Well, it's over. The season is over, and now it is time to shift focus onto the NHL Draft, which will be held in Buffalo, New York on June 24th and 25th. I know it's somewhat depressing to start talking about this so soon, but times-a-ticking, and there's no rest for the wicked.
As it stands right now, the Red Wings will pick 16th overall in the first round. This can change if the Minnesota Wild make a run to the Western Conference Final, but the odds are not in their favor. At 16th overall, the Red Wings would have their second-highest first round choice since drafting Martin LaPointe. We all saw what happened when the team took rookie star Dylan Larkin at 15th overall in 2014, so Detroit is in a very good spot to draft a very talented prospect.
Are you sure they don't pick 15th overall? That doesn't sound right.
Determining Draft Order
From the NHL's Hockey Operations Guidelines:
ii) The Clubs which participated in the preceding playoffs (but had not been ranked first in their respective Divisions and had not won the Stanley Cup that season) in order of points earned by each of them in the regular schedule of the preceding season starting with the Club having the lowest total points and followed by the Club having the next lowest total points, and so forth.
Detroit had the second-fewest points out of all teams in the Playoffs, right behind Minnesota. Moving on...
Trading Up In The Draft
There are going to be a lot of speculation from media if the Red Wings should do this. They did it last year. I have a very staunch opinion on this. Take a look at the NFL, for instance. The Philadelphia Eagles traded the 8th, 77th, 100th overall picks in 2016 along with a first-round pick in 2017, and a second-round pick in 2018 to the Cleveland Browns for a the 2nd overall pick in 2016, along with a 4th-round pick in 2017. They gutted assets to move up six picks. The NFL is obviously vastly different than the NHL, because prospects will often step into a role at the professional level.
Top-tier talent such as Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, Aaron Ekblad, and Jack Eichel are a premium in the NHL. Why? Because there are so few prospects in hockey that can make an immediate impact at the pro level. With that being said, trading up in the NHL Draft often results in a vast overpayment. Not to mention the assets that would be required to get a top-five-or-so pick might not be something Detroit has.
So no. No trading up. Stay the course, use what you have, or trade down and stockpile more picks.
Best Player Available
Everyone wants the team to draft a defenseman. I'm of the opinion that drafting by position with your first pick in this league is a bad idea. Does the team need defense? Absolutely. The issue is that they need defense now. The chances of them drafting a defenseman that can make an immediate impact at the NHL level is slim-and-none. Not to mention the fact that an organization like the Red Wings wouldn't be caught dead bringing an 18-year-old player directly to the NHL.
No, you take the best player available. There's a slew of talent that will be available with a mid-first-rounder like Detroit has. My short list:
Jake Bean - Defenseman (I think he'll go before the Wings can get him, but he's a stud. All-round talented in both ends)
Tyson Jost - Center (I'm in love with this kid's talent, could be available)
Max Jones - LW (Raised in Rochester, MI. Big kid, lots of talent)
Logan Brown - Center (6'6", 218 lbs, has 117 points in 115 OHL games. No-brainer)
Dante Fabbro - Defenseman (Tore it up in the BCHL, committed to Boston University)
Alex DeBrincat - Center (Another Michigan kid, very small, but scores an alarming amount of goals. Back-to-back 50-goal seasons in the OHL)
That's just a small handful of names that I've had my eye on. As the weeks come, I'll start profiling these players with the assistance from Future Considerations. As it stands right now, the Wings have a 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th round pick to their name. There's always the chance of trading down, but I think they've grown into stockpiling top-talent with their (sort of) high draft picks.
If you've had your eye on any prospects, please discuss. There's a ton of talent in this year's pool. Let no name go unheard!