Detroit News top 20 Red Wings prospects

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Go through the gallery above to view The Detroit News’ top 20 Detroit Red Wings prospects for 2018. Click here if you’re having trouble viewing the gallery.

Detroit — General manager Ken Holland has been direct with the message for a long time now, and especially after a second consecutive season of the Red Wings missing the playoffs.

Center Michael Rasmussen was the Detroit Red Wings' first-round draft pick in 2017, selected No. 9 overall.

It’s time to go with the young players.

It’s time for the Wings’ organization to play the youngsters, don’t leave them in the minor leagues for too long, and to see what they can do at the NHL level.

Make the young players earn their promotion to the NHL, to be sure, but give them that opportunity.

The rebuild is on.

“The theme going forward is the future, it’s rebuild, it’s young kids,” Holland said. “

It’s probably never been a better time to be a prospect in the Wings’ organization over the past two decades.

If a young player shows the ability, work ethic and determination, he’s likely to find his way onto the Wings’ roster.

More roster spots will be available, as the Wings’ watch contracts on established veterans expire over the next few seasons — meaning more spots for draft picks.

“I’m hoping and expecting that two, maybe four or five kids, between the ages of 19 and 22 are on the roster next year that weren’t won the team (this season),” Holland said. “I want to get those young people onto the roster when they can help us be competitive.”

With the organization’s young players never more important, here’s a look at the the Red Wings’ top 20 prospects.