Detroit Red Wings Development Camp: The Defensemen Part One

Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Leigh Photography
Jennifer Leigh Photography

For the next couple of days we will break down the defensive players who attended the Detroit Red Wings Development Camp.

Today we will take a look at the defensemen who will be heading to Grand Rapids next season.

Ryan Sproul will be heading to Grand Rapids next season for his first full season and he has a lot to offer the Griffins. The first thing everyone mentions when talking about Sproul is his shot, but he is more than just a powerful slap shot.

He reads plays very well and uses his hockey sense to always be in the right position. I believe the biggest asset he has to offer is his ability to quickly engage, disengage, and the engage another player.

There are almost no faults in his game, but his passes are a bit hard at times, he will develop the control with time though.

The 6’4″ defenseman was the most polished defenseman at camp and was named the OHL’s top defenseman after last season. The Griffins are looking forward to him making an impact in Grand Rapids next season.

Now we will move on from a big defenseman to a defenseman who is slightly undersized in Xavier Ouellet.

Ouellet is listed at 6’1″ by the Detroit Red Wings, but I would be surprised if he was an inch over 5’11″. His size is a factor, but he is a good two-way defenseman who can create an offensive rush or help keep the puck out of the net in the defensive zone.

He is a quick player who can beat defenseman on the rush and will not let a player beat him to the outside. He, also, has good hands and would be able to deke out a player or two.

He still has to add some size and strength, but once he does that we could be looking at a possible replacement for Brian Rafalski, if he was left-handed.

Russia has been good to the Red Wings in the past and now it has a chance to be good for them in the future thanks to Alexei Marchenko.

Marckenko has a big body at 6’2″ and he know how to use it, he hits hard and separates players from the puck very well. Very good at pinching at the right times and is sneaky enough to catch defensive players off guard.

He does have a few knocks on him though; at times he will not wait for the puck to reach him completely and he will turnover the puck and the fact that he does not possess an elite shot. He does keep the puck low on his shots for rebounds and tip ins though, which is something Nicklas Lidstrom did a lot in his career.

Marchenko could be another 7th round stud for the Red Wings and should perform well in Grand Rapids.

Nick Jensen will be heading to Grand Rapids as well next season, but he was injured during the first practice and unfortunately I was not able to watch him.

The Detroit Red Wings are stacked at defense and with the new draft picks coming up soon after the past two drafts it is getting even better. It is not a good time to be an average defenseman in the Red Wings prospect pool or a camp invite, I’ll tell you what.

Next we will take a look at defenseman drafted in the past could years, along with a camp invitee who could be signed to an AHL or ECHL contract soon.

Topics: Alexei Merchenko, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Red Wings Development Camp, Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet

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