Red Wings: Offense or Defense in First Round of NHL Draft?

There’s now a real debate on if the Detroit Red Wings should take offense or defense in the 2020 NHL Draft with prospects Alexis Lafrenière, Quinton Byfield and Tim Stuetzle likely off the board.

Offense or defense?

With the Detroit Red Wings dropping back to No. 4 overall in the 2020 NHL Draft following the lottery last month, the team now has a decision to make.

Do they go for a forward or defenseman? If Detroit would have stayed the course and landed the No. 1 overall pick, forward Alexis Lafrenière was the obvious selection – despite more of a defensive need on the roster.

Now with the No. 4 overall pick, the options are open for a forward, defender or even a goalie if general manager Steve Yzerman doesn’t like what he has in the system.

On defense you can likely pencil in Erie Otters defenseman Jamie Drysdale. Naturally, I chose Drysdale with the No. 4 overall pick back in April when I was toying with the idea of them falling. Fantasy is now reality and I still believe Drysdale is the pick.

Sure there are guys emerging such as in-state prospect Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit (OHL), Lucas Raymond of Frolunda (Sweden) and Marco Rossi of the Ottawa 67’s (OHL), but I think the smart pick is the best defenseman in the draft and another building block on a blue line that struggled.

Of course, all aspects of this team struggled, but I like the forward prospect pool for the Red Wings more than I do the defensive one. I’m not sold on 2016 first round pick Dennis Cholowski given his NHL inconsistencies, and then the few other options outside of Moritz Seider include Gustav Lindström, who played consistently well without many mistakes as a first-year player, Jared McIsaac and Joe Hicketts.

Meanwhile, offensively the team has potential with numerous forwards such as 2015 and 2017 first round picks Evgeny Svechnikov and Michael Rasmussen respectively, along with 2018 first round pick Joe Veleno, who I am high on based on how he turned out in the EA Sports NHL video game, along with news of improvement earlier this year. Add in fellow 2018 first round pick Filip Zadina and combine these forwards with the trio of Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi, and you’re more well off offensively than you are with the Swiss cheese defense out there this past season.

Take Drysdale and move to the second round.