summer.
Setkov is only 18 and will put on weight to make him sturdier. He has also been working on his offensive game and someone with his size will cut an intimidating figure. A dangerous point shot on the powerplay would be a welcome addition to his game.
Denmark has been on the rise on the international scene and players like Setkov are at the forefront of that. He could join countryman Frans Nielsen on the roster if things work out.
Kasper Kotkansalo, D, Finland
Detroit went heavy on defense in the last draft and Kotkansalo has been solid in his first season with Boston University. The Espoo, Finland native has totaled two goals and three assists for the Terriers. The 6-foot-2-inch lefthander has already equaled his goal total in international duty this season.
The Finn has been touted with having good hands and a nice shot from the point. He also has good size and wingspan. Kotkansalo was also part of the gold medal-winning squad for Team Finland and U18 World Championships.
Gustav Lindstrom, D, Sweden
The Red Wings have always maintained a Swedish connection and two from that country will represent Detroit at the World Juniors. Lindstrom was seen as a project when he was taken in the second round of the 2017 draft, but he is seen as a high-reward type player.
Lindstrom’s ability to move the puck and composure at both ends of the ice has been praised. He is more of an offensive defenseman that will join the rush when needed.
He is another player in the potential defensive makeover that’s coming to Detroit.
Filip Larsson, G, Sweden
Larsson is the only non-defenseman from the Detroit prospect pool was a late-round pick by going in the sixth in 2016. The 6-foot-2-inch netminder has racked up a 1.45 goals-against-average and a .946 save percentage in 18 games with the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League.
He has struggled in his four games with the international team with a 4.18 GAA and .853 save percentage. The 2018-19 University of Denver commit does have the capability to bounce back and be a force for Sweden in net.
The 19-year-old is in the mix to be the future goalie for the Wings after Jimmy Howard is moved or retires.
The season may be lost, but a strong tournament from any of these players will inject some hope for the future.