Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
- The Free Press’s Helene St. James posted an article discussing the Red Wings’ draft haul from this past weekend, and she suggests that the Red Wings deserve an “A” grade for the ways in which the team managed its 12 draft picks, ultimately drafting 8 players they wanted to add to the Wings’ stable of prospects, while also adding Alex Nedeljkovic and Nick Leddy to the mix:
By the time the Wings were on the board, centers Matty Beniers, Mason McTavish and Kent Johnson had been drafted. At that point, Edvinsson was the best prospect available that fit the Wings’ needs: A 6-foot-4 (and a half, according to director of amateur scouting Kris Draper) left-shot defenseman whose assets include skating, being good at both ends of the ice, and physicality.
The boldest moment of the first round came when Yzerman packaged the Nos. 23, 48 and 138 picks to move up to No. 15, where he selected goaltender Sebastian Cossa. Jesper Wallstedt was projected to be the first goalie taken, but Cossa’s performance (17-1-1 with a .57 GAA and .941 save percentage in 19 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings in the Western Hockey League), size (6-6, 210 pounds) and demeanor (calm, confident, determined) persuaded the Wings he was the best choice.
St. James continues, breaking down the Wings’ 8 picks, and she concludes the subscriber-only article with this:
Ultimately, whether Yzerman made the right choices in this draft will be determined down the road. However, it looks like he added players who have the promise to help shape the Wings into a competitive team.
Ultimately, that’s what we keep hearing from this past weekend–that the Wings are looking to be more competitive, both on the ice this upcoming season, and down the line as well.
2. Shifting gears, The Athletic’s Max Bultman filed an article discussing the Red Wings’ free agency plans as they stand after the Marc Staal re-signing on Sunday.
Bultman notes that the Wings need to add another left-side defenseman, even if it’s only for depth purposes, to fill out their blueline;
Up front, he goes so far as to wonder whether the Wings will give Joe Veleno, Lucas Raymond and/or Jonatan Berggren “long looks” during training camp and the exhibition season, but he concludes that the Wings will probably determine whether to add up to three forwards to their current mix of 10 players–especially at center–by plucking some free agents off the market:
If Detroit can’t reach an agreement with its internal UFA forwards, the right-shot forwards set to hit the market include Arizona’s Derek Stepan, the Islanders’ Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri, Calgary’s Derek Ryan, Montreal’s Joel Armia, Chicago’s Vinnie Hinostroza and Toronto’s Riley Nash, among others. Should Detroit end up opting for left-handers, there’s also Nick Bonino, Alex Wennberg and Erik Haula as intriguing names, and on the higher-end of things Phillip Danault, Blake Coleman and Paul Stastny. That said, Danault and Coleman will presumably get more term than the Red Wings have doled out to UFAs under Yzerman, while Stastny is an older player without a Stanley Cup and thus may prefer a contender rather than signing on short term into a rebuild. Those last few names, therefore, seem like substantial longshots.
Of course, there’s the option of a trade. LeBrun reported Friday that the Lightning were focused on trying to move Tyler Johnson — who happens to be both a right-hand shot and a center. His deal, as Thomas Drance pointed out, is relatively buyout-friendly for Tampa Bay, but the Lightning are so squeezed by the cap that there could still be real incentive to move him. Could Detroit be a fit there? It’s been easy to speculate on the potential for this kind of deal for nearly a year now and nothing materialized, but the fit would still appear to make sense.
Bultman also continues (paywall), discussing the aforementioned, “Do one or more of Veleno, Raymond or Berggren make the team out of training camp?” possibilities…
But I think that it’s far more likely that the Wings will attempt to re-sign one or more of Luke Glendening, Sam Gagner and/or Bobby Ryan before examining the free agent marketplace…
3. Finally, I wondered why the heck Team Sweden didn’t include the Wings’ first-round draft pick from this past weekend, one Simon Edvinsson, on their World Junior Summer Showcase roster.
I wondered why San Jose Sharks pick William Eklund and Minnesota Wild pick Jesper Wallstedt were missing from Sweden’s roster, too.
The ever-industrious Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com has the answer as to why those three star players are missing from what is a middling Swedish WJSS roster, straight from Team Sweden coach Tomas Monten:
The opportunity is there for a few Sweden players to earn a spot on the world junior stage due to the absence this week of defenseman Simon Edvinsson (Detroit Red Wings, No. 6, 2021 draft), forward William Eklund (San Jose Sharks, No. 7, 2021) and goalie Jesper Wallstedt (Minnesota Wild, No. 20, 2021).
Edvinsson sustained an upper-body injury prior to the team departing for the WJSS but should be ready for the start of his season with Frolunda in the Swedish Hockey League.
“You can play through injuries and do different stuff to be able to play, but we don’t want to do that in July, not with an 18-year-old kid,” Sweden coach Tomas Monten said.
Eklund and Wallstedt each remained home to rest and recover after completing their season. They are expected to play prominent roles at the 2021 WJC.
Among those players looking to earn a roster spot are goalie Philip Svedeback (Boston Bruins, No. 117, 2021), defenseman William Wallinder (Red Wings, No. 32, 2020 NHL Draft), and forwards Isak Rosen (Buffalo Sabres, No. 14, 2021) and Fabian Lysell (Bruins, No. 21, 2021).
Yesterday, I watched Wallinder play, and, again, I was only watching a single game played in the middle of July, but:
The lanky center looked to be having trouble with a bouncing puck on summer ice, and, again, while his high-end potential as a playmaker and sniper is definitely evident, he’s still 19 and coming off a season in which he dominated playing with the Under-20 Frolunda Indians, posting 35 points in 19 games.
So, is the high-end potential there? Definitely. Is he also adjusting to playing with a higher caliber of players at the WJSS? You bet.