NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman, Mike G. Morreale and Guillaume Lepage offer their takes on the first round of the NHL draft on June 22nd, making triple picks for each and every one of the teams with 1st round picks, including the Red Wings.
The trio expect the Wings to pick either Quinn Hughes or Evan Bouchard at 6th overall…
6. Detroit Red Wings
Kimelman — Quintin Hughes, D, Michigan (BIG10): His ability to control the game far exceeds any questions about his size (5-9, 170). He’s a dazzling skater and puck-handler with a hard, accurate shot from the point. The Red Wings should be able to stay in-state to fill a major organizational need.
Morreale — Evan Bouchard, D, London (OHL): The big (6-2, 193) right-shot defenseman tied for seventh in the OHL with 87 points (25 goals, 62 assists); he’s the first defenseman to finish in the top 10 in the league since Ryan Ellis of Windsor in 2010-11 (101 points, tied for fourth). David Gregory of NHL Central Scouting said Bouchard is “the prototypical new-millennium defenseman” NHL teams want.
Lepage — Hughes: Although he has a few shortcomings, mostly his defensive play, he has the potential to become a star. Red Wings fans will appreciate his on-ice vision and instincts.
And the trio are split into thirds regarding the Wings’ options with the 30th or 31st pick (depending on whether the Vegas Golden Knights win the Stanley Cup):
31. Detroit Red Wings (from Vegas Golden Knights)
Kimelman — [Mattias Samuelsson, D, USA U-18 (USHL)]: After getting the offensive-minded defenseman they need early, it makes sense for the Red Wings to select a big, sound, physically dominant partner for him. Samuelsson likely won’t be a point producer in the NHL, but his offensive game has taken strides, and he’ll further his development next season not far away at Western Michigan University.
Morreale — [Benoit-Olivier Groulx, C, Halifax (QMJHL)]: He had 55 points (28 goals, 27 assists), eight power-play goals and 169 shots on goal in 68 games. Groulx competes hard, has good vision, is strong below the dots and won 50.6 percent of his face-offs. His father, Benoit Groulx, is coach of Syracuse, the Lightning’s American Hockey League affiliate.
Lepage — Jacob Olofsson, C, Timra (SWE-2): Olofsson (6-2, 192) had 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) in 43 games in his first full season against men, in Sweden’s second division. His maturity and his two-way game that draws scouts’ attention.
The mock draft picks reflect the fact that there is little consensus as to how the first round will unfold after the first half-dozen or so picks. It’s a deep draft!