A bit about the Wings’ draft focus on defense

The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan penned an article discussing the Red Wings’ dearth of development on their blueline over the past half-decade (or more). Kulfan points out that the Wings rather desperately need to hit a couple of “solid singles” (if not a home run or two) at this year’s draft:

With four picks in the first two rounds of next month’s NHL Entry Draft, the Red Wings will likely concentrate on defense, whenever possible.

“I would anticipate some of those four picks, and three third-round (picks), some of those picks will be used on defense,” [Red Wings GM Ken] Holland said.

How vital a deep and talented defense is to any NHL team was shown last summer during the expansion process as the Vegas Golden Knights were entering the league.

Holland noted how teams that possessed depth on defense worked side deals with Vegas in hopes of retaining defensive depth.

“In the end of the day most of them paid a price in order to hang onto their defense,” Holland said. “Defensemen are coveted in this league, and those defensemen (elite top-pairing) that can play in the league, a defenseman that can make a difference, we have to draft and develop them.”

Kulfan continues at length, assessing the state of the Wings’ defense…

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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.

9 thoughts on “A bit about the Wings’ draft focus on defense”

  1. Our defense is old…says the guy who just signed 34-year old Daley, and who now wants to sign Mike Green. Hilarious!

    And he keeps repeating how the only way to get these d-men is to draft and develop them. Hmm, tonight we get to watch Big Buff and Myers. Tomorrow we’ll see McDonagh, Sergachev, Niskanen. Seems other GMs have found other ways to add top d-men. Like TRADES as an example. But at least he’s finally figured out the importance of drafting d-men. Baby steps.

  2. The Wings D sure looks, well not very good as well as old. I thought Carlson of the Caps was a UFA? He has been playing pretty good (D and added Offense). But after the Caps continued run for the Cup he will garner Big $$$ and long term.

    Good UFA’s are not affordable for the Wings. Maybe in 5 years we will see a Carlson or an Orlov type on the Wings roster.

    Maybe some Russians? KH missed the boat on them, big time!

    1. I think regardless of the Caps run, Carlson was going to get big money. He’s been better than Orlov who makes $5.1 million. The Caps only have $8 million in space next season with Wilson to qualify at more than $2 million and 4 holes on Defense. My guess is, barring a trade of another player to make cap space, the Caps trade Carlson’s rights or hope he signs for less then he’s worth. The guy is in his prime and just put up Norris Trophy numbers. He’s probably going to get more then what the Caps can offer.

  3. From 2005 thru 2013 we selected 21 defensemen. Of those only 2 remain on our team; XO (48-2011) and Jensen (150-2009). We’ve let stellar prospects go, such as: Kindle, Smith, Nicastro, Fournier, and Sproul. There were fourteen below 100 who never saw the light of day.

    So, one has to wonder whether the Wings know how to draft defensemen. 😮

    1. I don’t think they do. In Holland’s history with the team they have only drafted two Dmen who are 2nd pair and above (Lidstrom and Kroner). Detroit’s recent drafting of Dmen is terrible. I often forget about Fischer though (probably not better then a 2nd pair). They really need to find people who know how to look for Dmen….Maybe that will change with Cholo and Hronek.

  4. There was one year in the past ten they didn’t draft a single defenseman, and two years i think where they drafted one or two very late.

    I’m not sure how they expected to have a decent shot at finding even a top-four guy or two with so little emphasis on arguably the most important position (importan + difficult to find).

    Pretty amazing that Kronner is the last top-four guy they’ve drafted, at least as of now.

    1. As I’ve said…there was a 10-year period in which they drafted fewer d-men than every franchise in the NHL. A situation made worse when you consider many of their picks were 6th and 7th rounders.

      Horrible, horrible planning when you knew that Lidstrom, Rafalski, Chelios, and Stuart were nearing the end.

    2. So depressing. Thanks for looking into that.

      It’s a bit harder for players to leave the teams that draft them; one extra year max on a contract, restricted free agency, etc.

      Thats why drafting is so important – premium cost for free agents, giving up assets in a trade just aren’t a desirable route – and definitely not a move to make until a team is ready to go on a run.

      1. Good GMs often use trades. Look at the teams still competing for a Cup. Count how many key pieces were acquire via trade. Some are top pair or top 4 d-men…Big Buff, Myers, McDonagh, Sergachev.

        Rebuilding or re-tooling teams also add big pieces via trade. Look at New Jersey robbing Edmonton of Hall, or adding Vatanen. Flames added Hamilton. Columbus adds Jones, then steals Panarin. Go back further and look at guys like Burns, Carter, Simmonds, Schenn, Subban, Weber. Major trades happen pretty often. Yet it’s a tool Kenny hasn’t used since…Hasek?

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