I’m amazed at the amount of work that ESPN’s Chris Peters and The Athletic’s Corey Pronman put in over the last two days. Both gentlemen have been going all-out on 2020 NHL Draft analysis, and tonight, both grade the Wings’ draft class.
I felt that the Wings missed a couple of lay-ups in terms of good players “on the board,” going in their predictably unknowable directions to pick players that could only fit in Detroit, but I would give the Wings a solid “B,” and that seems to jibe well with the experts’ takes.
Here’s what Peters has to say in an ESPN+ article…
Favorite pick: Lucas Raymond, No. 4 overall
With 12 picks in the draft, the Red Wings were going to make big gains in their prospect pool on the depth side of things. They got one of the best offensive talents in the draft with Lucas Raymond at No. 4, then nabbed a high-upside but raw defenseman in Williiam Wallinder early in the second round. Raymond is really strong one-on-one.
Theodor Niederbach has really come on over the last season or so, growing on me quite a bit. He creates chances but needs to work on his shot. Eemil Viro is intriguing, and Cross Hanas is creative with the puck. In total, the Red Wings drafted seven players off my top 100 and also got one of my intriguing late-rounders to watch in Alex Cotton, an all-offense defenseman who had 20 goals in the WHL last season. Detroit has a lot more work to do, but this was a pretty good haul for them.
Read more analysis on the Red Wings’ first-rounder, Lucas Raymond.
And this is the tip of an iceberg of an article from Pronman, per The Athletic:
Organizational ranking: No. 18
2019 draft grade: B
2020 Draft Grade: A-
I think Detroit made the right pick at 4, and got the player with the most talent outside the consensus top three in Lucas Raymond. After that they had a ton of picks. You could quibble over the slot for a couple, but overall I thought they added a lot of talent. No. 32 overall defenseman William Wallinder projects as an NHL player, and several of their other picks have either strong or fair chances to play games in the league.
Pronman continues in absurdly remarkable detail (paywall)…
Update: Also, from The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler:
Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings got to kick off Day 2 with the 32nd overall pick, which for all intents and purposes, will be a first-rounder once the Seattle Kraken join the fray. I like the William Wallinder pick. It reminds me, frankly, of the decision to take Antti Tuomisto at the top of the second round a year ago. Both are (were) raw, long defenders with some exciting tools to work with. In Wallinder (ranked 36th on my board), the Red Wings target a huge left-shot defenceman who skates really well for his size, excels through the neutral zone, and has seen his offensive touch improve a great deal in the last year.
Theodor Niederbach was selected in the right range, give or take. Though I’m a little higher on him than some scouts in the public and private spheres are, having seen him look a little too passive a little too often, Niederbach has undeniable small area skill. He’s a slick, puck-carrying forward with a creative flair who has proven he can dictate against his peers. Now he has to prove he can play with pro pace and aggression, especially considering he’s 5-foot-11.
I was less fond of the Cross Hanas pick. Hanas was an honourable mention on my final board, which means that I don’t view him as more than worthy of a late-round flier. His constant energy, physical presence, and room to grow into his frame excite some scouts, who believe he’s got third-liner written all over him. That’s just not the kind of player I’d be targeting in Round 2.
Detroit Red Wings: A
The Detroit Red Wings made two of my least favourite picks in the draft, and they still walk away with one of the best grades of any team to leave the last two day’s festivities. That’s what pick volume can do for a team.
They snagged the third-best player in the draft in Lucas Raymond with the fourth-overall pick — that’s a great start. Even if William Wallinder at No. 32 is a bit rich for my tastes, there is a tonne of upside for their development staff to try and unlock there. Theodor Niederbach in the 40s is fantastic value. Cross Hanas has phenomenal puck skills, a bit of an edge, and with a little work on his skating, can be a player.
The Jan Bednar pick, in the fourth-round, is probably the best work they did in the late rounds of the draft. He’s so athletic, and pulled off some of the best saves I’ve seen from any first-time draft-eligible goaltender in this class not named Yaroslav Askarov. Sam Stange is a nice pick, on a player with a tonne of speed, too.