As we prep for the 2021 NHL draft (July 23 and 24), a reader email asked if there were plans to do a recap of how last year’s Detroit draft class has fared. I figured that this post would be a good answer to that question.
#4 overall - Lucas Raymond (LW)
After seeing pretty much the only three players I would have taken prior to Raymond go off the board, the Wings selected the highly-skilled Swedish winger.
Raymond signed his three-year entry-level contract with the Red Wings in April. He’s been playing in the top Swedish league for the last two seasons already and will be given an opportunity to compete for a spot on the Wings.
Raymond put up 18 points in 34 games in Sweden’s top-tier league before being sidelined with an arm injury that required surgery in February to remove bone fragments from an elbow fracture. Prior to then he was a frequent feature on Twitter sites dedicated to sharing highlights from prospects overseas (like @IceHockeyG). His agility, puck-handling, and vision give Red Wings fans plenty to dream about for a future with the team.
The considerations of Raymond making Detroit’s roster next season involve how ready Steve Yzerman feels he is to translate his game to the North American surface and whether the team might want to keep him under the 10-game threshold which would allow his contract to automatically extend one more year.
Raymond’s primary contract for next season is his entry-level deal with the Wings, so he can play with Detroit or be assigned to Grand Rapids. The Wings could also assign him to play over in Sweden for another year, but he is currently not under contract with them and the SHL is not comparable to the AHL in terms of simply accepting themselves to be a developmental pipeline to North America.
#32 Overall - William Wallinder (D)
The Wings drafted the 6’4” 192-pound defenseman out of Modo from the Hockey Allsvenskan (not to be confused with the football Allsvenskan). Sweden’s second-tier hockey league often sees players move between clubs here and clubs in the top-tier SHL.
Wallinder has been and continues to be praised for his skating ability. His season with Modo saw him put up six points in 43 games with 14PIM and a -12 rating for a club that was third from the bottom of the standings in their league. He missed the World Juniors this last season due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the team.
The experience for the soon-to-be 19 year old was good, even if the club’s season wasn’t great. Wallinder will be moving up to the SHL next season and will play his 2021-22 games with Rögle BK where he’ll try his very hardest to replace outgoing Moritz Seider.
#22 William Wallinder, drafted at 32nd overall in 2020 by the Red Wings. Playing for Modo in Allsvenskan. pic.twitter.com/FBq3zYUvUy— IcehockeyGifs (@IcehockeyG) December 6, 2020
Wallinder will also be representing Sweden in the World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth Michigan from July 18th-August 2nd in case you’d like the opportunity to see him in person.
Wallinder remains unsigned by the Red Wings, but the club will retain his rights while he continues to develop in Sweden. He is under contract with Rögle for the next two seasons.
#51 Overall - Theodor Niederbach (C)
Keeping up the Swedish connection, Steve Yzerman made his third consecutive pick of the 2020 draft from the land of Kronwallings. Theodor Niederbach drafted out at 5”11 and 172 after spending his entire season climbing back from a previous knee injury that forced him to play up from the third to the first line on a Frölunda U20 team that featured familiar names like Lucas Raymond and Elmer Söderblom.
The right-shooting center continued his career back on the Frölunda U20 team putting up 35 points in 19 games for the league’s most dominant team before the remainder of their season was canceled in early November. Niederbach moved up to the main club from there putting up just five points in 20 games and a more-limited role before he was loaned out to Modo for 15 games where he put up 9 points. Niederbach rejoined his SHL team for seven games before they were eliminated by Moritz Seider’s Rögle in a 2nd-round sweep. Niederbach put up one point during that span.
Niederbach will be joining Wallinder with team Sweden at that World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth. Also like Wallinder, he remains unsigned to his entry-level contract and will have his rights retained by the Wings. He’s under contract with Frölunda through next season.
There’s the first three picks wrapped up and the three picks with the greatest chance to make an impact for the Wings going forward. We’ll follow up with more on the remaining picks soon. Stay tuned!
Remaining 2021 Red Wings Draft Picks
55 - Cross Hanas (LW)
63 - Donovan Sebrango (D)
70 - Eemil Viro (D)
97 - Sam Stange (RW)
107 - Jan Bednar (G)
132 - Alex Cotton (D)
156 - Kyle Aucoin (D)
187 - Kienan Draper (RW)
203 - Chase Bradley (LW)