Detroit Red Wings fans seemed to shrug along with general manager Steve Yzerman once Bill Daly flipped the card to reveal the Winged Wheel picking sixth. If they weren’t going to win it last year, they weren’t going to win this one either. But the relief seemed to be more in not falling than getting the top pick in what has the potential of being a chaotic draft.
Every projection in the world can be made by the best experts, but there’s no telling where anyone will go outside of maybe Owen Power. Even then, I’m still not sure he’s a lock at first.
Red Wings Can Go in Any Direction
Chris already highlighted that Detroit needs a center or a goalie while Alex pinpointed William Eklund as an NHL ready option that could solidify Detroit down the middle. But this draft has potential to truly be a game of whack-a-mole once it begins. Buffalo’s safe choice in a year that has been anything but kind to them seems like their best play. Then again, maybe it’s where the chaos begins–right at the top. What if they go with Matthew Beniers or Eklund instead of going defense first which some analysts believe they’ll do?
For the Red Wings, the options are wide open. Defense doesn’t seem like a higher need and one that can be addressed in later rounds knowing that the likes of Moritz Seider, and Albert Johansson (among others) are waiting.
The real intrigue centers around Jesper Wallstedt and whether Yzerman will take him sixth. Some mocks have him going anywhere from Detroit to even falling out of the top fifteen (which doesn’t seem too likely).
Yzerman Offers little Clues
In typical Yzerman form, there wasn’t much to decipher except for this little nugget courtesy of the Winged Wheel Podcast:
Now does it mean Yzerman and his staff haven’t graded a goalie in the top ten? Or that he’s just doing some misdirection? At this point in his managerial career, analysts and pundits know that Yzerman is attempting to be a few steps ahead. I’ve written it before but the best part of having Yzerman running things is that there’s always a level of unpredictability. From him stepping down in Tampa, to taking the job on April 19th, to drafting Seider right on down to trading Anthony Mantha away.
All the speculation aside, it will be a fun wait to see what he does not only as the Expansion Draft approaches but then on draft day itself.