Just a few hours closer to the NHL Draft (7pm, in case you forgot). Let's take another look at the mock drafts.
He reminds me of the player I want Justin Abdelkader to be.. Physical, strong on the puck, but actually skillful in other areas like scoring and puck movement. I think with the recent pickup of Tomas Nosek, the Red Wings have the luxury of drafting a winger as opposed to a center. Usually you don't draft by position in the first round, you just take the best player possible. If Tuch is available at 15th overall, I have a hard time believing he wouldn't be the best pick available.
Michael Petrella, formerly of The Production Line, but still the voice behind @TPLHockey on Twitter, who helped us out last year when we took Anthony Mantha in that mock draft, posted a large draft profile over at Detroithockey.net where he absolutely pores over all the options. When it comes down to running out the first round, Petrella selected center Dylan Larkin, a hulking Michigan native who'll spend several years in the NCAA before turning pro.
Meanwhile, NHL.com posted three mock drafts. Here are their experts' takes.
|Adam Kimelman||Mike G. Morreale||Steven Hoffner|
|Jack Dougherty, D, USA U-18 (USHL)||Julius Honka, D, Swift Current (WHL)||Adrian Kempe, RW, Modo Jr. (SWE-JR)|
|"Red Wings have added youth and skill to their forward group the past few years; now is the time to focus on smart, skilled defensemen."||"Played a key role for Finland at the 2014 World Junior Championship. Excelled in his first North American season with 16 goals and 56 points in 62 games; good awareness and excels on the power play."||"The big, smooth-skating forward would fill a need up front for an aging forward group."|
So a mix between defense and European coming from the NHL experts. Makes sense.
Over at TSN, Bob McKenzie has put together his final draft rankings. It's not a mock draft per se, but he has center Kevin Fiala out of Sweden's HV71 club as his 15th-ranked prospect. For the actual mock draft, TSN had Craig Button run it. For the Wings' spot, he picked Jared McCann, a 6'0", 180lb center out of Sault Ste. Marie, calling McCann a "200-foot player"
Over at USA Today, Kevin Allen also had the Wings taking center Dylan Larkin of the U.S. Under-18 team, saying this about him
The dependable two-way forward would fit perfectly into Detroit's puck-possession offense. He's a good skater.
For what it's worth, Allen had Tuch still on the board with that pick. Elsewhere at USA Today, Kyle Woodlief took David Pastrnak
There's a ton of these with picks all over the place. Here's how it runs.
|Staff||Hockey's Future||Dylan Larkin - LW||"Dylan Larkin is an assertive, playmaking forward who has excellent hockey sense and can contribute at both ends of the ice. A Michigan native, he should be a great fit for the Wings and will be given plenty of time to develop at the University of Michigan."|
|Justin Bourne||The Score||Brayden Point - C||"As a smaller forward, Point models his game after Buffalo Sabres forward Tyler Ennis."|
|Allan Muir||Sports Illustrated||Kevin Fiala - C||"Forced you to pay attention every time he was on the ice. Was a point-a-game guy in Swedish juniors, and didn't blink when he was promoted to play against the men. Thinks as fast as he skates. Has that ability to make a play when it looks like he's out of options. Great vision. He's magic when the puck's on his stick. High-end offensive instincts. High-ceiling player."|
|Sam Cosentino||Sportsnet||Jakub Vrana - C||"There's some Pavel Datsyuk hiding in there. Enough said."|
|Russ Cohen||CSN Philly||Brendan Perlini - LW||The Red Wings need some more offensive powerhouses in the cupboard. Perlini wins puck battles and can score down low. Detroit likes these kinds of players, and he's only a few years away from playing in the NHL.|
|Nicholas Goss||NESN||Kasperi Kapanen, RW, KalPa (Finland)||"Kapanen is a great skater, a good puck handler and an improving playmaker. He hasn't performed that well in Finland at the club level recently, and that has hurt his draft stock a bit, but he still projects to be a top-six forward."|
|Patrick King||Sportsnet||Robby Fabbri - C||"Fabbri is a high-end talent with off-the charts offensive ability."|
|Corey Pronman||ESPN.com||Sonny Milano - LW||[none available] - Here's Eliteprospect's page on him.|
|Mike Finewax||Yahoo||Brendan Perlini - LW||"Every team is looking for a goal scorer and Perlini could be the best of this bunch. He had trouble in the playoffs as he is not a physical player and he still needs to work on his defensive game."|
|Allan Mitchell||Bleacher Report||Jakub Vrana - LW||"He plays with determination and drive, has an excellent work ethic and is a very fast skater with excellent all-round skills. He is able to control the game and create a lot of scoring possibilities with his quick moves." - Goran Stubb, for NHL.com|
|Dan Di Sciullo||Miami Herald||Julius Honka - D||"Honka, a Finnish defenseman playing in the WHL for Swift Current, has a skill set modeled after Ottawa Senators blueliner Erik Karlsson."|
As you can see, ideas are all over the place for this year's draft. The going consensus is that there's a drop-off in talent behind the absolute top-tier guys and this could drive the Wings to trading down in hopes of recovering another pick to make up for their lack of a 2nd-rounder. Based on their history, this wouldn't surprise anybody, but they'll have a lot of options if they choose to keep the #15.