3 first-round talents the Red Wings can steal in Round 2 of the NHL Draft

Picking in the middle of Round 2, there is always a first-round talent in the NHL Draft who can slip to the Detroit Red Wings.
Medicine Hat Tigers v Winnipeg Ice - Game 2
Medicine Hat Tigers v Winnipeg Ice - Game 2 / Jonathan Kozub/GettyImages
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Since Steve Yzerman took over, he’s made the Detroit Red Wings one of the most enticing teams to watch at the NHL Draft, and that will be no different this year when a handful of first-round-caliber prospects fall to the second round. If one or more of these talented players make it to the middle of the second, Yzerman will at least grant them strong consideration. 

He can only take one of the players listed below, but if he’s lucky enough to scoop one of the three, the Red Wings will be walking away from the draft with not one but two first-round caliber talents. This is assuming Yzerman doesn’t make any big trades on Day 1 or 2 of the draft regarding his first and second-round picks, as that always remains a possibility. 

But if he keeps the picks, Detroit’s rich prospect pool will get even more lucrative, especially if the player listed third on this list falls to the middle of the second round. 

Jesse Pulkkinen, D/JYP

One of the older players in the 2024 NHL Draft, Jesse Pulkkinen’s age shouldn’t deter Steve Yzerman or anyone from taking a chance on him. For one, he’s one of the most towering blueliners in the draft at 6’6 and a solid 220 pounds, giving him the most ideal combo of size and muscle than perhaps the rest of the field. 

A player with Pulkkinen’s size could make you automatically think he’s an old-school defensive defenseman whose strength lies in the defensive zone. But this couldn’t be further from the truth, as while physical, “offensive defenseman” is one phrase Elite Prospects uses to describe him. 

In 2023-24, he played 29 games in Liiga and put up eight points and two goals, which is sensational for a player who never played at Finland’s highest level in the past. And he was lights-out in SM-sarja, with 11 goals and 28 points in 18 regular season games, good for 1.55 points per contest. When you tack on the 10 points and four goals he scored in seven playoff games, Pulkkinen’s final numbers were 25 games, 15 goals, and 38 points, or 1.52 points per game.