Friday, June 1, 2007

Red Wings Sign Swedish Prospect Ritola

The Wings have some decisions to make regarding their list of prospects. Today, that list got a little shorter. The Red Wings signed Swedish forward Mattias Ritola to a three-year entry-level contract. Ritola was drafted by Detroit 103rd overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Matthew Wuest from has a nice summary on Ritola:

The 6-foot, 198-pound right-winger is one of 10 prospects the Red Wings
must sign or relinquish the rights to on Friday.

Ritola, 20, spent most of this season with Leksands at Sweden's second level, recording a goal and four assists in 23 games. He is known for his offensive ability but criticized for his inconsistency. He is expected to come to training camp in the fall but could spend another year developing in Sweden, depending on how things go.

Hockey's Future ranked Ritola 17th out of 20 for the Red Wings Top Prospects. They give him a 6.0 and a D on their grading scale. A 6.0 is the grade they give to a player they project to be a third line player, similar to Kris Draper. A "D" letter grade, according to Hockey Future's system, is for a player who has a chance to reach his potential but is unlikely to do so. The potential rating is multiplied by 70 percent for depth chart purposes, indicating that the player’s potential is extremely fluid.

Here's Hockey Future's analysis on Ritola:

Talent Analysis: Some have questioned Ritola’s attitude, while others have
stated the opposite. What is certain is that Ritola is a creative player with
soft hands, good hockey sense and good penalty-killing skills. His scoring touch
could use some improvement, though

Future: Ritola has been a huge disappointment in all kinds of ways. Drafted
as highly-skilled player who could be a future top 6 forward, he has been
bouncing around in the lower divisions in Sweden.Ritola has to find a steady
home where he can develop his game and mature at the same time. That has been a
big question for him so far. He doesn’t seem to have the mental strength to
learn how to use his talent on the ice. Ritola has natural ability, but somehow
that disappears many times on the ice and he seems lost. He could be a potential
signing in the offseason, but it remains to be seen if the Red Wings are willing
to gamble on him.

Here are Ritola's stats for the last two seasons in Sweden:

Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM
2005-06 Leksands IF SEL 30 0 3 3 10
2006-07 Arboga IFK Swe-1 3 1 0 1 2
2006-07 Leksands IF Swe-1 23 1 4 5 4

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