On defense, ‘dogs,’ Swedish steals, crushing on Tuomisto and more

Updated at 5:36 PM: Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:

  1. The Red Wings’ amateur scouting staff chose to focus on replenishing the team’s defensive depth during this year’s draft–though they won’t admit as much–as the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan notes:

“As a staff, we identified this as being a pretty deep draft defensively,” said Tyler Wright, the Wings’ director of amateur scouting. “I don’t think we’re quite in a position where we have to start really picking by position. It just happened to be that defense was kind of top-heavy in this draft. You watch the playoffs and you see the size of these guys with St. Louis and Boston being in there – that doesn’t mean they’re just big.”

Meaning, size with skill. And the Wings are optimistic they picked some big bodies who can do a variety of things.

Moritz Seider (first round) and Antti Tuomisto (second round) are both 6-foot-4 with mobility and offensive skill, while being stout defensively.

Getting Tuomisto with Saturday’s first pick was an aim for the Wings, who had targeted the Finnish defenseman for some time.

“We think he’s a good prospect,” general manager Steve Yzerman said. “He’s a big kid with a good shot. He’s a smart player. He moves well for a big guy and he plays hard. We just like the way he thinks the game. We like his tools and size. Somewhat like Seider. They’re different players, but big right-shot defensemen that move pretty well, that can pass the puck and defend reasonably well.

Kulfan continues

2. Kulfan also posted a story which includes shorter snippets of comments made by Hakan Andersson and Yzerman. This time, he notes that the Red Wings’ draft class is “dog-free”:

“Yzerman has been pretty strict – he wants competitive players,” Andersson said. “So, there are no dogs. Like sometimes you draft a guy with high talent but they don’t compete. These guys, they work for it, too.”

One player appears to be the perfect blueprint for Yzerman’s vision.

Forward Albin Grewe, 18, the Wings’ third-round pick, could eventually be a player Wings fans love – and opponents and opposing fans hate.

Grewe (6-0, 182 pounds) has said he patterns his game after Boston’s Brad Marchand, a noted pest.

“Albin Grewe is an outstanding competitor,” Andersson said. “I can see how he pictures himself after Brad Marchand. He’s very competitive. Out of the Europeans, probably the most competitive player in the whole draft – and in many years, I would say.”

Again, Kulfan continues

3. The Free Press’s Helene st. James posted a traditional “second day of the draft”-focused story earlier this afternoon, and she notes that the Red Wings’ staff snagged someone they really wanted in their second-round pick:

Antti Tuomisto headlined Saturday’s haul as the Wings chose him 35th overall, selecting a second straight big defenseman who shoots right. 

“This is a guy that’s 6-foot-5 and plays with a real bite to his game,” director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright said. “He’s got good sense. He can find the middle of the ice. We really liked him. We’d targeted him for a while at 35.”

Andersson described Tuomisto as a very good skater with a bit of a bite to his game. 

“We all liked him,” Andersson said. “Tyler certainly had a little bit of a crush on him. He’s got some physical game in him, and he also has a very heavy, good shot.”

St. James continues

4. This wasn’t the first time that a Steve Yzerman-led scouting staff threw a couple of curve balls at the draft experts, but I’m admittedly a little irked at the fact that the Wings are being deemed a “draft day loser” for reaching with their pick of Moritz Seider at 6th overall. The Toronto Sun’s Michael Traikos suggested that both Yzerman and Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland (who went with defenseman Philip Broberg) picked the wrong guys on Friday night:

Steve Yzerman provided the first real surprise of the draft when he seemingly went off the board and selected German defenceman Moritz Seider with the sixth-overall pick. Who knows, maybe Seider will prove to be the right pick years from now. But because he was rated so low on so many lists — The Hockey News had him ranked 22nd overall — you have to think that the Red Wings could have traded down and still ended up with him at a later spot.

