NHL Draft Recap and Day 2 Primer

Still basking in the glow of yesterday? Me too

I don't know about you, but day 1 of the NHL Draft was way better than I thought it was going to be.

The first 2 picks went exactly as you would expect, with Auston Matthews and Patrick Laine going to Toronto and Winnipeg, respectively. Columbus shocked us all by going off board to select Pierre-Luc Dubois third, allowing Edmonton to swoop in and take Jesse Puljujarvi. A bunch of teams made a bunch of picks, until it was Detroit's turn to use the 16th pick.

Ken Holland, who obviously reads Twitter and comment sections because he knew how terrible a GM he was, shocked the hell out of us when he traded the 16th pick to Arizona along with Pavel Datsyuk's contract for the 20th and 53rd picks in this year's draft along with the corpse of Joe Vitale. The trade can only be described as a steal, because just this week we were all told that it would take the Wings throwing in a 2nd round pick along with a prospect or two to move the dead cap space.

Hey Ken, what are you going to with that new cap space?

The Wings kept the 20th pick and selected Dennis Cholowski, a defenseman from the BCHL. Here's what Kyle had to say about him:

Cholowski is noted as an offensive defensemen with a lot of raw talent. It was an unexpected pick, but they got their defenseman. He's an extremely good skater, though he will need some work with lateral movement. I'd say he's a bit of a reach at 20th overall, and most would agree, but he is a good player that can be developed into a top-four NHL guy.

Cholowski seems to be a project, but with the current logjam on defense already well established, and with him going to college, he'll have time to develop his game in the hopes of getting his shot in the next 3-4 years. Tyler Wright, the Wings' Director of Amateur Scouting, told Kyle that the Wings like Cholowski because of his skating ability and overall intelligence.

Around the NHL, several trades were made, some involving moving around the draft board, but some involving roster players. Montreal traded Lars Eller to Washington for picks, then used those picks to obtain Andrew Shaw from the Blackhawks. Calgary got their goalie when they picked up Brian Elliott from the Blues in exchange for the 35th pick. That likely means that Jimmy Howard isn't going anywhere unless something really weird happens.

Rounds 2-7 begin today at 10 am ET, and the Wings will have 6 picks after obtaining an additional 2nd rounder from Arizona as part of the Datsyuk deal. Here's where they'll pick:

  • 2nd round - 46th overall
  • 2nd round - 53rd overall (from Arizona)
  • 4th round - 107th overall
  • 5th round - 137th overall
  • 6th round - 167th overall
  • 7th round - 197th overall
Things always get a little dicey to predict in terms of who will be picked once you get out of the first round, but there are still some quality players available, including Vitalii Abramov, Samuel Girard, Alex DeBrincat, Rasmus Asplund and Pascal Laberge. Whether any of them will be available when the Wings pick remains to be seen, but Wright told Kyle that Detroit could look to trade down tomorrow thanks to the newly acquired pick.

Overall, it's pretty easy to grade the Wings' first day of the draft as an A or A+. They drafted a defenseman, a position that they need to stock up on, but most importantly got rid of Pavel Datsyuk's contract and did so without giving up anyone off the current roster or a prospect already in the system. What Holland and the rest of the management team do with the cap space remains to be seen, and I know there are people out there that will still say he sucks at his job, but for one night, Holland and the Red Wings did pretty much everything right.