With the NHL Draft Lottery settled and the Detroit Red Wings picking 9th in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft they have the chance to draft a possible franchise defenseman in Timothy Liljegren or at least a very very good defenseman.
I know many of our readers look out west, and see what Jakob Chychrun is doing for the Arizona Coyotes and can’t help but think what if?
Chychrun, was in a similar situation as Liljegren rated highly with little or no chance of falling down to Detroit. Then slowly but surely we heard the whispers and then he started to drop in mock drafts and dropped to 16 in the actual draft, where Detroit was picking and we know the history of how that played out.
Today, it is more of a don’t make the same mistake twice. Detroit needs defenseman who have a chance to be the rock of your blueline. Remember, all we hear is how these type of defenseman are only usually available through drafting. With that, if the opportunity presents itself you cannot pass on that type of a player in a position you desperately need to upgrade two years in a row.
Liljegren missed most of for first part of his season with Mono and from all reports from the draft experts he did not play well when he returned. So, his rating is falling. Red Wings general manager Ken Holland and his staff, should not even have a single thought of hesitation in taking Liljegren if he is available at pick nine.
In his latest rankings TSN’s Craig Button has Liljegren ranked as the eighth best available player and behind defenseman who he has ranked as the top defenseman available and fifth best player overall.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie’s latest mock draft, has Liljegren slipping down to 12th. He has defenseman Miro Heiskanen going fourth and Makar going seventh.
As McKenzie writes; “Liljegren missed much of the first half of the season with mononucleosis. While he's still viewed as a prospect with a high offensive ceiling, his spotty play in the second half, combined with Heiskanen greatly elevating his play, resulted in a big swing for both players.”
McKenzie, had Liljegren in his preseason ranking, as the second best player available in the draft. Saying; “The Swede is the undisputed top defenceman in this draft and, at this point, it's not even close.” and “No one is suggesting he's the next Erik Karlsson, not by any means, but scouts say he has some of the same qualities and, therefore, has the potential to be projected as a possible top pairing defenceman in time.”
Finally, if you needed anymore confirmation that Liljegren is falling Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek has him ranked seventh and falling. In his April prospects rankings, which was just released. He previously ranked him third overall.
Marek writes; “A strong and well balanced skater who possesses a really good shot. Good puck mover who likes it on his stick a lot. Some scouts feel he’ll be better around better talent.”
Nothing that is out there is knocking Liljegren in any specific way other than he missed time from being sick and that could be Detroit’s gain.
Depending on how the draft night falls, Detroit may have to decide between all three (least likely) or some combination of the two. If defense is the route you want to take in the first round and if Liljegren is available, Detroit needs to select him. With the way things appear now you may very well have that chance.
Between the three defenseman mentioned, who do you want the Red Wings to draft?
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