St. James talks off-season priorities

The Red Wings won’t clean out their lockers until Tuesday, when they assemble for their team picture and one final set of press conferences and scrums, but the Free Press’s Helene St. James notes that the Wings’ off-season plans–be they scouting potential draft picks, prospects near (with the Griffins or Walleye) or afar, or preparing for the draft lottery, combine and the draft itself–are well underway:

The Detroit Red Wings head into a second-straight offseason having missed the playoffs, encouraged by the growth of their young players but in need of more.

To that end, general manager Ken Holland and assistant to the general manager Kris Draper are among the team personnel who have visas to go to Russia for the IIHF U18 World Championship that runs April 19-29. There are also junior hockey playoff games to scout in advance of meetings to finalize plans for the draft and free agency.

“We’ve got some busy weeks ahead,” Holland said. “This is the time when our people are working on final rankings, we’ve got our pros out watching playoff games, and then we’ll have our year-end meetings.”

Among St. James’ list of off-season points of emphasis:

The NHL will hold its draft lottery April 28, revealing which lucky team will be able to add Dahlin to its lineup. He is the prize of the 2018 draft, but it’s considered a very good year overall, with high-end defensemen and high-scoring forwards available.

The Wings will pick somewhere inside the top 10, and have four picks overall inside the first 40 selections thanks to trades that brought in Vegas’ first-round pick and Ottawa’s second-round pick (via the New York Rangers).

Hence the exodus of team scouts to the Under-18 tournament, where, for example, Swedish defensive draft prospect Adam Boqvist will get a chance to raise his stock after a disappointing showing at the 2018 Five Nations tournament in Plymouth in February.

St. James continues

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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.