Position: RW, Shoots Left Birthday: Jun 24, 2001, Moskva, RUS Age on Draft Day: 17, but turns 18 that week Height/Weight: 6’1”, 190 lbs 2018-19 Stats: MHL; 12 GP, 6G, 2A, VHL; 14 GP, 2G, 3A, KHL; 3 GP, 0 PTS (MHL is a junior league, VHL similar to AHL for the KHL) International: WJC U18; 7 GP, 1G, 3A, WJC U20; 7 GP, 0G, 3A, Hlinka U18; 5GP, 8G, 3A
NHL Central Scouting (EUR Skaters): #2 Future Considerations: #4 Elite Prospects: #3 Hockey Prospects: #3 Bob McKenzie: #3 Corey Pronman: #12, High-end NHL Prospect “Projects as a top-line forward who can play PP1”
Vasili Podkolzin is an interesting prospect because his projection in the 2019 draft can vary quite a bit depending on the source. For much of the season Podkolzin has been ranked just behind the Big 2 of Hughes and Kakko as the clear No. 3 man. For awhile it was a clear distinction between him and the rest of the top prospects just behind him.
But that gap appears to have narrowed as the draft approaches. A lot of that is likely due to Podkolzin playing in a different league than most other prospects. Podkolzin played mostly in Russia’s secondary men’s league in the VHL. As per his stat line listed above he had put up fairly strong numbers in the Russian junior league earning his shot in the men’s league where his numbers won’t blow you away with just 2 goals and 3 assists. But that is playing against men, in what is much more difficult competition for a 17 year old especially compared to what the rest of his draft class has had to face in their opponents.
The only apples to apples comparison is his extensive international resume. Podkolzin produced a mixed bag to be sure playing for Russia in various tournaments. His WJC numbers for the U20 division don’t excite you with 0 goals and 3 assists. Even at the U18’s he scored only once amongst 4 points at the tournament where he should’ve been one of the leading scorers. But in some smaller tournaments like the Hlinka Gretzky and his tour for the World Junior challenge he put up some stellar numbers with a combined 11 goals and 8 assists in 11 total games. Therein lies the challenge with projecting Podkolzin, which of those performances are truer to the player he will become.
Among scouting reports on Podkolzin, one universal trait noted amongst most reports was that he never lacks a high compete and drive level in his play. There’s an old, outdated notion that sometimes Russian players can lack that skill, but Podkolzin certainly does not as he battles hard for loose pucks. His bread and butter is his shot according to most scouting reports. He also has a strong puck handling ability and is physical in maintaining possession of the puck.
Generally speaking Podkolzin has the whole package as far as is skill set goes. His skating received mixed reviews with some indicating he has good top level speed where others indicate he may project to more of an average skater at the NHL level. It seems like where maybe he lacks some fluidity, his motor makes up the difference.
His passing talent received mostly positive reviews with some indicating he had a great ability to thread passes with others noting his passing skill was serviceable but not terrific. Common among reviews of him is he is a player that you always notice on the ice making plays with either a net drive, shot, or making space for himself and that he possesses great leadership.
In terms of if he is a player that fits the Wings at No. 6 spot in draft, he seems like a player with a higher ceiling, but lower floor than others being considered in the 3-10 range of the draft.
Given the scouting reports and some mixed performances, he is a player who could turn into a complete steal because teams got too focused on his production and ignored his top level skill set. There is a strong chance of a Zadina type situation unfolding where a player once commonly projected at No. 3 finds his way out of the Top 5 and giving the Wings a chance at him.
With the stock of players like Turcotte and Byram skyrocketing, Podkolzin has trended slightly in the other direction as of late. Part of that could be his contract situation as his current agreement in the KHL will likely keep him out of North America for at least two years. Most teams picking this high get a little antsy at the idea of waiting that long to see a player at least take part in AHL games.
The Wings, however, are in a position that they can afford to be patient if they think this is a player who possesses game changing ability. Another knock, by no fault of his own, is he is a winger which is the position that carries the least amount of premium with it. At the end of the day while Podkolzin would be a decent pick in the No. 6 spot, if available, for the Wings and he has the type of talent that can make you regret passing on him; there will likely be players available who are more of a sure thing that the management team should lean in that direction.
