The Detroit News’s Bob Wojnowski suggests that the Red Wings did exactly what they had to do during this year’s NHL draft–they accumulated as much talent as they possibly could, despite the fact that they were unable to address shortcomings on defense:
By most accounts, the Wings essentially got two steals in the first round, which might not alter the long-term timetable, but it sure makes it more interesting. They took Czech winger Filip Zadina at No. 6, after virtually every projection had him going third to Montreal. They took center Joe Veleno at No. 30, a stunner considering three rating services pegged him at six, eight and 11.
Holland didn’t try to outsmart or outmaneuver anyone. The Wings wisely didn’t reach for a much-needed defenseman. They did precisely what a rebuilding team must do — grab as much high-end talent, regardless of position, as you can grab.
Zadina, 18, might be the best scorer in the draft, and brings a confident edge (as well as 82 points in 57 games for the Halifax Mooseheads last season). Veleno is a play-making center some compare to Dylan Larkin. The Wings even went with another skilled forward, Jonatan Berggren, early in the second round before finally taking defenseman Jared McIsaac, a projected first-rounder, three picks later at 36.
As far as positional replenishment, the Wings didn’t get a break, and they’ll continue their never-ending quest for a top-tier defenseman, the most precious commodity. Buffalo got lucky in the lottery and landed the premier one at No. 1, Rasmus Dahlin.
The Wings found their fortune elsewhere, and added to a promising young forward core that includes Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi and last year’s No 1 pick, Michael Rasmussen. In rebuilds, you take the best player and don’t look back. It’s like what the Tigers have done, under the same ownership. The Tigers desperately need positional players, but pitchers keep popping up where they pick, and they recently added to their stockpile with No. 1 choice Casey Mize.