Wings' prospects on the move
And that all added up to good news for the Red Wings as an organization.
"Pressure situations, winning environments … that's what you want," said Detroit vice president and assistant general manager Jim Nill. "You're playing against the best in the world in high-pressure situations. It's the best type of development you can get."
On Sunday, forward Jan Mursak, ranked sixth among Detroit prospects by redwingscentral.com, was traded in the Ontario Hockey League, going from Saginaw to Belleville. The trade does not affect Mursak's status with the Red Wings. He has a contract with Detroit through 2011.
In Belleville, Mursak will be a teammate of former Detroit draft pick Shawn Matthias, whose rights were traded last March to Florida for Todd Bertuzzi.
Four days before Mursak was traded, forward Cory Emmerton ranked fourth among Detroit prospects, was sent from Kingston to Brampton for five draft picks and two players.
Both Mursak and Emmerton improved their chances of participating in OHL playoffs and Memorial Cup with their moves and that pleases Red Wing management.
"They're going to good teams," said Nill. "Both of their teams were not going to make the playoffs. So teams are trying to build themselves up for the playoffs so they're going after some of the better players who are available. Emmerton went for five draft picks and two players. That's a big, big trade. It shows that they're valuable players."
Emmerton was originally selected by Kingston in the fifth round of the OHL draft. He brought two second-rounders, one third-rounder, a fifth-rounder and a sixth-rounder back to Kingston in the trade in addition to two players.
Emmerton is currently in Calgary along with two other Detroit prospects -- defensemen Logan Pyett (Regina) and Brendan Smith (University of Wisconsin freshman) -- as part of 37 players trying to make the 22-man Team Canada roster for the World Junior Championships held later this month in the Czech Republic. Smith, the Red Wings' top draft pick this summer, is ranked fifth among Detroit prospects by redwingscentral.com. Pyett is ranked 13th.
Emmerton is well positioned, starting camp on a line with the top two scorers in the OHL, Oshawa teammates John Tavares and Brett MacLean.
Pyett has an advantage in that he (along with Emmerton) played for Canada in the spring in a junior challenge series against Russia.
Another Detroit prospect, forward Joakim Andersson (ranked 12th in the organization and the team's second draft pick this summer), has already made the Swedish roster for that tournament.
Mursak is on his way to Latvia to play in the World Junior Championships B tournament for Slovenia.
In addition, Daniel Larsson (goalie ranked 17th among Detroit prospects) and Anton Axelsson (forward ranked 20th) were named to Sweden's entry in the Channel One Cup in Russia. Another Detroit prospect, defenseman Miroslav Blatak will play for the Czech Republic in that tournament.