This will be a lengthy 2-parter with a lot of information to help everyone get even more prepared for next week, so bear with me. The draft is fast approaching, and this will be a huge few days for the future of the Detroit Red Wings. By now, especially if you follow WIIM actively, you know a good amount of the who, what, when, why portion of next Friday’s draft, so let’s jump right into it with the pick everyone is focused on.
We’ll divide this into two main sections: the likely three to be taken, and three others that could be in contention. By now, I’m sure you are all well-informed as to who will/should be available as this has been the main topic for us Red Wings fans since the lottery. So we won’t go into too much detail on each player, but let’s jump right into it, and then we want to hear from you.
Evan Bouchard, D London (OHL)
- The consensus among Wings fans that I have talked to is that Bouchard seems to be the favorite pick. However, the biggest question is, will he be there? Bouchard posted an eye-popping 87 points in 67 games for the London Knights this year and could really be a huge help for the Red Wings blue line for years to come.
Adam Boqvist, D Brynas IF (SHL)
- For most of the winter, Boqvist seemed to be the 2nd-ranked defenseman behind Rasmus Dahlin going into the draft. Since then, Bouchard, Quinn Hughes and Noah Dobson all have made their case for that #2 spot. An incredibly raw, two-way defenseman who has some serious potential down the road, potential the Red Wings would love to get the most out of.
Quinn Hughes, D Michigan (NCAA)
- In my opinion, Hughes is the best offensive defenseman in the draft. I know, I know, Dahlin is very good. But having the privilege to call one of his games while he was at Michigan, he’s impossible to miss. He may be a little undersized, but he can skate, shoot, pass and score like no other. If he improves a bit defensively, he’d be a great top-pairing D-man for the Wings.
Noah Dobson, D Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
- Now, I know many could see Dobson being in Tier 1, and I think he’s close, but most of the talk I have seen has been about Hughes, Boqvist and Bouchard. Not to mention many have Dobson going at #4. However, Dobson is another in a long list of possible D options that end up being available at #6, and his 69 points in 67 games this past season sure helped that. He’d be a great help for the Wings blue line as well.
Oliver Wahlstrom, LW USNTDP (USHL)
- Now we get to the two forward options. Let’s face it, I think 95% of Wings fans would be upset if they don’t take a defenseman at 6, but if you’re in that 5% who want to draft a forward, Wahlstrom is your guy. The Boston College commit had 94 points in 62 games for the USNTDP this past season and certainly could become a big-time scorer in the NHL.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi, RW Assat Pori (SM-liiga)
- Again, for those who are looking at forwards, Kotkaniemi and Wahlstrom are pretty much 1A and 1B for the Red Wings. The 17-year-old Fin possesses an eye-opening shot along with a solid overall game that could help this incredibly raw forward develop into a problem for opposing NHL teams as he continues to shoot up draft boards.
No more discussion, assuming these 6 are available, who are YOU taking at #6 for the Red Wings?
This poll is closed
#30, 33, 36
Obviously, everyone is well aware the Red Wings have 4 picks in the first 36 selections. The latter three are basically all early 2nd rounders thanks to Vegas’ success in the postseason. Essentially, these three picks are going to be much tougher to predict, but if you’re like me, you’re hoping 3 of the Red Wings first 4 picks have to be defenseman. So I’ll give you a “10 Best” list so that you can become more comfortable with some of the possible options that could be out there for the Red Wings.
1. K’Andre Miller, D USNTDP (USHL)
- It was tough to make this list, because you really don’t know who will be available. So ignore the rankings and focus on the players. Miller is one of several top prospects from the USNTDP going into this draft, and a big defender on the blue line. Standing at 6’4”/205, he is an incredibly raw defenseman with a high ceiling and one of the only reasons he isn’t higher on draft boards is because he recently switched from forward to defense not too long ago. I really do think he could be a huge add for the Wings with one of their 2nd round picks, and hope to see them take a shot on Miller.
