Kolosov adds Olympics to impressive resume

On a long-term scale, the shelf life of a prospect is pretty short. There aren't many prospects from 2004 that are still actually considered "prospects." Many have either already moved on to professional hockey or are back in Europe, looking in on the NHL picture.

Some prospects, though, are just late bloomers. The Red Wings are hoping that defenseman Sergei Kolosov is just one of those prospects. Kolosov took an unusual track to where he is today. Detroit drafted him in the 5th round out the top men's hockey league in Belarus -- not a common league for producing NHL draft picks. Many of Belarus' top players choose to play in either Russia, or to come to America and play major junior hockey.

That was the plan for Kolosov. He was drafted by the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League -- a good league for a 6'4 defenseman, as the "western farm boy" stereotype definitely applies in the WHL, where forwards are a little bigger and stronger. However, visa issues held Kolosov out of that league, and he spent one more in Belarus. The following season, Prince George no longer had room for him on the roster (teams are only allowed to hold the rights to two European players), so Kolosov was forced to play in the USHL -- a slight step down from major junior hockey.

He spent the next two seasons with Cedar Rapids, scoring 21 points in 101 games. Detroit had hoped for Kolosov to maybe play for an ECHL team, but he elected to go back to Belarus for one more year. Detroit had to make the decision as to whether or not to sign him after that season, and they actually didn't -- for a few days, he was an unrestricted free agent.

Kolosov's chance came courtesy of the new Grand Rapids Griffins coach, Curt Fraser. Fraser was the former coach of the Atlanta Thrashers, and his path once out of the NHL took him to Belarus where he coached the national team in the World Championships. Fraser recommended to Detroit that they sign Kolosov, so they did, to a two-year deal. After a short adjustment period, Kolosov found a niche as the team's top defensive defenseman who can be counted on to clear the net and kill penalties. Many have compared his game to Andreas Lilja, but a look at Kolosov's PIMs shows that he is a little more able to stay out of the box, while still being physical.

Kolosov had a rare experience for a prospect recently, representing Belarus in the Olympics. This was a good experience to get a look at Kolosov against real NHL competition, even though Belarus was a little outmatched against the more NHL-heavy opponents. Despite being drafted in 2004, Kolosov is still just 23, and there's still a very good chance that he can make an NHL impact some day.

After the jump, we've got Casey Richey's interview with Kolosov where he talks about being an Olympian, his development path, and a little more -- and the statistical report, as usual.

WIM: You just returned from the Olympics, can you talk to us about that experience and what it meant to play against some of the best players in the world?

KOLOSOV: I thought it was big experience. I played against a lot of NHL players. I think that’s good experience for me, especially because I haven’t played in the NHL, so I can see how a lot of the players play in the NHL. I think it’s a big experience for me.

WIM: What do you feel you need to work on to play in the NHL?

KOLOSOV: I need to improve my physical game. A little bit on skating, and probably passes. I think that’s it.

WIM: What were some of the reasons you decided to play in the USHL? How did that help with your development?

KOLOSOV: The USHL did a lot of good in those couple of years. I had a tough time there, especially when I didn’t speak English my first time in the United States. I learned English there, and I learned how to live here. It helped me a lot.

WIM: Did Detroit want you to play in the WHL?

KOLOSOV: Yeah, I was drafted in the WHL by Prince George. I didn’t come. I picked to stay in Belarus for one more year. When I came back to the US, the WHL had already drafted two guys [two imports]. I took a chance on the USHL, so I went there.

WIM: Why did you choose to play in the Belarussian league before Grand Rapids, and how does that compare to the AHL?

KOLOSOV: It’s hard to tell, because there’s a lot of differences in the hockey. The arenas here are smaller, like the ice, and Belarus uses bigger ice, so there’s different hockey. You see how the Olympic teams play. I don’t know, it’s different. It’s hard to tell.

WIM: What role did Curt Fraser play in you earning a contract from Detroit?

KOLOSOV: He was the head coach of the national team in Belarus. It’s pretty crazy that he ended up in Grand Rapids because he coached in the World Championships. He told me to try a couple years here.

Since there was no Friday Prospects last week (I had Olympic fever, in addition to other fever that left me without the will to do any work).

American Hockey League

# Name Team GP G A P +/- PIM Last week Notes
3 Logan Pyett Grand Rapids 63 8 18 26 +3 27
1G, 3A, -3, 2PIM in 7GP
4 Travis Ehrhardt Grand Rapids 37 0 5 5 -10 32 -1 in 3GP
5 Jakub Kindl Grand Rapids 56 3 21 24 -9 53 4A, 8PIM in 7GP
7 Sebastien Piche Grand Rapids 9 0 0 0 -1 4 Playing in Toledo (ECHL)
8 Cory Emmerton Grand Rapids 60 9 19 28
-1 16 1G, 2A, -5 in 7GP
9 Evan McGrath Grand Rapids 56 8
11 19 -18 25 -4 in 4GP Healthy scratch a few times
12 Dick Axelsson Grand Rapids 17 2 3 5 +1 6 Playing in Farjestad (SEL)
13 Jan Mursak Grand Rapids 62 20 12 32 +10 38 1G, 1A, -1, 10PIM in 7GP
17 Francis Pare Grand Rapids 61 13 18 31 +16 12
2G, 3A, -2 in 7GP
18 Mattias Ritola Grand Rapids 56 15 16 31 -6 46 2G, 4A, 2PIM in 7GP Best two weeks of any Griffin
25 Jamie Tardif Grand Rapids 61 13 11 24 -12 65 2G, 3A, -3 in 7GP
27 Tomas Tatar Grand Rapids 47 13 14 27 +8 10 2G, 2A, +2, 4PIM in 7GP
28 Sergei Kolosov Grand Rapids 49
1 3 4 -8 17 -2 in 4GP Returned from Olympics
31 Daniel Larsson Grand Rapids 41 17 20 1 2.95
.902 1-2, GAA up, sv% down
35 Thomas McCollum Grand Rapids 26 7 14
1 3.61 .874 0-3-1, GAA up, sv% down Hasn't won since Dec.13
36 Jordan Pearce Grand Rapids 5 1 2 0 3.82 .875
Playing in Toledo (ECHL)


