The Red Wings’ front office has received a few slings and arrows from the media due to its decision to draft a defensively-oriented group of 11 players. This morning, however, the Sporting News’s Steve Kournaios suggests that the Wings’ 2019 draft class might not be nearly as bad as it’s been made out to be:
Steve Yzerman’s first draft as Red Wings GM went relative well for a guy who was armed with double-digit picks at his disposal. Overall, he could have done better, but he also picked up a half-dozen quality prospects with legitimate potential for NHL success. Although his weekend began with his surprising selection of big-bodied puck mover Mortiz Seider at sixth overall, Yzerman went on to overdraft another physical presence in Finnish blueliner Antti Tuomisto (35th). Both can run the power play, skate the puck out of trouble and shoot with authority. But both were taken a nearly a half-round too high while leaving incredible forward talent on the board. The Seider pick notwithstanding, the impressive part of Detroit’s draft was the middle portion, where they scooped up underrated sniper Robert Mastrosimone (54th), physical puck rusher Albert Johansson (60th), abrasive two-way winger Albin Grewe (66th) and speed merchant Ethan Phillips (97th).
In the later rounds, the Red Wings opted for size and two-way play, beginning with high school puck rusher Cooper Moore (128th), who will play college hockey for North Dakota. As expected, the Red Wings continued mining Sweden for talent, taking a huge 200-foot forward in Elmber Soderblom (159th) and project puck mover Gustav Berglund (177th), albeit while passing over more talented (and consistent) Swedes like Victor Hedstrom, Max Wahlgren and Albin Hjalmarsson. Diminutive Russian winger Kirill Tyutyayev (190th) not only has skill, but also was a standout on a veteran Avto team and nearly led them to an MHL championship. Lastly, big goalie Carter Gylander (191st) was solid for Sherwood Park of the AJHL and will play college hockey at Colgate. Grade: A-
Kournaios continues, grading the NHL’s other 30 teams, and it’s a little refreshing to read someone who goes by “The Draft Analyst” on Twitter suggest that the Wings’ amateur scouts did something other than extend themselves beyond their reach.