VASILI PODKOLZIN SCOUTING REPORT - 2019 NHL DRAFT TOP PROSPECT PROFILE - YouTube
The top goalie prospect in the organization is Filip Larsson, a sixth-round pick from 2016. He is expected to compete for the starting job in Grand Rapids next season. The Wings have a chance to add a very good goalie prospect in this draft. Spencer Knight (U.S. National Team Development Program U18) is the top-rated North American goalie, but if he’s not available, the Wings should consider Mads Søgaard. The 6-7 Dane has spent the past two seasons in North America, starring this past season for Medicine Hat in the Western Hockey League, where he had a 2.64 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in 37 games.
I haven’t really thought about Steve Yzerman and the Red Wings drafting a goaltender. No arguments from me if they want to do that with one of their three 2nd round picks. It would be cool if Knight made it to #35. If not, that Søgaard guy sounds good to me. He’s a big dude.
Here’s what Peter and Jay have for you this time (all time locations are without the opening ad):
50 Episodes / 50 Years: (00:00 - 23:35) We start off by each choosing 3 things we would wave a magic wand and change over the last 50 years of hockey.
Stanley Cup Final: (23:35 - 38:00) Boston is playing St. Louis, and many people outside of those markets don’t care as much as normal. We talk about the first two games of the series, and then we discuss a sponsorship that Boston will hopefully come to regret participating in.
Reader Questions: (38:00 - 52:04) We had a couple great reader/listener questions, so we talked about them.
Goalie Goals Team: (52:04 - 1:00:20) We make our best starting lineup featuring goalies who have scored at least one goal in the NHL.
Puck Tales: (1:00:20 - 1:08:15) For our fiftieth episode, we had to bring back a very fun segment we like to call Puck Tales. So if you are wondering what the real reason Patrick Roy demanded a trade from Montreal, you’re in luck!
Thanks and Wrap Up: (1:08:15 - END ) Peter and Jay thank the people who have made the first 50 episodes of this show possible.
If you are using a podcast app, you can find both this podcast and WIIM Radio (our podcast devoted to the Red Wings) in the same channel - Winging it in Motown. As of right now, you can’t find it on Google Play, but an app like Stitcher should work if you use an Android device for your podcast listening.
Here is the link to our merchandise store. You can get Fer Sure t-shirts in a variety of colors and styles, hoodies, notebooks, stickers, and much more. We also recently launched a Facebook page, through which we hope to increase our fan interaction. You can find that here.
As the Detroit Red Wings handicap who to choose with their first selection in the 2019 draft, Caufield stands out for how he could potentially boost the rebuild. He has spent so much time doing wrist curls and other upper body workouts that shooting the puck has become a muscle memory.
Caufield is definitely on the list of players I would like to see Steve Yzerman and the Wings draft. I don’t really care if he’s on the small side. That doesn’t scare me. All the kid does is score goals and a team can never have too many goal scorers. If he’s available at #6 and guys like Alex Turcotte and Bowen Byram are gone, then Caufield should be a legitimate option for Detroit.
Cauf It Up: How can you not pull for Cole Caufield? The diminutive sniper is the best pure goal-scorer in this draft class. He ended the season with 14 goals in a bronze medal effort at the U18s. Every time I saw him in Buffalo, he had a smile on his face. It’s clear he’s well-liked by his teammates. A telling moment was when he was measured for height and checked-in at over 5-foot-7. Upon learning this, he gave a mini fist pump. Always a smile on this young man’s face.
Grand Rapids struggled through an up and down season and at any given time looked like a team capable of finishing in first place or missing the playoffs. Along the way the team stumbled out of the gate, went on a dominant run that brought them with a game of first place, and then skidded into the post season on a nine-game losing streak. Ben Simon’s first season behind the bench showed promise, but also showed some work needs to be done. The defense in particular did not show much improvement and were still making the same mistakes all season.
After a disappointing first round playoff defeat, the inevitable changes will be coming. Several key players have crossed the veteran threshold which means some of them will have to move on. A goaltending upgrade is also on the horizon as the disappointing Harri Sateri moves on to the KHL and prospect Filip Larsson enters the picture.
These are the Griffins’ second half grades:
The Rating Scale:
A - Excellence
B - Above Average play - Exceeds Expectations
C - Baseline - Meets Expectations
D - Below Average play - Does not meet expectations
The Griffins best player down the stretch, Megan led the team in scoring in the second half, posting 15 goals and 27 points in the 31 games he played. The offense was only part of the story, however as the veteran forward plays such a complete game, that even when he isn’t scoring, he is winning battles and paying a physical game. His feisty, aggressive game was a big addition to the Griffins after spending a large chunk of the first half in Detroit, and his work ethic made him a great role model for linemate Filip Zadina. Detroit will have to make some tough decisions among the veterans, as Megan is an unrestricted free agent, and brings a different element than one dimensional snipers like Terry or Puempel.
