The Detroit Red Wings select center Nate Danielson with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Level Draft.
Leading up to the draft, adding a highly-impactful forward had to be at the top of the grocery list for general manager Steve Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings. Danielson, 18, is a right-handed 6-foot-2 two-way center. In Danielson, Detroit gets some much-needed size up front and another center to slot in behind Dylan Larkin and Marco Kasper in the near future.
Danielson played the last three seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League (WHL). Danielson recorded 33 goals and 78 points this past season over 68 games. Notably, Danielson captained the Wheat Kings this past season, which says a lot about his character.
Nate Danielson projects as a top-two center in the future for the Detroit Red Wings.
Here is Sportsnet’s Jason Bukala’s scouting report;
"A rangy centreman who does his best work at even strength and on the PP. Ability to make plays coming off the half wall and taking pucks to the net or distributing. Not shy about going to the hard areas and engaging physically either.Skating has room to go to another level, but he arrives on time at this stage of his development. Projects as a top six NHL forward."
Danielson said he tried to mirror his game to 6-foot-3 center Dylan Cozens, a former No. 7 overall pick by the Buffalo Sabres in 2019.
In other news, it did not take long for the first ‘surprise’ of the night to occur. Connor Bedard was selected first overall, as expected by the ‘lottery luck’ Chicago Blackhawks. Bedard is a generational talent that has the ability to turn any franchise around. Conveniently, the Blackhawks land the league’s next superstar a few months following the end of the Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane era.
The Anaheim Ducks elected to select center Leo Carlsson. This was somewhat unexpected as many had Michigan’s Adam Fantilli as the sure-bet No. 2 overall selection. Fantilli would go next to the Columbus Blue Jackets, who will be naming former Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock as their new bench boss this Saturday. Babcock is expected to sign a two-year deal that averages $4 million per season.
The San Jose Sharks selected Will Smith fourth overall, and the Montreal Canadiens took defenseman David Reinbacher fifth. That Montreal choice had a plethora of rumors surrounding it. Montreal likely had an opportunity to trade the choice to a team willing to select Matvei Michkov. Just when you thought the Russian forward would be next, the Arizona Coyotes picked 6-foot-4 defenseman Dmitri Simashev.
Michkov was selected seventh overall by the Philadelphia Flyers, just two picks before the Detroit Red Wings. The Washington Capitals selected Ryan Leonard with the eighth pick overall. Leonard plays with a mean streak and has been mocked to the Detroit Red Wings multiple times over the past few months.