On the Red Wings’ criteria for draft success, Cole Perfetti, Alexander Holtz and more draft and free agency talk

Of Red Wings and/or 2020 NHL Draft-related note early on a Monday morning:

  1. DetroitRedWings.com’s Josh Berenter offers us the following “draft philosophies” from Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman:

Yzerman said there isn’t some magic formula to find late-round talent. He said there are several different aspects of a prospect’s game that his team of front office members and scouts look for when deciding which player to welcome to Hockeytown.

“We take a lot of things into account. There are lots of skills and abilities that make a player a good player,” he said. “They have to have a combination of the things we feel are important. Good hockey players come in a lot of forms. There’s no one characteristic that is going to be a telling factor.

“We have criteria that we’re looking for in prospects and for players to come into the organization. On-ice and off-ice characteristics. We take all of those into account when we form our list.

As for that list, Yzerman said that with where the Red Wings are in their rebuild, he’s looking to select the best players available, instead of focusing on a certain position.

“At this early stage, I don’t think we can really target a particular position,” he said. “We’re going to take the best prospects. The kids are 17, 18, 19 years of age. The vast majority of them are 3, 4, 5 years away from playing in the NHL. Your needs as an organization will change over time. We try to draft the best prospect available with that current pick.”

2. Along those lines, Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino engaged in a Reddit AMA regarding his takes as to where the draft’s top prospects will end up, and he Cosentino believes that the ties between the Red Wings and Saginaw Spirit center Cole Perfetti are too strong to ignore:

Do you still think Cole Perfetti to Detroit is a likely outcome or has Lucas Raymond cut into that dance?

I think there is too much synergy for Perfetti not to go to Detroit, but the Red Wings would be getting a great player if Raymond cut into that dance.

3. In a convenient twist, Sportsnet’s Sonny Sachdeva penned a profile of Perfetti on Sunday evening…

Canadian Kucherov?

No one’s had a better look at Cole Perfetti over the past two years than his head coach in Saginaw, Chris Lazary. To say Lazary believes in his prized winger after seeing his impact in Saginaw would be a massive understatement — the Spirit’s bench boss doesn’t simply see a successful jump to the pro leagues in Perfetti’s future, he sees bona fide greatness.

“I think his ceiling’s limitless. I think he could be one of the players out of this draft that goes on and plays 15 years, and has a lot of career accomplishments,” Lazary says. His vision of what Perfetti could be at his peak makes clear the scope of that first statement.

“To me, his player comparable is Nikita Kucherov,” says the coach, citing the Russian winger who, two seasons ago, posted the NHL’s highest single-season point total of the past two decades. “Kucherov played in the CHL, he’s not overly lightning-quick with his skating, but man, his playmaking, his creativeness, his ability to manipulate defenders, his change of direction, his deception. All those things make Kucherov one of the best players in the National Hockey League.

“And to me, when I watch Kucherov play, it’s like watching Cole Perfetti play.”

Update: Sportsnet made its video profile of Perfetti available on YouTube:

4. But it should be noted that Philadelphia Flyers scribe and prospect guru Bill Meltzer believes that the Red Wings will go in a different direction, per his latest mock draft:

Detroit Red Wings: Alexander Holtz (RW)

Do the Red Wings become the first team to select a defenseman in the draft or do they look for a potential impact forward? Given that the Red Wings historically drafted heavily — and quite effectively — from Sweden, the pick here is Swedish forward Holtz. Some sources prefer countryman Lucas Raymond to Holtz in terms of perceived longtime all-around upside — the opinion of legendary scout Håkan Andersson will, of course, weigh heavily in Detroit’s internal ranking — but there are two compelling reasons to take Holtz in this spot. First and foremost, there’s a little less projection involved. Holtz is one of the two or three best pure shooters in the Draft (many would rate him as No. 1) and is considered close to being NHL ready. He has already competed effectively against grown men and has been playing in order age groups for years (he’s been on the 2020 NHL Draft radar since he was 15). Holtz isn’t a deficient skater; just not a flashy one. There are better playmakers available. But Holtz is a safe bet to score goals in the NHL, and probably sooner than later. The current Red Wings are starved for goals, and Holtz can address some of that need in the relatively near future.

5. In a more general vein, Sportsnet’s Rory Boylen asked one pertinent question for each NHL team going into both Tuesday’s draft and the start of free agency on Friday:

Detroit Red Wings: How aggressively will Steve Yzerman add to his roster with so much cap room?

The Wings head into the off-season with $25.7 million in cap space, which Yzerman could strategically use to gear up his roster. Trades are also a possibility, as Yzerman has had more than a year to assess the rebuild and start to re-shape it. There are seven RFAs to deal with and a goalie to find, after Jimmy Howard revealed he was not going to be back with Detroit next season. Would Yzerman target his old team in Tampa for an offer sheet?

In my opinion (I know no one asked), Yzerman will split weaponizing his salary cap space between this fall’s free agent period and the upcoming season. The $81.5 million flat cap is going to serve as a moving target for many teams, and there’s no reason to spend all the cap space at once when you can exploit other teams’ cap issues as the 2020-2021 season (and offseason) takes place.

6. Finally, The Athletic’s Max Bultman is engaging in a Q and A session today from 12-1 PM EDT on The Athletic’s website.

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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.