Red Wings: Simon Edvinsson or Luke Hughes if Available at #6?

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The talk surrounding the Detroit Red Wings’ sixth overall pick often asks one of two questions:

  • Will they use that pick on Swedish goaltender Jesper Wallstedt?
  • How might Steve Yzerman surprise everyone this time?

With a plethora of potential high end talent likely to fall (take your pick in what has been described as an unpredictable draft on many occasions), what if both Simon Edvinsson and Luke Hughes are available at the sixth overall pick? The caveat of course being that several of the teams in front of Detroit need defenseman.

But in the event that both fall–who would be the likely pick?

Why the Red Wings take Edvinsson over Hughes

OT’s Alex Faber wrote about Edvinsson weeks ago and argues that he may be the second best defenseman in the draft after Owen Power. In mock drafts and prospect rankings, he’s been listed everywhere from fourth to 12th. He checks a lot of Yzerman’s boxes topping out at 6’4, features a high hockey IQ, skates well, and can take charge on the power play if needed.

The Red Wings also know a thing or two about players from Frolunda, where the development of many high end prospects has been lauded. Edvinsson’s ceiling has also been talked about extensively, which of course harkens back to this guy named Mo Seider.

Playing in a professional league, having the hallmarks of an Yzerman defenseman (big, skilled, smart) and being from a pipeline that Detroit is familiar certainly favors Edvinsson over Hughes.

Why the Red Wings take Hughes over Edvinsson

There’s an awful lot to like about Luke Hughes. He, too, checks a lot of the boxes off for an Yzerman-esque defenseman, but boy, would that left hand shot look pretty incredible running a power play with Seider–or giving stability on a second power play unit. His speed is next level and seeing him buzz around the ice creating chances is something the Red Wings desperately need on the blue line.

Hughes sounds an awful lot like Quinn, and in many respects, maybe even better–offensively. But his defense, as Alex wrote a few weeks ago, is still developing. Does that automatically disqualify him, being that head coach Jeff Blashill was a stickler when it came to defensive accountability (just ask Dennis Cholowski).

Here’s a blurb that the Athletic’s Corey Pronman used to describe his final ranking of Hughes, which seems like a microcosm of the draft:

"Ask five different people from Hughes’ trajectory to this point about him and you’ll get five different trains of thought."

The Verdict

Should Yzerman choose between one of the two, I would lean Edvinsson in that reading about him and viewing his highlights reminds me of watching Seider after Yzerman told wary fans to “google him.” The Frolunda connection–a spot the Red Wings obviously trust–seems another clincher.

This isn’t to say Hughes isn’t better or not as good–I honestly believe it to be a toss up. But if both defensemen are available at sixth overall, I would expect to see Yzerman select the 18-year-old Swede who seems to fit what he’s building best.

More. Alec Martinez, an Abundance of Cap Space, and what the Wings could do. light