Wings hope to connect with 'extra swings' in draft

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
The Red Wings are reportedly on the short list of teams being considered by Union's Spencer Foo.

Detroit — With the expansion draft over with Wednesday evening, the next crucial event on the NHL calendar is this weekend’s Entry Draft.

The two-day event begins Friday at Chicago’s United Center, with the first round — and concludes Saturday with teams selecting from Rounds 2-7.

It’s two days the Red Wings have been pointing to for a long time.

They have a total of 11 picks this weekend, including the No. 9 overall pick Friday night — their earliest selection since selecting Martin Lapointe 10th in 1991.

General manager Ken Holland accumulated extra draft picks at the trade deadline with the Red Wings slipping out of playoff contention — which they ultimately did miss, ending a streak of 25 consecutive playoff appearances.

“At the trade deadline I made a decision there was an opportunity this organization to get some extra picks, extra swings at young players (in the draft),” Holland said. “We have 20 picks over the next two years and I’m hoping that with these extra picks, a number of these picks will be players down the road.

“Every draft, players come out of the second, third and fourth rounds. We’ve got more spins of the wheel.”

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Holland acquired extra draft picks with trade deadline deals involving Brendan Smith, Tomas Jurco, Thomas Vanek, and Steve Ott, as well as getting Toronto’s third-round pick for permission two years ago to talk to former coach Mike Babcock.

The Red Wings have their own first-round and second-round pick (No. 38), but not their own third-rounder — that went to San Jose last summer in a trade for Grand Rapids prospect Dylan Sadowy.

But no matter, the Red Wings have four third-round picks from Florida (No. 71, for Vanek), Toronto (No. 79, for Babcock), the New York Rangers (No. 83, for Smith), and Chicago (via Carolina, No. 88, for Jurco).

The Red Wings then have their own picks from Rounds 3-7 (Nos. 100, 131, 162 and 193), and have an extra selection in the sixth round from Florida in the 2016 trade that sent Jakub Kindl to the Panthers (No. 164).

In all, the Red Wings own seven draft picks in the first 100 selections this weekend.

“Hopefully over the next couple of drafts here, there’s going to be four or five of these picks who are going to be players for the Red Wings down the road,” Holland said.

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Fighting for Foo

The Red Wings are the short list of teams being considered by Spencer Foo, an undrafted college free agent.

Foo, 23, left Union College after tallying 62 points (26 goals) in 38 games, with a plus-29 plus-minus rating.

Foo’s agent, Michael Kaye, said a decision will be made next week, after teams are done with the expansion draft and Entry Draft.

An Edmonton native, Foo (6-foot, 185 pounds) has the hometown Oilers on his short list and many analysts feel they are the leading contenders.

According to multiple reports, the Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, Vegas Golden Knights and Calgary Flames are also being considered.

NHL Draft

When: 7 p.m. Friday (Round 1); 10 a.m. Saturday (Rounds 2-7)

Where: United Center, Chicago

TV: NBCSN on Friday, NHL Network on Saturday.

Red Wings: They have 11 picks — the No. 9 pick in the first round; No. 38 in the second; Nos. 71, 79, 83 and 88 in the third; No. 100 in the fourth; No. 131 in the fifth; Nos. 162 and 164 in the sixth; and No. 193 in the seventh.