The Griffins secretary of defense, Lashoff was rewarded by the parent club with a two-year extension and a recall to the NHL. Veteran leader remains one of the best defensive defensemen in the AHL and has a knack for slowing the game down. An injury early in the playoffs proved quite a blow for the Griffins as Lashoff was a key, using his size and reach to give the Wolves fits. Next season the rugged defender will return to Grand Rapids to continue his climb up the AHL longevity records.
The Griffins Mr. Hustle, Campbell uses his considerable talents to fuel his defensive game, and his physical gifts to make it hard to play against him. He is a good skater with very good vision and anticipation, breaking up rushes and stripping away the puck to start his own counter-attacks. He is stocky, solid physically, and hits like a freight train, so opposing players need to keep their heads up when he is on the ice. You know what you are going to get from him every night in terms of effort and execution, and he is easily one of the best penalty killers in the AHL showing terrific chemistry with Dom Turgeon. The future is cloudy for â€˜Soupy’ as he has crossed the games played threshold to be considered a veteran and there may not be an available spot for the unrestricted free agent. His departure would leave a huge hole in the lineup, so hopefully the team will find a way to re-sign him.
After a terrific first half, Hronek graduated to the NHL, quarterbacking the powerplay and playing over 20 minutes a night on the top pairing. He ended up back with the Griffins after the parent club’s season ended. He looked like he was playing at a different level in the AHL, showing off a high level of confidence and skill and imposing his will with the puck. The only black mark is that he plays so close to the edge, that occasionally he crosses the line and takes a bad penalty because of his aggressiveness. The playoffs were his swan song in the AHL, and he has graduated to the NHL.
A solid, two-way defender, Chelios saw a lot of minutes at even strength and shorthanded and was a solid presence on the Griffins blueline. Not the biggest of blueliners, he plays a snarly, gritty game and will battle for every inch of ice. His offensive game has been quiet until just the last stretch, but he does make a great first pass and knows how to get the puck on net, low and with good velocity. His true gift is in how he sees the ice and anticipates plays to break them up, playing defense with a forward’s vision. He was rewarded with his first NHL recall, playing five games with Detroit. Knowing he would be squeezed out as another veteran on a crowded blueline, Chelios opted to try his luck in the KHL next season.
Frk returned to Griffins after languishing in the press box in Detroit for most of the season and played like he had something to prove. He immediately became on offensive catalyst for the team and showed some terrific chemistry with Filip Zadina. While Frk’s chief weapon remains his blistering shot, it was evident how much he has improved the other areas of his game, including his skating, passing and defensive awareness. The Griffins powerplay saw a big uptick in the games he played in and he averaged a point per game down the stretch and into the playoffs. Frk’s career is at a crossroads, a restricted free agent, he will have to wait and see if Detroit makes him a qualifying offer to know whether he is returning.
McIlrath had another steady but unspectacular second half for the Griffins, providing an unmatched physical presence and a steady shutdown defensive presence. His strong play also led to his first recall by the parent Wings, playing in 7 contests with a +2 defensive rating. Dylan is one of the AHL’s nuclear deterrent in that his presence keeps things calm on the ice, because few players want to drop the gloves with the punishing enforcer. His leadership cannot be overstated as it is apparent on the bench and in-game how the other players look to him for advice and approval. His value to the organization was recognized with a two-year contract extension, meaning he should be back patrolling the Griffins blueline and available to help in the NHL should the need arise.
Made a name for himself in the first half combining with Chris Terry and producing timely offense. The second half of the season his effectiveness seemed to decline as time went on. Camper does a lot of little things well and is deadly on the powerplay with his ability to thread passes through traffic. Not the swiftest of skaters, that facet seemed to stand out at times during the season with the speedsters that played for the Griffins, as he looked slow. He also was just not big enough to fight through checks and during the late season grind that seemed to catch up to him. Camper will likely move on to another team next season as an unrestricted free agent as the veteran numbers game squeezes him out.
Rybar continued to be a bright spot between the posts for the Griffins over the second-half, playing much stronger than his rookie status would suggest. The freshman puck stopper was among the league leaders all season, sitting in the top five in goals against average until a late season slump where things went off the rails for the whole team. His poised, confident style has served him well, as he seems to be in position to make the stop is and very economical in his movement. Not sure what his top end is yet, but he has likely earned another contract and should battle for the starters job in Grand Rapids next season.