ECHL

# Name Team GP G A PTS +/- PIM Last Week Notes
20 Travis Ehrhardt Toledo 3 1 1 2 +4 0 Playing in Grand Rapids
25 Sebastien Piche Toledo 34 5 16 21 +4 44 1A, -2, 6PIM in 4GP
30 Thomas McCollum Toledo 4 2 1 0 4.48 .864
Playing in Grand Rapids
35 Jordan Pearce Toledo 28 11 13 1 3.68 .889 0-1, GAA up, sv% down


NCAA

# Name Team GP G A PTS PIM Last Week Notes
7 Brendan Smith Wisconsin 32 15 25 40 56 2G, 2A, 8PIM in 3GP Only D in NCAA top 50 scoring
7 Max Nicastro Boston U. 32 3 12 15 26 2A in 3GP 9 pts since the new year.
16 Nick Oslund St. Cloud St. 34 4 5 9 22
2PIM in 1GP
81 Julien Cayer Clarkson 22
2 3 5 16
DNP
Injured
89 Bryan Rufenach Clarkson 31 5 13 18 47 1A in 3GP
89 Gustav Nyquist Maine 32 17 37 54 14 2G, 5A in 3GP

Leads nation in scoring by 4 points (1.69 Pts/gm)


Swedish Eliteserien

# Name Team GP G A PTS +/- PIM Last Week Notes
31 Dick Axelsson Farjestad 11 5 4 9 +2
20 1G, 12 PIM in 2GP
16 Anton Axelsson Timra 47
5 6 11 -19 6 -3 in 3GP
18 Joakim Andersson Frolunda 51 5 12 17 +8 40 3GP
24 Jesper Samuelsson Timra 23 0 1 1 +0 8
Playing in SWE-2
28 Adam Almqvist HV71 24 2 6 8 +11 10
DTD (knee)


Swedish Allsvenskan

# Name Team GP G A PTS +/- PIM Last Week Notes
3 Jesper Samuelsson Sundsvall 35 3 13 16
-12 36 1G, 30PIM in 4GP

16 Johan Ryno AIK 45 9 11 20 +7 30 3G, 1A, +4 in 4PIM
-- Adam Almqvist Troja/Ljungby 0 0 0 0 0 0 Playing with HV71 (SEL)


Swedish J20 League

# Name Team GP G A PTS +/- PIM Last Week Notes
4 Adam Almqvist HV71 15 5 29 34 +14 14 Playing with HV71 (SEL)


Kontinental Hockey League

# Name Team GP G A PTS +/- PIM Last Week Notes
21 Gennady Stolyarov HC MVD 0 0 0 0 0 0
Off IR, but not playing yet
26 Jiri Hudler Moscow Dynamo 51 19 32 51 16 2G, 1A, 2PIM in 3GP


Ontario Hockey League

# Name Team GP G A PTS +/- PIM Last Week Notes
10 Stephen Johnston Windsor 14 4 4 8 -1 17 1G, 1A, 9PIM in 5GP
11 Stephen Johnston Belleville 18
6
4
10
-3
16

Traded to Windsor
18 Brian Lashoff Kingston 52 6 20 26 -6 67 3A, +6 in 4GP


Western Hockey League

# Name Team GP G A PTS +/- PIM Last Week Notes
9 Brent Raedeke Edmonton 39 17 14 31 +4 60 Traded to Brandon
9 Brent Raedeke Brandon 28 5 15
20 +9 31 1A, +2, 4PIM in 5GP

13 Landon Ferraro Red Deer 47 15
28 43 -8 49 1G, 2A, -1, 2PIM in 5GP

19 Willie Coetzee Red Deer 66 28 50 78 +11 30 3G, 1A, +3 in 5GP Best +/- on team
24 Mitchell Callahan Kelowna 67 19 27 46 -1 156 1A, 17PIM



Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

# Name Team GP G A PTS +/- PIM Last Week Notes
11 Andrej Nestrasil Victoriaville 46 15 29 44 -2 34 1G, -1, 2PIM in 4GP
14 Gleason Fournier Rimouski 54 12 36 48 +3 72 1G, 4A, +2, 2PIM in 5GP


United States Hockey League

# Name Team GP G A PTS +/- PIM Last Week Notes
6 Nick Jensen Green Bay 42 5 16 21 +24 33 3G, 1A, 2PIM in 4GP USHL Defenseman of the Week
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