Well, it’s official — the Red Wings won’t be drafting the cornerstone defenseman that they so desperately need. Or will they? Okay, so Rasmus Dahlin is going to Buffalo, which isn’t surprising. After they worked so vigorously hard to land Connor McDavid, I guess it was time the hockey gods threw them a bone. As we look forward to the Draft this summer, there’s going to be a lot of speculation as to what the Red Wings should do.. Should they trade down, trade up, etc. I say it every year, the only option is either keeping the pick, or trading down.
The talent drop-off from 1st overall to 2nd overall is extremely sharp. Players like Filip Zadina, Andrei Svechnikov, and Brady Tkachuk are great prospects, but they are not worth mortgaging assets for. I like 6th overall for the Red Wings, despite the fact that they dropped a spot. I’m going to run a quick mock draft and break down what the Wings should do. Keep in mind, it’s really early, so if you want to yell at me, don’t.
1st overall: Buffalo Sabres - Rasmus Dahlin
Duh. He’s the best in the draft, and the Sabres desperately need a blue-chip rearguard.
2nd overall: Carolina Hurricanes - Filip Zadina
I think the Canes will just go with ‘best player available’ here. Zadina and Svechnikov have pretty equal value if you ask me, but I think they’ll lean towards the Czech winger.
3rd overall: Montreal Canadiens - Brady Tkachuk
The Habs need a top centerman. Tkachuk has size, skill, and plays with physicality. This team loves that. He could basically end up being a center-version of Brendan Gallagher.. That’s if the Montreal media doesn’t tear down his character and turn him into a villain like they do with every other young talented player they get.
4th overall: Ottawa Senators - Andrei Svechnikov
I actually think the Sens may try and trade this pick, but for the sake of the article, I have them sticking to BPA. Svechnikov is a dynamic scoring winger, and this team needs help on just about every front.
5th overall: Arizona Coyotes - Adam Boqvist
The Yotes went defense in the 1st round last year, but I think adding another skilled Swedish defender to their cupboard is a good move. I contemplated them possibly going in on a forward like Oliver Wahlstrom, but I like going defense. They’re stacked with young talent at forward.
6th overall: Detroit Red Wings - Quinton Hughes
I’ve been a huge fan of Hughes since the start of UofM’s season. He helped the Wolverines go to a Frozen Four with a first-year coach, and put up some impressive numbers for a rookie defenseman. He doesn’t have a big frame to work with, but that doesn’t matter in my opinion. He’s a shifty player with elusive skating ability, and a mind for offense. At the same time, he’s great along the boards, wins battles, and plays a sound game in his own zone. If the Wings draft Hughes, the team will likely have him play out another season in the NCAA, and then encourage him to go pro. He’s less of a project player in my eyes.. Plus — he’s going to grow.
So, I’m usually a proponent of going best player available in any draft. I personally think Hughes is the BPA in this situation, but I’m sure many of you will question that. Luckily for the Wings, I think they’re safe with setting their sights on a defenseman at 6th overall. If they want to add to their forward corps, they can do so with the later 1st round pick they have from the Vegas Golden Knights.
The argument is do you take Quinn Hughes, or Evan Bouchard? Both are extremely talented players who have put up impressive numbers. I’d be happy with either of them, but Hughes played in a league with (in my opinion) stronger competition, better players, and he still acted as an anchor as a freshman. That’s tough to do, especially in the Big Ten, one of college hockey’s most-competitive divisions.
At the end of the day, I think the Red Wings have a real shot at adding a turning point in the teams defensive woes. Hughes is an elite decision-maker who has mobility, talent, and the ability to QB in all situations. Does the team feel the same way? I’m unsure. They’ve stressed size so much over the past couple of drafts that it’s tough to see where they go. Bouchard has the size, he has the offensive output, and he’s a damn good player, but I don’t see him on the same level as I do Hughes. Again, I’d be happy with either of them, but my money is on the Maize and Blue here.
LIVE: Talking about the 2018 NHL Draft, and taking your questions!Posted by Winging It In Motown on Sunday, April 29, 2018