MLive’s Ansar Khan and the Free Press’s Helene St. James discuss the upcoming 2020 NHL Draft and the busy week ahead for the Red Wings’ front office, which will make a total of 10 draft selections on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then shift toward the start of free agency on Friday at 12 PM EDT.
4. Detroit: Jamie Drysdale, defenseman, Erie (OHL)
This is where the separation in the draft starts as well as the unpredictability. The Red Wings need help in all areas, so they could pick any number of players. Drysdale isn’t big (5-11, 175) but he is a good skater who can push the pace and he uses his stick effectively to defend. He is the top-rated defenseman in the draft and the Red Wings need more D-men with top-pair potential. Perhaps the only drawback is he would make them heavy on the right side in their system (Seider, Filip Hronek, Gustav Lindstrom, Antti Tuomisto, Seth Barton).
The Free Press’s St. James discusses the draft in general terms, as part of a “crucial week for the Red Wings’ rebuild,” and she notes that the draft’s second day (rounds 2-7 begin at 11:30 AM EDT on Wednesday) may loom larger than the first in terms of the opportunity it presents for the team to improve its prospect pool:
The player selected at fourth has the best chance to move the needle of the rebuild, but Yzerman has proven he can find standout NHL players on Day 2. The Wings hold three second-round picks: Their own at No. 32, Edmonton’s at 45, and Washington’s at 55. And they also have two third-round picks (Nos. 63, 65 from San Jose), among four others. The assortment of picks should give Yzerman options to move up, down or stand pat as he tries to acquire the best players possible.
Two examples come to mind. In 2011, early in Yzerman’s tenure as the GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning, he nabbed Nikita Kucherov in the second round, at 58th overall, and nine years later, Kucherov is a perennial all-star who just helped the Lightning win the Stanley Cup Final as the scoring leader of the 2020 playoffs.
The other example came in the third round in 2016, when Yzerman selected center Brayden Point for Tampa Bay. Yzerman relayed the story of how that pick came about during his Zoom call Friday. The Lightning held the 80th pick and the Minnesota Wild held the 79th pick. Yzerman got ahold of then-Wild GM Chuck Fletcher and asked if he’d be interested in flipping third-round picks if Tampa threw in a seventh-round pick. “He looked at me, I’m 10 feet away, kind of like, ‘You serious?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘OK, but you have to tell me who you’re picking,’ ” Yzerman said. “We told him and we gave him a seventh-round pick and obviously it turned out to be good, but in all likelihood Point would probably still have been there and we would have gotten another seventh-round pick.”
Fox 2’s SportsWorks panel (in this case, Dan Miller, Mike Stone and Pat Caputo) discussed the Red Wings’ draft last night (at the 14:26 mark of the video), and Caputo believes that the Red Wings will either pick Perfetti or Lucas Raymond, while Stone is leaning toward Drysdale:
And finally, WDIV’s David Bartkowiak Jr. discusses both this week’s draft and the free agency period, which may see the Wings targeting several players:
Free agency will open at noon Friday, Oct. 9. I fully expect the Red Wings to be extremely busy in free agency. This is a dream scenario for Yzerman: He has cap space and room to get creative with short-term signings.
Here are some of the names attached to the Red Wings right now:
Goalie Jacob Markstrom of the Vancouver Canucks — With Jimmy Howard moving on, the Red Wings need another goalie. NHL insider Elliotte Friedman seems to think the 30-year-old goalie has a good chance at ending up in Detroit. Five years? Is that a good idea?
Defenseman Andy Greene of the New York Islanders — The Trenton, Mich. native had spent his entire 14-year NHL career with the New Jersey Devils before being traded at the deadline to the playoff-bound Islanders. He helped the Islanders go deep in the bubble tournament with 4 points in 21 playoff games. Friedman said on his “31 Thoughts” podcast that Greene is described as a veteran presence with a good attitude, similar to Marc Staal who the Red Wings picked up a week ago.
The Red Wings are officially saying so long to defensive vets Jonathan Ericsson and Trevor Daley, so it would make sense to sign at least two other blue line vets right now. I don’t think the plan is to be embarrassed on a nightly basis anymore.
It should be noted that Andy Greene is also from Trenton, MI, so the 37-year-old has been speculated to be considering “coming home.”
Friedman discusses the Red Wings at the 37:05 mark of last Friday’s “31 Thoughts” podcast, discussing Greene and Markstrom, while Jeff Marek suggests that the Wings are either going to grab Perfetti or Drysdale with the 4th overall pick…If they don’t make a surprise pick, Yaroslav Askarov included.