TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the NHL is considering moving the 2021 NHL Draft to 2022, where both drafts would be held back to back. Dreger adds that general managers would be in favor of this move along with the prospects affected by the lost time due to the pandemic. Regardless of what happens (it’s a CBA issue that has to be agreed upon), here a few reasons could be a massive win for the Red Wings.
Could the 2021 pick be used to grab a higher pick in 2022?
Though we wouldn’t get a draft fix that we were hoping for after what appears to be another long season of losing, it would give the Red Wings some more options with the 2022 draft. Shane Wright is draft eligible for that 2022 draft and what if the Red Wings have that same dreaded lottery luck in 2022 but actually have the lottery ball bounce the (W)right way for 2021? With drafts weeks apart and players adequately scouted for both, could 2021 draft stock be used to move up in 2022? If Wright is the “can’t miss” prospect who is indeed along the lines of Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby, then it wouldn’t matter if Yzerman offered two high picks for the first overall. The more prudent–and likely–option is that Yzerman will stay true to his draft philosophy which is getting as many spins at the wheel as possible.
2021 Draft Picks might be more “NHL ready” a year later
This of course hinges on development and a multitude of factors but each one of those players that have a year longer to train, play, and hone their skills will have a shot at contributing at the NHL level sooner. A couple years down the road, there’s a good chance that Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond will both be everyday players in the 2022-23 lineup. If Detroit does get a top three pick, early projections from Bob McKenzie include Owen Power, Simon Edvinnson, Dylan Guenther, Matthew Beniers, and Brandt Clarke.
The interesting note here is that three of the top five on McKenzie’s board are defenseman–four in the top ten. The ability to add another projected top tier defenseman is available, and could build a backbone on the blue line that has been missing for almost a decade.
If in fact the 2021 draft does move back to 2022, it will open an interesting array of choice for the Red Wings. With more cap room, prospects ready to make the big league roster, 2022 is looking to the be the season where Red Wings fans will have a lot to look forward to.