Seven prospects who could be available when Red Wings pick No. 6 in NHL draft
Detroit — The Red Wings aren’t going to pick in the top three of the NHL Entry Draft.
That was made official during Tuesday’s draft lottery.
For that matter, the Wings aren’t picking in the first five.
The Wings, just as last season, will pick No. 6 overall. It was a mildly disappointing turn of events, considering the Wings had the fourth-best odds (9.5 percent) of picking first overall — and a 28.8 percent chance of landing in the top three.
Gone, in all likelihood, are dreams of selecting forwards Jack Hughes (U.S. National Development Team), Kaapo Kakko (Finland) and Vasili Podkolzin (Russia), all of whom are projected as the top three picks, having separated themselves from the rest of the draft.
Most Red Wings fans have concentrated on those three forwards regarding this draft. But with the Wings falling to No. 6, there remain a large group of players who’ll help teams.
A number of quality offensive prospects from the U.S. National Development Team Program, several quality defensemen, and some big centers from the Canadian junior ranks will be available.
Here are some prospects to get acquainted with for the next two months before the Entry Draft on June 21-22 in Vancouver, as possible Red Wings’ picks at No. 6:
► Dylan Cozens, center, Lethbridge (WHL), 6-foot-3, 181 pounds: Likely to go to either Colorado (No. 4) or Los Angeles (No. 5), the Wings would be awfully tempted — and pleased — to land the big, crafty Cozens. He had 84 points during the season, with 50 assists.
► Bowen Byram, defense, Vancouver (WHL), 6-foot, 195 pounds: The Wings have a good amount of forward prospects. It’s on defense where they are thin, so getting a quality young defenseman would be beneficial. Byram, on most early draft boards, is regarded as the best defenseman in this class. Scouts love his skating and offensive game, and Byram likes to play a physical game, too. The only drawback right now is Byram needs to add some muscle to his frame, but many scouts project Byram as a future No. 1 defenseman in an NHL lineup.
► Trevor Zegras, center, USA National Development Team, 6-foot, 165 pounds: A phenomenal offensive player, Zegras and many of his teammates have slightly been in Jack Hughes’ shadow. But Zegras is an impact offensive player. He is a terrific puck distributor who isn’t big physically, but makes up for it with speed and shiftiness.
► Kirby Dach, center/right wing, Saskatoon (WHL), 6-foot-3, 200 pounds: Dach has moved up slightly in many of the latest draft boards. A good-sized center who is an elite passer, he can hang onto the puck and knows how to make plays.
► Alex Turcotte, center, U.S. National Development Program, 5-foot-11, 190 pounds: The son or former NHL’er Alfie Turcotte, Alex has the skill to some day become a No. 1 center in the NHL. He has terrific speed, and possesses great vision. His stock could rise by draft day.
► Matthew Boldy, left wing, U.S. National Development Program, 6-foot-1, 187 pounds: Scouts love Boldy’s hockey sense, unselfishness, and NHL-ready size. The Wings have a lot of wingers in the organization, but Boldy might be tempting.
► Victor Soderstrom, defense, Sweden, 5-foot-11, 176 pounds: A fine skater and stickhandler, Soderstrom grades out outstanding on the defensive end, where in some cases, young defensemen are usually further behind. Despite his lack of size, Soderstrom also plays a physical game and enjoys the hitting aspect.