Draft talk, draft talk and more draft talk from/with the Wings’ beat writers

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…


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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.

12 thoughts on “Draft talk, draft talk and more draft talk from/with the Wings’ beat writers”

  1. Hoping Carolina takes Zadina. Then Montreal takes Svech. Montreal is dumb enough to overpay for his older brother, who is appearing more and more like Jurco 2.0. BUST! Habs have 4 picks in the 2nd round. I’ll take 2 of those for Svech.

    This 2015 draft is looking better and better all the time. It started with McDavid, Eichel, Marner…then some stud d-men like Hanafin, Provorov, Werenski…and then you have guys like Rantanen, Debrusk, Barzal, Connor. Too bad Kenny didn’t move up a few spots to grab one of them. Instead he picks Svech. Of course after Svech, we have Boeser, Konecny, Aho, Carlo, and then a bunch of other kids that are developing very well. While Svech can’t even beat out Eric Tangradi and Ben Street for top minutes in the AHL.

      1. Umm, first, what does Chicago have to do with my post?

        Second, Chicago traded their 1st round pick in 2015 so they didn’t “pass” on any of these players. All were taken long before Chicago made their first selection.

        Finally, I’m pretty sure Chicago wasn’t too heartbroken about the 2015 draft. They were pretty busy celebrating another Stanley Cup victory in 2015. Their 3rd in 6 years.

        Solid post though. Insightful stuff.

        1. Too bad Kenny didn’t move up a few spots to grab one of them.
          Too bad bowman traded away their 1st instead of grabbing one of these guys or didnt trade back into the first round to get one of them. see i can be hypercritical too.

          1. Chicago traded a 1st round pick for a guy who scored 3 game-winning goals, including 2 in the Cup Finals. He came in and executed his role very well. I’m pretty sure every Hawks fan would take that Stanley Cup over drafting Travis Konecny near the end of round 1.

            I started with comments about trading Svech to the team that drafts his brother, and then a statement about how poor that Svech pick looks compared to many of the players drafted around him. Somehow you turn this into a discussion about Chicago, probably forgetting that they used their 1st to help solidify another Cup. But whatever. You win OK. We don’t know what your point is, but let’s just declare you the winner. So maybe introduce a new topic OK 🙂

      2. Buttttttttt!!!!!!!!!1 Little Stan could have drafted Sebastian Aho!!!!!!!!!!!!! BUTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!! BUTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!! BUTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!! BUTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!! BUTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!! BUTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!

        Stan got Antoine Vermette. That was a winner of a pick when he went right back to AZ the next season. Win, Win for AZ.

    1. Good Luck predicting what player Bergevin will take.

      Wing’s fan rejoice, Montreal ownership is worse for resigning that guy.

      “This 2015 draft is looking better and better all the time.”
      Hi everyone, my name is overstatement that sounds like hockey insight. Every draft looks better all the time as players age and get better.

      “Too bad Kenny didn’t move up a few spots to grab one of them.”
      Saying Detroit was dumb for not trading up is equivalent to saying LA, Pitt, Edmonton, Calgary, NYI, Buffalo (twice), Nashville, Toronto (twice), NYR, Tampa, Philadelphia, and Chicago were dumb for making 1st round pick trades (more than 1/3 of the NHL). KH is in some bad company….oh wait….

      Let me rephrase this positively and then make the real comparison:
      Only Boston, NYI, Ottawa, Philly, Winnipeg, Columbus and AZ were smart enough to add 1st round picks in this “super” draft. All 22 other GMs at this time are as bad as KH for not trading up.

      1. I’m not sure anyone is really following your point. Hence nobody is replying to you.

        As for the claim that “every draft looks better as players age and get better”…well I’m not sure that’s true. 2015 is proving to be an excellent draft class. At the time it was billed as McDavid and Eichel, but we’re now finding more and more players emerge into stars.

        Now compare that to say 2012. Here you will find that not every player “gets better as they age”. Yakupov has regressed. Ryan Murray has been a disappointment. Galchenyuk is so-so. Griffin Reinhart played himself out of the NHL. Grigorenko is gone. Girgensons has regressed. Round 2 hasn’t seen many guys emerge. Instead it’s mostly a wasteland (hello Martin Frk). So all of these guys have had an extra 3 years to develop and “get better” right? You make it seem so straightforward…every draft gets better over time. So explain why 2012 looks pretty ordinary and 2015 looks pretty awesome?

        1. “I’m not sure anyone is really following your point. Hence nobody is replying to you.”

          Oh boy! Not a single reply in one hour and 15 minutes. WTF people, why do you have lives that don’t revolve around me? Come on, pay attention to me!!!!!!!!!!! I need you to fill my soul with meaning!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          Sorry Fatty, my ego apparently is not as dependent on this website as you assume it is.

          “….but we’re now finding more and more players emerge into stars.”
          That happens in every draft. There are some good players at first and then a few more emerge. This is not as big a revelation that you think it is. Remember, this ripening is a philosophy you share with KH.

          “Now compare that to say 2012.”
          How about 2011?
          How about 2010?
          How about 1962?
          Why just simply 2012, oh, it fits your narrative.
          Generally speaking ever draft gets better as time goes on and every draft you can point to players that improve and that disappoint.

          “Here you will find that not every player gets better as they age.”
          This is so true. Actually, every player gets worse as they age too. There’s not a term for that so I am going to coin it, Aging.

          “So explain why 2012 looks pretty ordinary and 2015 looks pretty awesome?”
          That’s your assessment. Why should I make your argument when this sill comparisons do not relate to my point at all.

          1. Haha. I’m not even sure what you are arguing about anymore. I guess every draft gets better, until it gets worse, and even though I said 2015 is turning out really great, especially compared to 2012…well something something I’m wrong. Anyway, here’s hoping that 2012’s Martin Frk magically develops into an impact player like so many of the 2015 class. I guess? I’m done. You win.

  2. Just hope we don’t trade down. Time to use some of those assets and trade up or just use the 6th pick

    1. But if they are going to do something stupid and go way off the board (ie like a Joe Veleno), then I guess you should trade down.

      But I fully expect them to make the pick at #6 and most likely take a conservative mindset and select Bouchard. Not many question marks, but not the highest ceiling. Dobson would be another option. Whereas Boqvist and Hughes have higher ceilings, but higher risk.

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