Custance: Wings considering their annual move-down in the first round of the draft

According to The Athletic’s Craig Custance, Red Wings GM Ken Holland is working hard at the NHL’s “Scouting Combine” in Buffalo, meeting-and-greeting both prospects and the agents for Mike Green, Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou.

Custance also reports that the Red Wings are considering–as they do every year, it seems–moving down from the #6 spot and/or packaging their other 1st round pick and early 2nd round pick to end up with 2 middle-of-the-draft first-round picks:

It makes Holland and the Red Wings one of the best candidates for a draft-day move up or down early on. Holland said those seeds are starting to be planted now.

“I’ve started to talk to some teams about a lot,” Holland told The Athletic. “As you work your way towards (host) Dallas at the draft, draft movement possibilities — I think at this stage in the game, everybody is kicking tires as to what might be out there.”

The conclusion?

“I’m open to possibly move,” Holland said.

Custance continues at length (paywall), confirming that Todd Nelson will leave the organization to become an assistant coach with the Dallas Stars, updating the Wings’ assistant coaching search and confirming that Xavier Ouellet will not be a Red Wing next season.

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

22 thoughts on “Custance: Wings considering their annual move-down in the first round of the draft”

  1. Moving down this year worries me. Moving up you might get the same quality as if you didn’t move.

    The whole draft this year makes me feel uneasy, not sure why.

    To be Honest , I will be happy when it is over, still lack a lot of confidence with KH and his group..hope it goes well

    1. Same here, I don’t really see the need for it. I’m also worried about them going off the board as well. I do agree with Steve though, sounds like KH is doing what he should be doing and that’s talking to other teams with a lot frequency.

      1. Talking is not action. If a deal moving back is worth it then it should be considered. I would wager if KH moves the pick it will be when he is on the clock for that pick or just moments before it. How the top 5 picks are going to go isn’t exactly set in stone beyond the #1 pick. For what it’w worth there are some mock drafts that have Zanina at #6. If KH has a guy in mind and he thinks that guy will be around at a later pick then I bet he considers a move back (up) in the draft. That should take a hefty price from another team.

  2. The title suggests a move-down but then it also suggests a move up or some sort of combination of the two. It sounds to me like Kenny is doing what we should expect of him at this point…talking to a lot of people and open to anything that could put them in a better position at the draft.

  3. This makes me nervous. They cannot afford to screw up this year’s draft.

  4. Could be a deal with NYI who pick #11 and #12. So #6 and #30 for #11 and #12. Moving up and down at the sometime. I think it’s stupid. But they will justify it saying…we really, really liked Player X but we knew we could get him at #11 so this was a chance to jump up and grab another high pick. Maybe they think Kotkaneimi is there at #11. Or maybe they are going off the board and think Farabee is better than all the other D at #6. Scary.

    1. So you create the scenario and then criticize it as if someone in the Wings organization said it.

      1. I totally agree Steve. This was a useless comment which kind of makes it a non-hockey comment.

      2. The entire article is speculation. I just identified a viable trade partner, added names to it, and shared my opinion that trading down was a bad idea. Other posters have said “they were uneasy, nervous, they lack confidence in Kenny, worried about going off the board, etc…”

        Why not respond to all of them for being negative about a made-up scenario? Instead it’s always me? But OK. Sorry if my post was so awful…

  5. I’m maaaaaaaybe willing to listen to moving down if it’s only a spot or two if it nets a nice return and we can still get one of the top 5-6 guys. Otherwise, it’s a big NO. Use the damned high pick!

    1. Agreed. If you are at #6 and you have 3 guys still on the board, then fine, move back 2-3 spots. But so many have said this draft has a very solid top 9. Then things fall off at 10. So don’t try to outsmart everyone else thinking you can get a guy at 11 or 12 that “should” have been in the top 5. We’ve seen this fail. Many times. Make your pick at #6. If you want to take your cluster of picks at 30-36 and move them to get back into the 15-20 range, sure, go for it. We have quantity. We need quality.

  6. The weeks leading up to the draft are filled with misdirections and flat out lies. Take everything you hear from NHL insiders and general managers with a grain of salt.

    That said, I would hate to see them trade down. However, I have no problem moving up from the #31 (or #30) pick.
    To move up would require a package with Vegas pick plus a 2nd (either #33 or #36) and a 3rd (either #81 or #84). According to a recent pick value chart that should be able to get you back into the top 15. And just because it works out on the value chart does not mean it will be accepted. Dahlin is going to Buffalo no matter what.
    Michael Schuckers (a statistics prof) used pasts drafts from multiple years to try to quantify the picks to a value:
    Because the Wings have multiple 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round picks this strategy becomes less risky than if they were betting the entire top of the draft on one kid.
    The other viewpoint is the talent level ceiling is statistically speaking greater the higher you go up in the draft. With a large difference between a player picked at the end vs top half of the 1st round.
    For a graphical representation of this point see:

    I think the Wings are targeting a defenseman at 6 (Evan Bouchard or Adam Boqvist), however, because of the teams in front of them they might find those guys gone and a better value player expected to go higher remaining–guys like Brady Tkachuk or Oliver Wahlstrom–rather than the #4 or #5 rated defenseman. That is why packing those other picks to move up from Vegas slot and grab a d-man after passing on one would make sense to me.