Grinding forward had a career first half and earned a two-way contract with Detroit. For the second straight season, Elson suffered an injury and had a hard time finding the same level when he returned. He finished strong and was the leading scorer during the teams brief post-season run. Established career highs in offensive totals. Could be in the mix for a look during training camp, but if he returns, he will command one of the Griffins veteran spots. Another year remaining on his contract.
After a lackluster first half, Smith raised the level of his game over the second half and was a force during the post-season. The numbers won’t show the impact he had on the game, but he showed signs of putting it all together as the season went along. He is a physical specimen with size and soft hands, able to impart his will and skill on the play when he chooses to. He can steal the puck and cut towards the net, and very few players can stop him on the way there. If he continues to play at this level, the points will come. The biggest thing the physical forward needs to continue working on is keeping his temper in check and not taking bad penalties. He should play a bigger role with the Griffins next season.
Stuck in neutral for a large part of the season, and unable to earn a full-time spot in the lineup. Poor decision making at both ends of the ice and lack of intensity cost him. Injuries and recalls gave him another shot late in the season and he did play better in spurts especially defensively. Great pace and motor, running out of time and opportunity to establish himself. Finished +16 in the second half to lead the team at +19. Saarijarvi has one more year left on his entry-level contract and should establish himself in the top 6 in Grand Rapids.
Turgeon worked his way back from a season ending medical condition during the first half and re-established himself as a top defensive center and penalty killer during the second. The one component of his game that has not come back yet was the offensive touch he showed last season. At one point in the second half, Turgeon had 1 goal in 25 games, which for a player that saw the ice as much as he did, is not enough. He remains solid in the faceoff circle and has had a permanent spot on the top penalty killing unit with Campbell in addition to his normal duties centering the 2nd or 3rd lines. An unrestricted free agent, Turgeon has seen time in Detroit the last two seasons and is a lock to be qualified.
After a rough first half, Sateri showed improvement over the second half but was still maddeningly inconsistent. For a player that was supposed to give the organization a push as a strong #3, Sateri finished 30th in goals against average and with a sub 90% save percentage. When he was on top of his game, he was capable of some impressive performances, but we just didn’t see that enough from him. A scrambling netminder, he needs to work on being in position better to the shooter as his excessive movement appears to be an issue at this point. It was no surprise to see that he was not returning next year, having signed a contract in the KHL.
The streaky sniper managed to post respectable totals over the second half but was not as dangerous as he had been earlier in the year. Particularly troubling was his lack of effectiveness on the Griffins malfunctioning powerplay, normally a strength of his game. He got hot in early March and earned a recall to the NHL, scoring a goal in 8 games for Detroit. Under contract for another season, Puempel should return to the Griffins and score his usual 20+ goals in a secondary role. He needs to add another dimension to his game to become more of an impact player, but when he is hot, he can score goals.
The veteran forward battled through injury problems in the second half and the team suffered without him in the lineup. While his offensive game never came on line, he was a defensively responsible grinder, providing energy while centering Givani Smith and Dominik Shine on a formidable checking line. Hulak has a veteran’s composure but is still under the 260-game mark and won’t take one of the team’s veteran slots. An unrestricted free agent, it remains to be seen whether he will return next season, but he remains a viable option in the bottom six.
The captain was out of the lineup for most of the second half and the postseason due to an injury and was not as effective when he was in the lineup. Ford continues to provide leadership and is an example to the younger players but is looking like age and injuries are starting to catch up to him. The veteran winger has one more year left on his contract and has made a career out of hard work and battling through adversity. The organization is counting on a bounce back season from this special-teams ace.
The second half of the season was very similar to the first half for the gifted freshman sniper. He was effective at times and scored some pretty goals, they were just few and far between. He seemed to improve defensively down the stretch and earned a brief NHL recall with the parent Wings. 16 goals and 19 assists in 59 games is a 20-goal pace, which is a decent total. Had a big game in the post-season and should come back next year stronger and ready to challenge for a spot at the big camp.
A battler, Hicketts never gives up, and has overcome a lack of size to make it to this level. But for the second straight year, he has been too inconsistent, with just too many nights you don’t notice him. He Picked it up down the stretch a bit but took some terrible penalties that cost the team as he lost control several times. Despite spending some time in Detroit, Hicketts is in danger of being passed over by other prospects. The fan favorite restricted free agent is expected to be given a qualifying offer to return again.
