NHL Draft Primer: Does Steve Yzerman like Cole Eiserman?

"Eiserman" is linked with the Detroit Red Wings. However, don't blindly commit to putting the winged wheel on his chest on draft day.
Michael Miller/ISI Photos/GettyImages

Phonetically, the name “Eiserman” is synonymous with The Detroit Red Wings, but don’t let the Hockey Gods tempt you with the name and blindly chain yourself to the thought of putting the winged wheel on his chest come draft day. The people of Calgary may already be doing that with Tij Iginla in the hope of reenergizing the fanbase by adding the son of a franchise legend. But in Cole Eiserman’s case, there is no biological relation to the current general manager and Red Wing legend. However, offensively, you may see some similarities. 

A little over five years into the Yzerman GM era in Detroit, it has become clear that he and his scouting department have a “type,” especially when it comes to forwards taken early in the draft. Responsible 200 ft skaters appear to be admired by the front office of the Red Wings. Marco Kasper, Nate Danielson, and Carter Mazur all seem to fit that bill.

In the past, Yzerman has had the opportunity to draft highly skilled forwards who have lacked the same skill without the puck on their stick, ultimately passing on the risk of a defensive black hole and opting for the “safe” player. We now sit at a fork in the road. Does Yzerman continue straight and continue to stockpile the prospect pool of players with that same archetype and attempt to copy the Carolina Hurricanes model? Or does he take a look at what the future of this organization is missing and take a swing at true offensive talent with the ability to score 40+ goals?

Let’s look at the traits Cole Eiserman has in his toolbox that make my heart race and my palms sweaty:

Skating: A+

He is a tremendous skater—I do not say that lightly. Outside of Dylan Larkin, there is not a single player on the Detroit roster who is a better skater than Eiserman. This includes his stride, backchecking ability, and deception when entering the offensive zone. 

Shooting: A+

Anyone who has followed the USNTDP or the stars who have come out of the program is aware that Eiserman broke the goal-scoring record formerly held by Cole Caufield (126). He finished with 127 goals in 119 games with Team USA. He is not a one-trick pony, either. Unafraid to shoot from anywhere on the ice, Eiserman is a threat to opposing goaltenders whenever he has the puck on his stick. 

Passing: B+

The vision is there. He has the ability to execute cross-seam passes and creates scoring chances that defenders can hardly see coming. However, passing the puck is not always his first choice. But hey, a shooter is gonna’ shoot! Luckily, when the decision to take the shot is made, a good offensive chance is bound to come shortly after. 

The offensive ability that he carries rivals anyone else in the draft pool.

Defense: C-

This has been the Achilles heel for Eiserman this past season. A year ago there were whispers of him being a top-2 pick in the upcoming draft, but since then, scouts have brought into question his play without the puck. At times, he floats around the defensive zone, waiting for the puck to find him rather than playing his man and battling for it. Some of that may be due to his size, or lack thereof, but regardless, at the professional level, coaches will not let that sort of play fly in their system. 

Cole Eserman has already committed to Boston University and will have time to develop and learn within a well-run program. In all reality, if Detroit has their eyes on him to be the scoring punch that they need, a trade-up into the draft may be required. A scoring talent like the one that he is will not be available for long come draft day. Whoever the lucky club is to snag him will have an offensive juggernaut maturing in college, just waiting for his opportunity to show the world how good he actually is.