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NHL mock draft 2015: Detroit Red Wings Select Jeremy Bracco with No. 19 Overall Pick

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Tom Sorensen

The Red Wings are in a position where they can use prospects at just about any position. The position of need is defense, of course, but there is still concerns that the core of forwards might be a bit thin. Either way you look at it, you can never have too many prospects, no matter what position. Detroit holds the 19th overall pick, which in reality should be good enough to land a very promising player since the 2015 Draft class proves to be so deep. You can follow along with SB Nation's Mock Draft here, and read up on all of our picks and analysis.

The first and second overall picks went just as expected, Connor McDavid went to the Oilersvia The Copper & Blue, and Jack Eichel went to the Sabres - via Die By The Blade. A lot of the names I had in my scope were taken before Detroit was on the clock, and here is a look at how the picks turned out so far:

Here we go...

With the 19th overall pick in SB Nation's 2015 NHL Mock Draft, the Detroit Red Wings are proud to select, from the US National Development team and Boston College commit, forward Jeremy Bracco.

Photo: Tim Sorensen

Electrifying talent all in one small package.

While this might not have been the pick a lot of Red Wings fans wanted to see, I decided to choose based off skill. With all of the more alluring names taken in terms of defensemen, my gut told me to draft Bracco. The Red Wings still have a lot of great defensive prospects, and could use a flashy right-handed Patrick Kane-like player. While Bracco is listed as a center and a winger, due to his size he is best kept on the wing. Bracco was likely going to fall into the second round, and as I tried to work with some other teams to make a trade down situation happen, I was unsuccessful. Is it a risk taking him at 19th overall? Maybe, but all of scouting reports gush about how talented this kid is. Bob McKenzie had great things to say about the New York-native winger:

Bracco has great confidence with the puck and he’s looking to make plays and break defences when he has it.  He can make pinpoint passes in traffic and through sticks and skates. He could shoot more and become a greater threat in that regard. He has good agility but improving his explosiveness quickness would make him that much more dynamic.

With players like Oliver Kylington, Jeremy Roy, Jakub Zboril, and Nick Merkley taken before 19th overall, I was left with a bit of a tough decision to make. At the end of the day, if you're extremely high on a certain prospect, you should find a way to acquire them. Perhaps a lot of people are concerned with Bracco's five-foot-nine, 173 lbs frame, but you have to remember that the kid is still growing. The fact of the matter is that he plays a much bigger game than his size tells you. He doesn't hesitate to go in the dirty areas and engage in battles. The best part about Bracco? He's a puck-handling virtuoso, with creativity, and elite vision for the game. At just 17 years old, Bracco broke the career mark for most assists in NTDP organization history. The record-holder? Patrick Kane.

Detroit isn't going to get a player that can move to the NHL next year at 19th overall. Most of the names hovering around 19th are what we call "projects." They're players who need development, and time to cook. While I don't realistically think Ken Holland would take Bracco at 19th overall, he's still a very high-reward player.

In every level Jeremy Bracco has played, he has been over a point-per-game player. He's energetic with the puck, and has a knack for setting up his teammates with highlight reel assists. There are some knocks on his two-way abilities, but since he's not a player likely to jump to the NHL anytime soon, he'll have plenty of time to develop a stronger two-way game. All in all, you draft a player like Bracco because he is an offensive catalyst. He's a guy you could put on Riley Sheahan or Dylan Larkin's wing with complete confidence.

Scott Wheeler of Pension Plan Puppets, and McKeen's Hockey did a great writeup on Bracco back in January, here's what was said:

On the day NHL Central Scouting released their midterm rankings, with Bracco ranked at 36 among North American skaters, he said they don’t change anything.

"I mean, 36, 2, 7 or 10, you always want to be better and get higher and beat the next guy in front of you or the next five guys in front of you," he said, adding that every player should have a chip on their shoulder to push them to be better.

"The end goal is to play in the NHL and rankings really don’t matter for that," he said.

Still, Jeremy said he recognizes that as a smaller player it’s up to him to prove he can play against bigger competition. He said he believes he’s done that this year.

His size isn’t the only challenge he’s had to overcome either. After being one of the last cuts from the U.S. World Junior Team this year, Jeremy has tried to turn a negative into a positive.

If you missed it earlier back in May, I did a prospect profile on Bracco which dishes up on a more in-depth look of what kind of player he can be.

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