Detroit Red Wings Kid Line 2013-14 Evaluation

The offseason evaluation of the Detroit Red Wings continues as we head to the lesser known names of the bottom six. This group rotated in and out over the course of the injury-riddled season, which gave the young guys an opportunity to make an impact.

Boy, did they exceed expectations.

Click here to see the Top Line, and the The Second Line Evaluations.

Red Wings Kid Line

Tomas Tatar (Left Wing/Right Wing)

It was a long time coming for the 23-year-old from Slovakia.

Down in Grand Rapids for the better part of five years, Tatar challenged the organization for an opportunity to show what he could do at the NHL level. In 2013-14, he got that opportunity after making the team out of training camp. After a slow start early on, Tatar started to play to his potential. On and off, he was paired with fellow Grand Rapids mates Gustav Nyquist and Riley Sheahan. Along with Tomas Jurco, the Slovak turned in a solid effort for his first full season in the big leagues, putting up 19 goals and 20 assists in 73 games. Again, he is 23 and has his whole career ahead of him. The priority for Ken Holland and the Red Wing brain trust right now is to re-sign the restricted free agent. It will be exciting to see how he develops along with the rest of the youth that will carry the next wave of Red Wing stars.

Riley Sheahan (Center)

Another injury call-up, another huge contributer. With good size and hands, Sheahan was another rookie that burst onto the scene in Hockeytown. Getting an opportunity to play almost every night as an injury call-up, Sheahan made sure he would be here to stay. In 44 games, the Notre Dame alumnus put up nine goals and 15 assists, good for 24 points. Not bad for a 22-year old in that limited time, and the kid appears to have a very bright future ahead of him, presuming the Red Wings sign the RFA. With a wicked shot and a strong body that can get to the front of the net, the Wings see something that they like in this kid, and it will be exciting to see him grow.

Tomas Jurco (Left Wing/Right Wing)

Easily the best player on the Grand Rapids Griffins at this point, Tomas Jurco turned in a solid part-time NHL rookie campaign for Detroit. Sporting some soft hands and a knack to get in front of the net, Jurco, in limited time, put up eight goals and seven assists in 36 games played. Not too bad at all. Another relatively young one out of the group, the 21-year-old Slovakian looked to get better as he gained more and more experience. That went for most of these guys, but being 21, Jurco opens my eyes a bit more than the rest of the up and coming Wings from the Grand Rapids crop. The way he moved the puck, as well as the others, made you think that he was a ten-year vet. Confidence just seemed to gradually build and build, and he’s not even close to ripe yet. It will be interesting to see what this kid can do in his first full season in Detroit in 2014-15.

Watch for these guys to be the next wave that could carry this team back to the Stanley Cup Final in the near and far future.

Up next on offseason evaluations, the fourth liners get their recognition. After, the defense, as lost as it looked this season, will be highlighted. Later on, the short-term callups from GR and their outlooks for the future including Petr Mrazek, Teemu Pulkkinen, Xavier Ouellet, Adam Almqvist, Ryan Sproul, Mitch Callahan, Alexey Marchenko, and more will all be part of a prospect series during the summertime around the NHL draft.


Next up, the bottom six.


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