Here we go. The 2016 NHL Draft is just over a month away, and it's time to start profiling players that Detroit could end up taking. If you haven't paid much attention to such things, the Red Wings will be picking at 16th overall in the first round, which is the second-highest they have picked since drafting Martin LaPointe.
Every year it seems like we're clamoring for the same thing - An impact defenseman. We go through the same song and dance as it is very difficult to draft an immediate impact NHL player with a middling pick. There's always speculation if the Red Wings should trade up to get into a position to draft an elite prospect, but I think the drop in talent outside of third overall is something not worth mortgaging assets over this year. In fact, if you know me at all, I rarely think it's worth it. Trading up is expensive. It really isn't something Detroit can afford to do.
So, we're going to assume we are staying at 16th overall. We'll kick off our draft profiles with one of my favorite defensive prospects among the top 30, and that is defenseman Jake Bean of the Calgary Hitmen.
Name: Jake Bean
Born: June 9th, 1998 -- Calgary, Alberta
Weight: 172 lbs.
Bean is an interesting case, because I have no idea why he isn't considered to be a guy who would go in the top ten draft picks. He's extremely intelligent with, and without the puck. While he isn't exactly a big guy (mind you, he's 17 years old), Bean's skating abilities are highly underrated. He has a great stride, and can keep up with the attack. His ability to carry the puck through all three zones makes him an instant asset for any defense.
Jake Bean is highly-touted as a "complete" defenseman. He's shown that he has the ability to provide potent offensive instincts as well as stout defensive abilities. Here is what EliteProspects had to say on the 17-year-old blueliner:
A shifty and intelligent defenceman that plays with panache and poise. An excellent skater that is a good puck-carrier up the ice. Makes very good decisions with and without the puck, and plays strong positionally. Works hard and doesn't give the opposition much to work with, but could stand to be a bit more assertive during high pressure situations. That being said, he is not a one dimentional player. He displays natural talent in the offensive end, but also plays a complete defensive game in his own end. He has a proactive stick and boxes the opposition out, limiting lanes. All-in-all, the type of all-around defenceman that you want to have on the ice as much as possible.
Bean has been partnered with Travis Sanheim, one of the Flyers' top defensive prospects. When you look at highlights from Bean's play, you can tell that he has a real knack for creating shooting lanes using his shifty skating antics. When you mix that with great shooting ability, you have an offensive threat. I look at Jake Bean to be a solid number two defenseman who can play in all situations - Something the Red Wings desperately need in the near future, or right this moment.
NHL CSS: 15
Future Considerations: 16
It'll be close, but there's a decent chance Jake Bean will be available when the Red Wings are on the clock.
Any time you can draft a complete defenseman like Jake Bean, you do it. There's no doubt that the Red Wings need help with defense, but the problem is that they need it right now. Bean isn't a player like Aaron Ekblad who could step into the NHL level as a rookie and play top minutes.
The way I see it, you give Bean one, maybe two years of development and transition him into the NHL in a second-pair role. From there, you gradually move him into tougher competition and bigger minutes. At the end of the day, Jake Bean has all of the tools to be an all-situation defenseman with game-changing skill and abilities. Should he be available at 16th overall, you can consider him to be in Detroit's crosshairs.