2. Adam Ginning, D Linköpings HC (SHL)
It must be something about Swedish defenseman that always catches my eye, but Ginning is another one of those prospects with big-time potential. He’s not really a threat offensively, but his overall play on the blue line is as solid as it comes. He plays his position very well, can win battles in the corner and is a great defenseman to have on the PK. Watch out for Ginning as the Red Wings picks start to approach in the 30’s.
3. Filip Hallander, C/LW Timra IK (SHL 2)
Finally, a forward who I’d be ok with the Wings taking. Hallander put up 20 points in 40 games as a mere 17-year-old in the Swedish Hockey League last year. He’s an immensely aggressive player who is not afraid to throw his body around, but also has a good offensive game to him as well. He can play both on the wing and at center, so his versatility and overall game could be a nice added boost to the Red Wings forward prospects.
4. Jett Woo, D Moose Jaw (WHL)
Woo was once projected to be a lottery pick, then a combination of injuries and poor play led to his stock falling and now he could land right into the hands of the Red Wings. Obviously as a former lottery projected pick, the talent is there for Woo. He finished with 25 points in 44 games for Moose Jaw this past year and is well-known for his great skating ability and two-way style of play. Woo would be a great pick for the Red Wings once we get to the 30s.
5. Mattias Samuelsson, D USNTDP (USHL)
Another one of those top USNTDP prospects that the Red Wings could enjoy taking. The Western Michigan commit stands at 6’4”/216 and that is an asset in his game as he’s known to bang bodies and win battles in the corner. More known for his good defensive play, Samuelsson still posted 31 points in 58 games this past year. Defense is the name of the game going into the draft for the Red Wings, and Samuelsson would be a nice add to that department.
6. Ryan McLeod, C Mississauga (OHL)
McLeod is probably the most likely on this list to not be around in the 30’s. However, if he slides, I’m even ok with the Red Wings drafting him right at 30. He put up 70 points in the OHL this past year and brings incredible skating and speed to his game up the middle, which the Red Wings seem to be building around already. He is also well-known for his passing and vision and could end up being one of the better forwards drafted this year.
7. Martin Kaut, RW Pardubice (CZE Extra)
Kaut would really help the Red Wings youth department on the wing. He’s a playmaking Czech who was one of the breakout stars across the board at the World Juniors tournament this past year in Buffalo. He added 16 points in 38 games in the Czech league as well, and comes into the draft with an already well-developed overall game that could really be an added bonus for the Wings up front.
8. Jack McBain, C Toronto Jr. (CCHL)
The Boston College commit could be another nice add up front for the Red Wings. Mcbain put up 58 points in 48 games north of the border this past season, and McBain is one of the big time high ceiling prospect coming into the draft that, if developed properly, could be a big time center in the NHL. He has all the makings of becoming a big-time power forward, but is it worth the the possible long developed ahead for the 6’3” center?
9. Calen Addison, D Lethbridge (WHL)
Addison is a prospect I really like and could be a big time sleeper in this years draft. A right-handed shot from the point, he racked up nearly a point-per-game in the WHL last year. His offensive game has developed nicely over the years and, with a little fine tuning, Addison could easily turn into a Top 10 talent. Hopefully the Red Wings scouts agree and they take a shot at him because he really could be one of the best picks of the 2018 draft.
10. Olivier Rodrigue, G Drummondville (QMJHL)
Of course I didn’t forget the goaltenders! However, there’s a reason I may have because this is a very, very thin goaltending draft. Rodrigue is the highest-rated goalie, and most predictions have him going mid-2nd round. So unless teams get desperate for a young goalie, he should be available for the Red Wings. He posted a 2.53 GAA, .903% and 31 wins in 53 games last year in the QMJHL. He’s positionally sound, has good lateral quickness and could be the goaltender of the future for the Red Wings if they decide to pull the trigger on him.
Well hopefully you guys enjoyed and got all of that. Regardless of who is drafted, we’ll all be monitoring those four players closely through the years. And hey, maybe we even get to see one of them next year. It’s a big couple of days coming up for the future for the Red Wings, so until we get there.... Go Wings!