A large part of Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland’s sterling reputation in the NHL Entry Draft comes from the careers of superstars Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, drafted in the sixth and seventh rounds, respectively. Outside of those two, Jonathan Ericsson (ninth round) and Alexey Marchenko (seventh) have also been late-round picks. Some of Detroit’s current prospects with NHL potential are Axel Holmstrom (seventh) and defenseman James de Haas (sixth), who also waited a while to hear their names called. Forward Adam Marsh is another late-round pick that the Red Wings hope will pan out even half as well as Datsyuk and Zetterberg.
Position: Left Wing
Born: August 22, 1997
Weight: 167 lbs.
Marsh was drafted last summer in the seventh round, 200th overall from the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL. He found his way to Saint John only after a tumultuous time in his life which nearly included giving up on hockey all together. But after a successful initial tryout camp with the Sea Dogs, the hockey part of his life came together in a way that convinced the Red Wings to select him with their seventh-round pick in last year’s entry draft.
The struggles Marsh faced in the 2015-16 had more to do with injuries, which also affected consistency.
Only statistics in the regular season are included because Marsh has yet to play a postseason game in the QMJHL; both seasons of major junior hockey have seen Marsh bow out prematurely because of injuries, despite Saint John’s making the playoffs during both of his seasons with the team. Recovering from injury also prevented Marsh from participating in this year’s Red Wings prospects development camp.
The biggest selling point about Marsh is his offensive capabilities. He’s incredibly raw as a prospect, even now that he’s played another season after being drafted. Despite an injury-shortened season, Marsh nearly averaged a goal every other game in Saint John last season. His quick release and willingness to shoot the puck make him a dangerous offensive force and a reliable goal-scoring threat; Marsh finished third on his team in goal-scoring, despite playing 20 fewer games than leading goal-scorer Sam Povorozniouk (39 goals in 68 games) and 10 fewer games than runner-up Mathieu Joseph (33 goals in 58 games). Marsh’s offensive potential led to scouts projecting him as a middle-round pick before he ultimately fell to Detroit in the last round.
Marsh does have some all-around game deficiencies, especially defensive awareness, but I think his biggest hurdle to overcome is his willingness to throw his weight around. He’s very willing to play a physical game and also stick up for a teammate when needed. While that will get him some attention because of hockey’s grit fetish, it won’t help him get further along once he gets past junior hockey and starts playing against men whose bodies have fully filled out and who have the knowhow to withstand physical play that junior hockey players don’t have. Unless Marsh grows and fills out drastically from his current 6-foot-0, 167-pound frame — not entirely unprecedented since the kid just turned 19 today but still highly unlikely — he’s just going to get hurt even more.
The offensive capabilities are a great thing to see from Marsh, especially for a seventh-round pick. While this coming season should be his last in juniors, he will need to have a big season to prove that he can step up to the professional level. An Anthony Mantha-esque age 19 season would do wonders for him; the Sea Dogs traded Marsh to Mantha’s old junior team, the Val-d’Or Foreurs, for draft picks. If he can stay healthy — unfortunately, a big “if” — Marsh should be able to make a big impact for Val-d’Or this season and possibly vaunt his way up the Red Wings’ prospect depth chart.
Happy birthday, Adam!