Can the Red Wings find hidden gems in NHL Draft? Here are 10 possibilities
Detroit – So much has been talked about who the Detroit Red Wings might select with the fourth overall pick in the first round of the NHL Draft.
But what about the second round? Or the third round? This is a deep draft, and the Red Wings have an opportunity to grab some talent after the first round. With three second-round picks and two third-round picks, there will be opportunities to swipe talent for Detroit’s rebuild.
The Wings have 11 picks overall in the seven rounds of the draft. General manager Steve Yzerman talked about the importance of finding those sleeper picks after the first round while talking with the media after the draft lottery.
“You need some of those picks to turn into players,” Yzerman said. “If it's just going to be we’re going to draft and count on our first-round pick playing every year, it’s going to take forever to build a good team. We're going to need players to come in the second and third round, the later rounds, year to year.
“You’re not going to hit on every pick every year, obviously. You’re not going to hit on your first pick every year as much work as we do on it. It’s imperative, that speeds the process up.”
Here are some prospects to keep an eye on for the draft, who are likely to be selected after the first round.
Ozzy Wiesblatt, RW, Prince Albert – Wiesblatt (5-foot-10, 183 pounds) has been linked to the Wings on several draft projections and is ranked 19th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. Wiesblatt’s size scares some scouts, but his hands and competitiveness are NHL-worthy.
Thomas Bordeleau, C, USNTDP – Playing in Plymouth Township for the U.S. junior program, Bordeleau (5-foot-10, 175 pounds) was ranked 29th by Central Scouting among North Americans. Bordeleau is a smart playmaker who knows where to be on the ice and is an excellent at faceoffs.
Jake Neighbours, LW, Edmonton – Ranked 26th by Central Scouting among North Americans, some projections have Neighbours sneaking into the first round. At 6-foot and 195 pounds, Neighbours has a lethal shot and is dangerous on the power play. Speed is a drawback but Neighbours seems to get better every season.
Jean-Luc Foudy, C, Windsor – Central Scouting ranked Foudy 33rd among North Americans thanks largely to an intriguing skill set. Foudy is only 5-foot-10 and 177 pounds and didn’t have a breakout season, but you get the feeling the best is yet to come.
Alexander Pashin, RW, Tolpar Ufa (Russia) – Ranked 22nd among European skaters, Pashin is only 5-foot-8 and 154 pounds, but he has the skills and potential that has always interested Wings’ scouts. Scouts rave about Pashin’s stickhandling.
Joel Blomqvist, G, Karpat (Finland) – The Wings will draft a goalie at some point and Blomqvist is highly regarded. He’s ranked third among European goalies and at 6-foot-1 and 182 pounds, moves in the net well, although some scouts like taller goalies these days.
Anton Johannesson, D, HV-71 (Sweden) – Johannesson is listed at 5-foot-9 and 144 pounds, so he’s going to need time to grow physically. Johannesson checks all the boxes when it comes to his offensive and skating abilities but has had trouble staying healthy, and he has a ways to go defensively. Perfect Wings’ pick in the middle rounds.
Dylan Peterson, RW, USNTDP – Peterson is ranked 43rd among North American skaters and at 6-foot-4, 192 pounds, he could grow into a physical force. He’s a good skater, and isn’t afraid to use his size, but the production hasn’t been there and has yet to make a significant impact.
Theodor Niederbach, C, Frolunda (Sweden) – One of the leading scorers in Sweden, Niederbach (5-foot-11, 172 pounds) is a terrific set-up man but his speed is average, at best. Niederbach (ranked 19th among European skaters) is also coming off a knee injury, which could make him a sleeper pick somewhere in the middle rounds.
Yevgeni Oksentyuk, LW, Flint – The Belarus native played in Flint this season where he had 45 assists and 78 points. Oksentyuk (ranked 109th North American skater) is only 5-foot-8, 163 pounds, but has NHL type offensive skills, but he might not have the skating ability to make it at the NHL level.