Predicting the Pick: Red Wings will reach for a productive forward in the NHL Draft

The Detroit Red Wings will have more than a fair share of top-end forwards with the No. 15 pick, but the best one hasn’t been spoken about often.
SKA Hockey Club player, Nikita Artamonov (79) seen in action...
SKA Hockey Club player, Nikita Artamonov (79) seen in action... / SOPA Images/GettyImages

My recent team-by-team mock draft saw the Detroit Red Wings land a solid forward prospect at No. 15, but Igor Chernyshov is a player who I would personally go with if the NHL Draft turned out identically to what the simulation gave me in that exercise. There was one other player I strongly considered, however, and one who I can see Steve Yzerman unofficially selecting before the Wings are even on the clock. 

In a recent mock draft that involved my own picks and no simulation in which I predicted who would go where, not selecting who I would go with, Nikita Artamonov fell to the Red Wings. I swapped him in for Chernyshov, who ended up going 17th overall to the Washington Capitals. 

One reason I would lean toward seeing Yzerman going with Artamonov instead of my preferred pick of Chernyshov is that the former put up some exceptional numbers in the KHL for such a young player, finishing his first season with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod with 23 points, seven goals, and 16 assists in 54 regular season games. 

Red Wings could land an already accomplished prospect in the pro game

There are a few talents overseas who have played well for their respective big clubs, with Jukurit’s Konsta Helenius also jumping out. But Helenius didn’t last long in my one-round mock, as the Seattle Kraken took him eighth overall. But Artamonov, who should be free to continue his career in North America for 2026-27, could be nearly ready for the NHL ice by that time. 

And best yet, it’s hard to see anyone picking before the Red Wings reach for him, and I’m not saying it’s a bad reach. Whether my mock draft carries more hits than misses or if it’s busted after the Chicago Blackhawks pick No. 2 overall, Artamonov will be there at No. 15.

While Artamonov fared well in the face of top-level competition in Russia, his skill set isn’t the flashiest, and you can argue he carries no elite attributes. He’s also just 5’11, 187 pounds, so you’re looking at a winger who holds a slight build, and that can also be a setback. 

Either way, very few 18-year-olds enjoy such sound productivity in the KHL so early, and if Artamonov builds on that success in 2024-25 and 2025-26, there will be an NHL organization out there that will be very happy they took him. If you ask me, the Red Wings will be that franchise, even if some may consider taking Artamonov at No. 15 to be a reach. 


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