Radko Gudas. Nikita Kucherov. Brayden Point. Anthony Cirelli. Adam Erne. Those are five of the most notable selections in Rounds 2/3 from Yzerman’s tenure in Tampa prior to 2017. With four picks from #35-66, these next picks will decide the Red Wings future. Forget Seider for a minute, that discussion can continue after today. Since 2010, only two Red Wings draft picks in Rounds 2 and 3 have played more than 100 games in Detroit, Tyler Bertuzzi and Xavier Ouellet. Filip Hronek is well on his way to that number, but isn’t quite there yet. Bottom line, the Red Wings 2nd and 3rd round picks have been well below-average in the last decade. I’m not saying we need every pick to be elite, all-stars, but you have to find the quality there among those four picks that continue to help this team build to the future.
Here is who I believe will be the best players available (based on mock drafts and “experts” analysis) at 35, 54, 60 and 66.
RW, Arthur Kaliyev: 51 G, 51 A, 67 GP (Hamilton, OHL)
-The biggest faller of the draft, could be an awesome steal or big bust. The reason he has fallen is because teams are worried about his attitude and competitiveness. Could he be worth the risk for Detroit?
RW/LW, Raphael Lavoie: 32 G, 41 A, 62 GP (Halifax, QMJHL)
-From what I read, he’s comparable to Mantha. When he is on, oh man is he on, but he can disappear at times too. Another high risk, high reward player.
LHD, Alex Vlasic: 4 G, 23 A, 61 GP (USNTDP, USHL)
-Why not have the tallest D pair in hockey in 2022? Seider is 6’4,” Vlasic is 6’6.” Seider is a two-way guy, but more defensive. Vlasic is much more of an offensive D-man, although the reason he wasn’t a 1st round pick is because teams are worried of his offensive ceiling.
RW, Bobby Brink: 35 G, 33 A, 43 GP (Muskegon, USHL)
-Not the best skater, and only 5’8,” but his offensive game is 2nd to none. Again, another high risk, high reward type player here. But if the Wings can develop his skating ability, oh boy.
LW, Nils Hoglander: 7 G, 7 A, 50 GP (Rogle BK, SHL)
-His numbers don’t wow you at first, but he played among professionals last year. However, many believe he will develop into one of, if not the, best playmaker of the draft. He might be my favorite of the group here at 35.
LHD, Mikko Kokkonen: 3 G, 16 A, 56 GP (Jukurit, Liiga)
-Undersized D, but another prospect who played pro hockey last year. No scouts are wowing over his abilities, everyone just labels him steady and consistent.
G, Hunter Jones: 28-24-2, 3.31, .902% (Peterbrough, OHL)
-One of these picks I want a goalie. I understand Larsson and Petruzzelli are in the system, but outside of Knight, scouts are raving about Jones and he’s the highest rated goalie prospect left. I wouldn’t mind taking him, maybe even at 60 if he falls.
RW, Nathan Legare: 45 G, 42 A, 68 GP (Baie-Comeau, QMJHL)
-He’s a slow developer, meaning he won’t play in the NHL for a while, but many believe he gets better and better every year and has the potential to be a great Top 6 forward.
LHD, Henry Thrun: 8 G, 29 A, 64 GP (USNTDP, USHL)
-One of the overlooked D-man on the USNTDP. Many have Thrun has being one of the better two-way, 2nd pair guys for a long time in the NHL.
C, Ilya Nikolayev: 10 G, 15 A, 41 GP (Loko Yaroslavl, MHL)
-There aren’t many flaws in Nikolayev game, it all comes down to development now. Never a bad idea to draft a player like that, especially at center.
C/LW/RW, Shane Pinto: 28 G, 31 A, 56 GP (Lincoln/Tri-City, USHL)
-Pinto is seen as high as 45 and as low as 106 across mock drafts. He’s a low risk, high reward player who went from a 21st round pick in the USHL last year to finishing 13th in the league in points.
C, Nikita Alexandrov: 27 G, 34 A, 64 GP (Charlottetown, QMJHL)
-After the Top 15 picks, the center position really thinned out. However, I’m a believer you can never have too many centers and the Red Wings should take one at some point over the next four picks. He’s a great two-way player, who has the potentially to develop into a Ryan O’Reilly type down the road.
LW, Patirk Puistola: 11 G, 11 A, 25 GP (Tappara U-20, Jr. A SM-Liiga)
-Despite a tough adjustment when sent up to the Finnish pro league, Puistola still has all of the tools to be a great Top 6 forward down the road.
RHD, Jordan Spence: 6 G, 43 A, 68 GP (Moncton, QMJHL)
-He’s still small in stature, but offensive game and hockey sense helps him dominate power plays. He has the possibility to become very similar to Torey Krug way down the road.
There you have it. Keep the comments flowing. Let’s have a great Day 2! LGRW.