When thinking about trading down in any draft, GM's must have a game plan. It should include the obvious teams where a deal could work and a game plan of players you're interested in moving down for. With the 16th pick in this years draft Red Wings general manager Ken Holland could have a few but one specific attractive player to trade down for and gain an extra pick(s) in the process to improve the depth of the organization.
The first name that comes to mind, and will be mentioned most often to trade down for is center Alex Debrincat, featured by Kyle in our draft profile series. Despite his size, his offensive firepower cannot be ignored.
Debrincat, ranked 21st by Central Scouting, 24th by the Hockey News and Sportsnet has him ranked 24th. We also have to assume some teams will have him rated higher and lower on their draft boards.
For reference, in 2013 when the Red Wings drafted Anthony Mantha, they traded down with the San Jose Sharks acquiring the 20th and 58th (selected Tyler Bertuzzi) overall picks for pick 18.
Looking at this years target areas between the 19th-24th overall selections and the picks each teams possess between the first through third rounds, the New York Islanders (19th and 80th) Arizona Coyotes (20th, 37th and 67th) , Carolina Hurricanes (21st and 50th), Winnipeg Jets (22nd and 36th), Florida Panthers (23rd, 33rd, 75th and 83rd just acquired from Vancouver), and the Anaheim Ducks (24th and 84th) are the target teams.
Anaheim is out, as the value of the picks they possess this year is not enough to warrant moving down from 16th to 24th. What about the Islanders? Out. You would like to get a little more value back in a trade.
Carolina becomes the first team to zero in on to receive a similar return as in 2013. At 21st overall Debrincat may or may not be there, which is why it is an obvious risk if he is your target player and Holland would need a few more options in play in case he has been selected.
Arizona and Winnipeg are the next likely trade partners for receiving a second round pick. Would they be willing to move a high second round pick in such a deal?
However if during the draft, the Red Wings see it playing out in a way where they are confident they will get a real quality player at by moving down to 20th and by also acquiring the 67th overall pick from Arizona or Florida with the 23rd, 75th and 83rd picks could also be a more likely option.
Keep in mind the Red Wings do not have a third round pick this year. That pick was sent to the New Jersey Devils in the 2015 Marek Zidlicky trade.
Other options to consider trading down for are German Rubtsov (profiled by Kyle), Logan Stanley the 6'6 defenseman projected by the Hockey News to develop into a "Shutdown defender" where a scout described him as having "all the attributes you want to see in a big frame." They have him rated as the 19th best prospect in the draft.
Another option is 6'5 forward Riley Tufte, who could be a good option for the future up front as he is projected by The Hockey News in their The Hot 100 Draft Preview to develop into a "power forward" and ranked as the 22nd best prospect in the draft while described as a scout as "the best raw prospect I've seen come out of Minnesota."
Whatever route Holland and the Red Wings choose at the draft, without a doubt he will be exploring every option available and as long as the Red Wings remain in the first round they should come away was a good prospect for the future.