Wings will search for defensive help with mid-round picks

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Chicago — Tyler Wright and his staff were sure to get to their rest Friday night.

They were going to need it.

After Friday’s first-round selection at the NHL  Draft at Chicago’s United Center, the Red Wings’ amateur scouting director and his scouts were going to select 10 players in Saturday’s Day 2 — Rounds 2 through 7.

The Red Wings had four draft picks in Round 3 and two more in Round 6, along with their own picks in each round.

“It’s exciting for us as a staff,” said Wright, who is in his fourth year with the organization. “Everybody wants a top-two defenseman, or a top-end goaltender, and to get a guy like that, you’re not going to get them in a trade nowadays because the price is so high.

“That makes the draft so important these days. You have to draft them and develop them and then keep them.

“The onus is on us as a staff.”

How, and where, Wright and his staff decide to use those 10 draft picks remains to be seen.

Live NHL draft blog: Wings pick ninth tonight

Defense has been an area of concern at the NHL level, and the Red Wings don’t have any many NHL-ready defensive prospects in the minors.

Center is another position likely to get attention, especially after losing Tomas Nosek in the expansion draft to Vegas earlier this week.

Also, the Red Wings generally like to draft one goaltender each year, building depth in that position.

One position the organization feels it has depth is on the wings, with young players such Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou at the NHL level, and Tyler Bertuzzi and Evgeny Svechnikov close to reaching the NHL.

“But if there’s a winger out there we like, who we feel can become a good player in this league and help our team, we’re going to take him,” Wright said.

Many draft analysts have called this draft one of the weakest in several years, primarily because of a lack of star talent early in the draft.

But Wright doesn’t see it that way.

“There will be players coming out of this draft will become good NHL players for a long time,” Wright said. “There will be players coming out of the second and third rounds who’ll be NHL players. We just have to find them.

“We’re talking about 18-year-olds. There’s a lot of good players that are lumped together, so you just select them and develop their abilities.

“There’s parity in this draft.”

Trade talk

It seems like half the league is looking to make a trade — and the Red Wings are apparently in that group.

TSN reported the Red Wings were one of four teams pursuing New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic, although the reported asking price was steep.

The Islanders are apparently asking for two first-round draft picks, a monster price for a defensive defenseman.

Goalie Petr Mrazek is likely on the trade market, but the list of teams in need of goaltending is shrinking.