A buzz saw on skates, Shine does everything at full speed, flying around the ice hitting anything in an opposing sweater. Capable of playing anywhere in the lineup and nearly any role, Shine was a staple on the penalty kill and also played much bigger than his size. He has soft hands and is capable of much more offense than he generated in the second half, which was the one area of concern. An unrestricted free agent, Shine remains a responsible role player and could return for another season in GR.
You never knew which Sulak would show up. At his best - world-class skating and the ability to move the puck up ice at will combined with a long reach and physical play. At his worst - hesitant, poor decision making and lack of physical play despite huge frame. The hulking blueliner’s offense came in spurts and his defensive play seemed to improve at the end. An RFA, Sulak appears unlikely to return and comments from the organization indicate they feel he could not adapt to defense at the NHL level.
Vying for the league lead in goals over the first half, Terry fell hard during the second, posting only 2 goals in his last 15 games and 6 in his last 30. Once the scoring dried up, he was a shell of his former self, and teams would not even bite on him being used as a decoy on the powerplay. The lone bright spot for Terry was his season high five-point game, which came in the midst of a nine-game scoring slump. Signed for next season, the Griffins hope that Terry can regain his touch, as the former AHL scoring star will be counted on to provide offense.
After starting the season in the NHL and sticking for the first half of the season, the second half was a disappointing one for the former first round draft pick. In the AHL his first game appeared to be his best, and he went downhill from there, becoming less and less assertive as time went on. He became less inclined to use his big point shot, and when leading the breakout, he displayed a habit of passing behind him when he reached the line instead of carrying in. Confidence was clearly the issue, and how the young defender regroups over the offseason will go a long way towards determining his future. He is penciled in to battle for an NHL job in training camp, but it would not be surprising if he began the year in the AHL.
Never took a step forward in his development and as people came back from injury and recall found himself on the outside looking in. Two-way forward never gained traction offensively and did not appear to have the footspeed needed. A restricted free agent, Holmstrom has already signed for next year with a team in Sweden, likely ending his NHL dreams.
The rookie winger was in and out of the lineup in the first half without much of an impact. The second half saw time in the press box before a late season assignment to Toledo (ECHL). Pope needs more urgency and intensity to gain a lineup spot in the AHL, and as an older prospect has his work cut out for him. For a guy that was rumored to be in the hunt for a slot with the Wings in camp, Pope did not have the season he wanted.
Played well enough in an audition at the end of the season to earn a regular spot in the lineup. He played a physical in-your-face game, throwing some brutal open-ice hits and taking punishment to make plays in front of the net. He ended up returning to college to finish a class which cost him a spot in the playoff lineup.
The Eagles, who left the league to become the American Hockey League affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche after last season, neglected to return the Kelly Cup to the ECHL, according to Patrick J. Kelly, commissioner emeritus and the trophy’s namesake.
”I don’t know if I should say this or not, but Colorado kept the trophy, if you can believe it,” said Kelly, speaking on AM 1230 in Toledo this week. “They still have it. This is a new trophy. They won the Cup two years in a row, and their owner just said, ‘We’re going to keep it.’”
What’s more interesting is who Steve Yzerman and the Red Wings are apparently not watching. One player missing from this article is Vasili Podkoldzin. He was the hot name a few weeks back and things seem to have quieted down. Maybe it’s a smoke screen?
But in the AHL, Zadina showed great promise, and while he didn’t light up the league and was essentially invisible at the world juniors, Zadina still looks ready for the NHL next year. With 35 points in 59 games, Zadina was the second-highest scoring teenaged player in the AHL and he looked good with three points in nine games with the Red Wings, one of the first teams eliminated from playoff contention. He has the skill, now he needs a consistent pace.
A reminder that the combine is going on with some good quotes from Ryan Martin on the Wings’ approach and a small taste of the guys we’ve been talking about for the last few weeks. As a reminder, DrDangles wrote up a great idea on what else should be going on during the combine.
Speaking of the combine, I feel when you’re a consensus top-two pick there’s absolutely nothing useful to be gained from showing up to the combine, especially when you’ve got a World Championship gold to celebrate in your home country. Go ahead and let him fall for it; I dare you.
St. Louis’ Oskar Sundqvist has been suspended for one game for Boarding Boston’s Matt Grzelcyk. https://t.co/2W0ZLnn9fI