Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
The Red Wings’ beat writers penned several first-half-of-the-first-round draft breakdowns on Sunday, with MLive’s Ansar Khan, the Free Press’s Helene St. James and the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan all weighing in regarding what the Wings might do with their 6th overall pick.
Wings player development assistant Daniel Cleary spoke with Kulfan regarding the possibilities, if only briefly…
“There are a lot of players who could be able to step in soon and help teams,” said Dan Cleary, Red Wings’ player development assistant. “There are a lot of talented players available.”
And Kulfan, like his fellow beat writers, believes that the Red Wings will draft a defenseman:
■ Boqvist (5-foot-11, 170-pounds) is a Swedish offensive defenseman who is an elite puck transporter — but obviously brings concerns about lack of size.
■ Dobson (6-foot-3, 180-pounds) has risen the draft charts this season with his skating ability, powerful shot from the point, and sound defensive instincts.
■ Bouchard (6-foot-2, 193-pounds) has size, is another big right-hand shot, and scouts have raved about his leadership qualities.
■ Hughes (5-foot-10, 174-pounds) is another smallish offensive defenseman who some scouts feel is the best pure skater in this draft, and has an outstanding shot.
Coach Jeff Blashill will get an opportunity to see Hughes up close the next few weeks, as the former Wolverines standout is on the Blashill-coached Team USA at the world championships.
The Macomb Daily’s Pat Caputo suggests that the Red Wings need to think differently:
It’d be foolish for the Red Wings to take a so-called offensive defenseman simply because it has been such an obvious need since Nicklas Lidstrom retired. Swedish defenseman Adam Bovqist, although much smaller than Dahlin, is just as skilled. It’s doubtful he will be there sixth overall, though. The Red Wings likely will just miss out on power forwards Brady Tkachuk and Andrei Svechnikov, and super sniper Filip Zadina. Those are clearly the Top 5 players at this stage.
Oliver Wahlstrom, from the USA Development program in Plymouth, is next best forward, and he could be an extraordinary NHL player. He’s very good in tight spaces, possess an excellent shot and enough size. There are several defenseman, who could work, led by Noah Dobson from the Quebec Major Junior League, who has emerged this season – and been noticed by the Red Wings. Dobson will get strong consideration, along with smallish, but extraordinarily-skilled University of Michigan puck moving D-man Quinn Hughes, and Evan Bouchard, who is a bigger defenseman, but with good skill.
The above-mentioned players would often be selected in the Top 5.
My educated guess: The Red Wings’ first pick will come down to Dobson (a right-handed shot with room to grow on a 6-3 frame) or Wahlstrom (he is skilled enough in some years he’d go first overall). It’s understood the dynamic has changed. Undersized, skilled rear guards are at a premium. But that’s today. The game may change tomorrow. If a team grabs a prolific goal scorer or power forward, they can’t go wrong.
Caputo continues, and at this point, I’m admittedly in the “learning” phase of my draft evaluation–simply because there’s been other stuff to cover, like the Griffins and Walleye’s playoff runs–so I’m not exactly as confident as Caputo in my suggestions…
But I hope you aren’t too attached to a specific player, because the Red Wings have a tendency to go off their script.
I was honestly more interested in the “behind the scenes” talk from Sportsnet’s Luke Fox, who attended the draft lottery in Toronto, and was sequestered with team executives:
The second period of the game, while exciting hockey, didn’t chug along at a fast pace. Four goals and nine penalties stretched out the stanza. Anecdotally it was the longest 20 minutes in the history of hockey and Cleary started planning a hypothetical prison break.
“What would happen if I just left?” Cleary joked while sizing up the room. “Would someone tackle me?”
The Newfoundland legend, who’s been dipping nearly the entire time, splits his wintergreen chewing tobacco into a cup then looks back down at the newspaper he has been both reading and doodling on.
Chewing tobacco is a bad habit that seems to linger for some hockey players, and I guess Cleary never kicked the habit.
I’ll see some tins at Little Caesars Arena when I attend the Wings’ summer development camp, and I always want to be a grumpy old man and yell at players half my age for “dipping,” but I hold my tongue.
Anyway, there’s a lot of time to examine the Wings’ options–as well as “what they’ve got”–and St. James did just that with an article posted close to midnight, Monday morning:
The player the Wings select at No. 6 could excel in training camp and make the team as soon as next season. The expectation certainly is that last year’s first-round pick, forward Michael Rasmussen, will make the Wings next season. He has 15 goals and 15 assists in 13 playoff games with his junior team, Tri-City of the Western Hockey League. With his 6-foot-6 and 221-pound body and the way he plays down low, it’s hard to think he won’t improve the power play.
The Wings’ first-round pick from 2016, defenseman Dennis Cholowski, could also push for a spot in Detroit next season, either out of camp or by standing out in Grand Rapids. He joined the Griffins just as they entered the AHL playoffs, and has appeared in one game. (The Griffins face Manitoba in Game 5 of their five-game first round series on Monday night.) Had his junior team been eliminated earlier and Cholowski had been able to sneak into some regular-season games, he’d have had a better shot at elbowing into the playoff lineup.
The Wings’ first-round pick from 2015, forward Evgeny Svechnikov (whose brother, Andrei Svechnikov, is expected to go in the top five this draft) is another possibility for next year’s team.
Bright spots from the 2017-18 season included the play of 2014 first-round pick Dylan Larkin, and two picks from the 2013 draft — first-rounder Anthony Mantha, and second-rounder Tyler Bertuzzi. Larkin, 21, showed tremendous growth at the center position and led the Wings with 63 points. Mantha, 23, scored a team-leading 24 goals. Though he is figuring out how hard he has to play every night to be a factor, he has the potential to score in the 30-goal range. Bertuzzi, 23, would have made the Wings out of last year’s camp had he not been injured, and made himself at home after being called up in December. He added a rejuvenating touch to Henrik Zetterberg’s line and packed 13 points into 20 games after becoming a top-six forward following the trade deadline.
The Wings will make four selections within the first 36 picks during the June 22-23 draft, as they also hold Vegas’ first round pick (which is yet to be determined), Ottawa’s second-round pick (No. 33 overall) and their own second-round pick (No.. 36 overall).
So the conversation will continue for the next month-and-a-half…