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
|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)
|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|
|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|
|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)
||20||1G, 12 PIM in 2GP|
||5||6||11||-19||6||-3 in 3GP|
|24||Jesper Samuelsson||Timra||23||0||1||1||+0||8||Playing in SWE-2
||-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
|4||Adam Almqvist||HV71||15||5||29||34||+14||14||Playing with HV71 (SEL)|
Kontinental Hockey League
|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
|10||Stephen Johnston||Windsor||14||4||4||8||-1||17||1G, 1A, 9PIM in 5GP|
||Traded to Windsor
|18||Brian Lashoff||Kingston||52||6||20||26||-6||67||3A, +6 in 4GP|
Western Hockey League
|9||Brent Raedeke||Edmonton||39||17||14||31||+4||60||Traded to Brandon|
||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
|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
|6||Nick Jensen||Green Bay||42||5||16||21||+24||33||3G, 1A, 2PIM in 4GP||USHL Defenseman of the Week|