The list of those who were less than impressed with the Red Wings’ work at the NHL draft this past weekend appears to be deep.
Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports called the Red Wings’ draft crop the weakest in the NHL, and he wasn’t alone in panning Detroit’s selections. The Red Wings also made the “loser” list at ESPN, NBC Sports, and SB Nation.
The Wings had 11 picks in the seven-round draft, including four in the third round. That matched the New Jersey Devils for second-most in the draft, behind the expansion Vegas Golden Knights (12).
“Once known for their draft-day steals and magnificent prospect development, the Wings have hit a snag in recent years,” writes Andrew Knoll for ESPN. “That finally manifested at the top level, where they snapped their quarter-century streak of playoff berths last season. This draft might not be the one to turn things around, despite the Wings making 11 selections.”
Knoll quotes Dennis MacInnis, the director of International Scouting Services, saying, “They just took a lot of guys that all the scouts were looking at each other and saying, ‘Who?’ ”
James O’Brien of NBC Sports shared Wyshynski’s sentiments, similarly gathering that “some believe that their draft was the worst of them all, which isn’t great considering the declining opinion of GM Ken Holland overall.”
Pat Iversen of SB Nation singled out the Wings’ top pick, Michael Rasmussen, calling the center “the first red flag” of the Wings’ draft, preferring center Gabriel Vilardi instead.
The Wings took Rasmussen with the No. 9 pick. Vilardi went to the Los Angeles Kings at No. 11.
“Neither are 200-foot players at this point, but Rasmussen’s 5-on-5 numbers indicate he might be much more one-dimensional going forward,” Iversen wrote. “He’s their top center prospect now, but if they had drafted both then Vilardi would be far ahead of him. I didn’t get it.”
The Wings didn’t get much better in Iversen’s view on Day 2.
“Detroit spent Day 2 taking a bunch of different players with different skill-sets, but none that stand out as impressive selections,” Iversen wrote. “This might be a decent base to your rebuild, but other teams (New Jersey, Los Angeles) came away with better rebuild returns than Detroit.”
It hasn’t been all bad for the Red Wings, however. Bleacher Report gave the Wings’ draft a B-plus, and ESPN’s Corey Pronman gave it a B-minus (pay site), though he writes he wasn’t thrilled with the Wings’ output given their number of selections.
“... In the middle of the Wings’ class they targeted a lot of boring, low-upside types that just don’t do a lot for me,” wrote Pronman, who also thought Rasmussen might have been picked too high. “For the amount of picks the Wings had, they could have done more, and they don’t seem to be drafting like the skill/IQ Wings of the days of yore.”
RED WINGS DRAFT PICKS
Round 1 (No. 9 overall): Michael Rasmussen, c, Tri-City (WHL)
2. (38) Gustav Lindstrom, d, Almtuna (Sweden).
3. (71) Kasper Kotkansalo, d, Sioux Falls (USHL).
3. (79) Lane Zablocki, rw, Red Deer (WHL).
3. (83) Zach Gallant, c, Peterborough (OHL).
3. (88) Keith Petruzzelli, g, Muskegon (USHL).
4. (100) Malte Setkov, d, Malmo Jr. (Sweden).
5. (131) Cole Fraser, d, Peterborough (OHL).
6. (162) John Adams, rw, Fargo (USHL).
6. (164) Reilly Webb, d, Hamilton (OHL).
7. (193) Brady Gilmour, c, Saginaw (OHL).