To be fair, the Oilers’ press is absolutely roasting Holland for daring to pick a defender at 8th overall, and there are suggestions that Holland will have to get used to the increased level of scrutiny(!) in Edmonton, which makes me chuckle.

5. In the “draft capsules” category, both 97.1 the Ticket and WDIV’s David Bartkowiak Jr. posted capsule summaries profiling each and every one of the Wings’ 11 2019 draft picks;

6. And finally, in a hard turn to the left, the Associated Press’s John Wawrow and Stephen Whyno report that the Seattle NHL franchise is being led by a person who helped Yzerman rebuild the Lightning:

Yes, teams are being helpful and welcoming of the Seattle franchise, in part due to the respect they have for [team president Tod] Leiweke. His success in previous NHL stops when Minnesota was getting started and in revitalizing Tampa Bay has given him clout among the rest of the league. The other league executives know Leiweke will demand Seattle be an elite franchise from the start.

“He’s done this a lot,” said Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman, who worked with Leiweke in Tampa Bay and was at one time thought to be a GM candidate in Seattle. “He knows how to run a team, he knows how to build a building. He knows how to create an environment, the in-game presentation, everything about running the business side of a pro sports team he’s done it. His personality and energy and people skills, he gets it done.”

Interesting that Yzerman mentions things like game presentation in discussing the “business side” of running an NHL team. He’s certainly detail-oriented.

Update: The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler deemed the Wings a draft “overtime loser” based on their first-day pick (Seider), and he issues a similar grade for their second-day decision-making:

I don’t mind the Antti Tuomisto pick. The Red Wings probably could have got him at No. 54 or No. 60 so it was maybe a bit too high for my liking but he fits the mould they went with with Moritz Seider as a huge defender with some nice touch and ability who has some kinks to work out. Tuomisto was one of the better offensive threats in Finland’s top junior league last season.

If “don’t mind” was where I was at on Tuomisto, “very happy” would be where I would recommend Red Wings be at with Robert Mastrosimone at No. 54. He’s an exciting centre who can score and pass, or carry and get open. Love this pick.

Albert Johansson is a fine pick (he actually went exactly where I had him ranked, though there were several players I liked better at that slot) and may become a No. 4-5 D.

Honestly, I liked what the Red Wings did by going with Albin Grewe at No. 66 as well. When he puts his head down and drives the net, he’s a lot to handle. A bit of a linear player (he’s not going to break teams down laterally) but he projects fairly safely as a third-line forward.

It was the six picks after Grewe that pushed them into OTL territory instead of OTW territory.

That would be 5’9″ forward Ethan Phillips, UND commit and defenseman Connor Moore, 6’7″ forward Elmer Soderblom, Frolunda defenseman Gustav Berglund, teeny tiny Russian forward Kirill Tyutyayez and goaltender Carter Gylander, who all qualify for the, “No one has seen them” award.

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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.

8 thoughts on “On defense, ‘dogs,’ Swedish steals, crushing on Tuomisto and more”

  1. I prefer to believe people like HockeyProspect.com who had Seider ranked #10, Recrutes which has him #9, and Drafting Europe who had him as the #3 European prospect and Top-10 value. HockeyProspect and Recrutes are professional, or former professional, scouts. Moritz was one of the fastest risers late in the draft year.

    1. A logical, reasoned answer to a freakout conundrum…I don’t know if we can tolerate logic here (kidding, kidding!)…

  2. Holland having an increased level of press scrutiny made me laugh too. For so many years he got a free pass by the Detroit MSM. Welcome back George! Missed your awesome Wings coverage!

  3. KH must produce after his predecessors’ utter failure assembling all that high end talent into anything Cup competitive—no free pass & it begins now!
    SY could probably get three years, which hopefully won’t be needed, to show significant progress.

  4. It’s about time we had a GM that drafted 1st pair D prospects. You end up where the wings are by only spending 2nd and lower draft picks looking for your D, and HOPING one of them is able to develop.

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