Detroit Red Wings sign former seventh-rounder in shocking move

The Detroit Red Wings have agreed to terms of an entry-level contract with forward Emmitt Finnie, a seventh-rounder from the 2024 NHL Entry Draft.

New York Islanders v Detroit Red Wings: A shot of Patrick Kane's jersey.
New York Islanders v Detroit Red Wings: A shot of Patrick Kane's jersey. / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

The Detroit Red Wings made a big move today. They signed one of their 2023 NHL Entry Draft picks to a three-year, entry-level contract. It may not be one of the premier names in the draft class, but it is a shocking move nonetheless. Signing a player who was drafted last summer seems like a notable decision.

Emmitt Finnie was the Detroit Red Wings' seventh-round draft choice last summer. He came to Detroit's organization and put together a great season in 2023-24, helping him earn this contract. It's not the norm for players taken in the later rounds to sign an entry-level deal this quickly, but the Red Wings obviously feel confident in what Finnie brings to the table.

He's an 18-year-old forward who is working his way through the minors, hoping to be an impactful player one day. It's hard to sit here and call seventh-rounders future impact players, but signing this deal makes me want to buy in on Finnie cautiously. Maybe that's overtrust, but we're not making any sweeping career value statements today. Plus, I'm an admitted-Steve Yzerman truther.

He's a left-handed shooting forward who can play wing or up the middle and seems like a winger in the long term, but he has played center in his amateur leagues. He spent 2023-24 with the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL, turning some heads with his performance and looking great.

Detroit Red Wings buy stock in Emmitt Finnie's future.

Finnie played in 62 games, scoring 19 goals and 40 assists for 59 total points. This is nearly a point-per-game clip in the WHL for Finnie, who was able to really tap into some of his tools and show why teams should have taken him and potentially taken him earlier in the draft.

The thing that concerns me about Finnie is his minus-25 rating throughout his season with Kamloops. He's got to work on improving that as time continues, and he plays more games throughout his road to Detroit. The good news is that his season is not over. He's heading to Grand Rapids.

After signing his entry-level contract with the Red Wings, the team opted to send him to the American Hockey League (AHL) to join the Grand Rapids Griffins. He'll likely play on an amateur tryout contract for the remainder of this year. Since his entry-level deal does not kick in until the 2024-25 season begins.

Either way, this is a contract that offers a pure vote of confidence for the Red Wings to get him in with the organization and signed. An entry-level deal should allow the team to start mixing him in with the Griffins to see what he can do. If he can find some success, then Steve Yzerman might have found a diamond in the rough with Finnie.