June 28, 2014 at 4:56 pm

NHL entry draft

Meet the newest Red Wings: Team goes crazy for centers in NHL draft

Detroit — Now it’s time to file their names in your memory banks, let them develop on their college or junior teams around the world, and see if they can help in several years.

The NHL entry draft ended Saturday, and for the Red Wings it was a weekend centered on centers.

Five of their seven selections were centers, although they didn’t plan it that way.

“Where we were picking, we were just looking for the best players available,” said Tyler Wright, the Red Wings’ director of amateur scouting. “We wanted to keep within our philosophy of players with character, passion and skill, and we feel we’ve done that.”

A couple years down the road, the Red Wings and every other organization in the NHL likely will get a better idea of how successful this weekend was.

“These players are now in a pool of players that we already have in our organization,” Wright said. “And now we have give them the resources to develop and hopefully become NHL players in the future.”

After drafting Waterford native Dylan Larkin, a center, Friday in the first round, the Red Wings led off Saturday’s activity with another center. And this one, in the opinion of some scouts, could turn out to be a steal.

The Red Wings traded with Columbus — giving the Blue Jackets their original pick at 76 plus a third-round pick in 2015 — to draft center Dominic Turgeon, 18, in the third round. The son of former NHL veteran Pierre Turgeon, he was a player the Wings had their eye on.

“We gave up an asset to get him, but Dominic is a player we really liked,” Wright said. “Just the hockey sense and skill level, he’s got a strong body.

“We had him rated much higher.”

And, of course, there are the bloodlines — Pierre Turgeon being an effective NHL player for 19 seasons.

“That doesn’t hurt,” Wright said. “Ultimately it’s up to the individual, but it helps in the fact these guys have been around the game, grown up in the game, and know what it takes to get to the next level.”

The Red Wings added centers Christoffer Ehn (fourth round), and Axel Holmstrom and Alexander Kadeykin in the seventh round.

“We had a couple of defensemen (targeted), but when they were picked, we went to the next best player,” Wright said. “The game is played a certain way these days and you need to have that skill.”

Goalie Chase Perry (fifth round) and left wing Julius Vahatalo (sixth round) were the only non-centers drafted.

Some of these draft picks, and many from the previous few years, will take part in the Red Wings’ annual summer development camp next weekend in Traverse City.

After that, for some it’ll be training camp with the Red Wings in September, then back to their amateur teams — and further development.

“This isn’t an exact science,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “You’re trying to figure out 18-year-old kids. You just hope two, three or four years down the road they’ve grown into NHL players.”



Red Wings third-round draft pick Dominic Turgeon poses for pictures Saturday in Philadelphia. / Jeff Zelevansky / Getty Images