    1. “Michael Schuckers (a statistics prof) used pasts drafts from multiple years to try to quantify the picks to a value”
      Thank you Mr. Schuckers. This is valuable information when someone starts talking about how easy it has been for certain teams to find quality players outside the first round.

      At that level (picks 30 and 40) in the draft I’m just not sold that it’s worth moving up especially at the cost of an additional prospect. Two guys around that level aren’t going to be too much different in how likely they are to become regular NHLers. It seems safer to have more picks then less picks as the 2nd round starts. Two picks with values of 265 & 237 seem to increase the odds of an NHL player then one guy between 315 and 297.

      “….however, because of the teams in front of them they might find those guys gone….”
      Having to choose between Hughes, Wahlstrom and Dobson is still a good group of players to choose from. It seems almost certain one of Hughes, Bouchard or Boqvist will be around at pick 6, maybe even two of them. If they are all gone then that means one of Zadina or Svech will be around. Either of those are a better choice then Wahlstrom. In that scenario I could easily see Ken picking up the phone and asking the Islanders or Rangers for both of their 1st round picks to get what should have been a top 3 guy.

      1. a top 15 pick is worth 433 and goes higher with each move towards the top of the draft. Trading that 30 or 31st pick plus (either #33 or #36–but not both) and a 3rd (either #81 or #84–but not both) would move you to that level not remain in the 30-40 range.

        A guy in the top 15 is much more likely to develop into a NHL player that’s where the chart comes into play. If you’re not sure of the worthiness of moving up, study that chart and look at 31, 33, and 81 vs the value of 15. I’d rather have #15 considering you would still have 36 and 84.

        Finally, ” almost certain one of Hughes, Bouchard or Boqvist will be around at pick 6″. It’s not that one won’t be around. It’s that someone higher rated will be. Consider:
        1) Dahlin, 2)Svechnikov, 3)Zadina, 4)Hughes, 5)Boqvist

        So it’s Bouchard (D) or Tkachuk (W) or Wahlstrom (C) at which point Tkachuk has to be your pick. That is the point you’re missing. Which is why you bundle the picks to move back into the top 15 to get that higher ceiling d-man you need.

        1. Agree with the notion of moving the late 1st with 2nds to move into top 15. But strongly disagree on Tkachuk at #6. If Dobson is still there at #6 you take him over Tkachuk. I’d even take Bouchard over Tkachuk, who is the oldest player in this draft. I could see Hughes (size) or Boqvist (concussion) slipping outside the top 10. If that happens, then you try to move up.

          1. Because Tkachuk’s game is “pro-ready,” (and he is talking of leaving Boston U) I don’t think it’s quite fair to hold his birthday as a detriment. He was not eligible for last year’s draft (he missed it by one day). If anything it puts him further along the devlopment curve. No over-ripening needed.

            Drafting for need over most talented overall is certainly done—but it’s usually done by playoff contenders not teams just starting their rebuilds. Besides according to several publications: Tkachuk is always rated higher than Hughes or Dobson.

            examples to show you it’s not just my opinion:

            Central Scouting


            Future Considerations

            Even some newspapers with decent analysis show similar

  7. I definitely can see with Ken Holland in charge of this draft choice that a rebuild will take 10-15 years to achieve. Them are words straight from the horse s mouth. Explain this to me. 10-15 years for a rebuild and an expansion team can make the Stanley cup finals in their first year????

    1. Well, an expansion team doesn’t start with bloated contracts for aging vets.

      It’s apples and oranges.

      1. have you ever read The Big Chick?

        I often feel some comments are like the littlest chicken’s.

  8. I think we should stay, even if (somehow) all the top defenseman are gone, that would leave some world class forwards still available (Zadina, Wahlstrom) that in my opinon would be too hard to pass up on, even if meant moving down (and up) into the middle. I think its almost really hard to mess up this draft, the easiest way to do so would be moving down outside the top 9. So, KH, if you are going to move down, STAY IN THE TOP 9. For the love of god, please stay in the top 9.

  9. Number 6 is the highest pick they have had in decades; why would they trade down when the talent level is proven to be greater in the highest slots? They give the excuse that they have not been able to draft the highest level players in the past several years because of how successful they have been and now they want to trade a once-in-a-lifetime pick away! What kind of strategy is that? KH fancies himself to be some kind of draft day genius who is smarter than the other teams when in reality he could very well get fleeced again and set the future of the team back even more by not taking advantage of the best draft position they have had since the early 90’s. What ever happened to common sense?

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