The Detroit Red Wings are primed for a push at the playoffs and they have a deep roster to do so. However, is this deep roster preventing one, or more, of its best prospects from earning a spot full-time?
Roster depth is good to have in most cases, while in others it prevents players from gaining valuable experience.
While he would play one NHL game that season, he was injured in that game, which did not sit well with him as he was eager to play better and recover in time to play another game in Detroit.
Marco Kasper is a Detroit Red Wings prospect looking to make it
This season for the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League (AHL), he has six goals and 14 assists for 20 points in 40 games. He is not putting up elite numbers but he has been consistent in his play and is putting up a point every other game.
The Detroit roster has been playing well, and with Patrick Kane expected back any game, Kasper is still hopeful to earn a call-up and show the Red Wings faithful that he is still capable of playing, and producing, for the franchise.
At 6-foot-1 and 192 pounds, he has the size, and versatility, to play any forward position in the lineup. A natural center, he can switch to either wing position and be as successful, bringing an energetic and physical style to the lineup.
He may even squeeze onto the team as a 13th forward, even though that would not be the best for his development.
While the hopes of him being a dominant NHL forward are on pause right now with the roster that Detroit has, he still has a bright future ahead of him. He has the potential to eventually play a second-center role behind captain Dylan Larkin if given the opportunity.
The only thing that will put him further behind in his development is if General Manager Steve Yzerman brings in more veteran players this off-season.
Kasper, and Jonatan Berggren, are both capable of playing in the lineup as we speak but have to take a back seat due to the lack of open positions at forward.
It is hard to say if he will get a call-up this season or not but he deserves at least a look or two before the season ends. A draft pick that was chosen that high with enormous potential should not sit in the AHL because there are no spots.
Detroit has said time and time again that they want to get younger and, at some point, want their prospects to slowly come on board as they develop. These prospects get the call to Detroit, play one game, and get sent back down.
This is not the way to develop your young stars. At some point, Detroit will have to graduate these players or send them to an organization in a trade, which would not only be a waste of a draft pick, but a waste of incredible young talent.