Kevin Bahl, Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
Position: D (Left-handed)
Age on Draft Day: 17
2017-18 Stats: 58 GP, 1 G, 17 A, -21
Projection: 29th (NHL Central Scouting), 34th (Future Considerations)
At 6’6”/231, Bahl towers over everyone on the ice. People rave about his shutdown defensive abilities, which, let’s face it, the Red Wings have needed since Lidstrom retired. Scouts already claim he is very strong on the puck for a 17-year-old and tough to push around (no kidding). He should fall right into the Red Wings lap at 30, 33 or 36. The need for defense is an obvious one; the need for a shutdown, Top 4 defender, however, may be the biggest need of all. Players like Dekeyser, Ericsson, Kronwall, etc. haven’t been able to fill that role, which they are being paid to fill, and the youth movement seems to be upon us now so there’s no reason the Wings shouldn’t take a shot on Bahl.
Bahl is never going to wow anyone in the stat department, but that doesn’t mean he won’t help fill a Red Wings need down the road. Obviously at only 17, he’s still a ways away from reaching the NHL, but that doesn’t mean the talent isn’t there. Bahl has already said that he is really working on creating offense from his defense, and that could be another huge skill set for the Red Wings. He still has a ways to go, and yes, is a left-handed shot too, something the Red Wings have stockpiled over the years, but a big-bodied, shutdown defenseman could be exactly what the Red Wings need down the road.
I’m sure by now he’s reminding everyone a bit of Jonathan Ericsson. However, Bahl’s expectations, compared to Big E’s, are much different in the sense of how mature Bahl’s skating and puck moving abilities are going into the draft, and the fact that he has 1st-round potential (Ericsson was the last pick of the 2002 NHL Draft). Bahl uses his size to his advantage, and still with room to grow, could be a great asset on the Red Wings blue line in a few years.
Here’s a decent pre-draft clip on Bahl (not the best clip, but look at how big he is):
Would you take Bahl even though you may not see him in a Red Wings uniform for 5 years?
This poll is closed
Yes, but has to be in the 2nd Round
Only if he slips into the 3rd Round or later
No, too much of a risk