| The Detroit News
Detroit — Who will the Red Wings select with the fourth overall pick on Oct. 6?
It’s a question that, if not asked daily around these parts, is at least asked often as hockey fans eagerly await next season — whenever that’ll be.
The Red Wings have needs. A lot of them. At every position group. So they could go in a variety of directions, and any player drafted would be a likely upgrade at the position.
Though losing out in the draft lottery at the chance of selecting No. 1 overall — the New York Rangers won the lottery and are likely to select Alexis Lafreniere — the Wings will get a fine prospect given the depth of this draft.
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General manager Steve Yzerman and his staff have had ample time, because of the pandemic and readjusting of the hockey schedule, to analyze every prospect many times over.
There are talented centers, a game-breaking defenseman and an outstanding goaltending prospect. And the Red Wings could use any of them.
But here are five players — in alphabetical order — to keep an eye on, one of whom very well could become a Red Wing:
Yaroslav Askarov, G, SKA St. Petersburg (Russia)
2019-20 stats: 18 games, 12-3-3 record, 2.45 goals-against average, .920 save percentage
Why the Wings should draft Askarov: Look, teams don’t generally draft goalies so high in the first round, but Yzerman does have a history of doing it.
Granted, 19th overall isn’t fourth, but Yzerman did draft goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy in 2012 and Vasilevskiy has become an annual Vezina Trophy contender.
Scouts generally feel Askarov, also from Russia, is a similar talent.
Playing in the KHL currently, Askarov has a 0.74 GAA, .974 save percentage and one shutout in three games as an 18-year-old goalie in a men’s league.
Drafting Askarov would be a bold move. But the Wings, like every other position group, need to add talent — they really lack in the goaltending department in terms of genuine prospects — and if Askarov can reach his potential, the organization would be set in net for many years.
Jamie Drysdale, D, Erie (OHL)
2019-20 stats: In 49 games, Drysdale had nine goals and 38 assists.
Why the Wings should draft Drysdale: You heard so much about Colorado’s Cale Makar and Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes during the regular season and playoffs, and for good reason. Both are explosive, exciting players who did much to transform and strengthen their teams.
Some scouts feel Drysdale could make a similar impact in time. Probably not next season but very soon afterward, with the same type of skill set as Hughes and Makar.
Drysdale’s skating is outstanding, and he makes the right decision with the puck. He isn’t reckless and prone to carelessness with the puck.
Drysdale doesn’t have huge size (5-foot-11, 170 pounds) but he uses his body and stick well, and is well-positioned on the ice.
But when it comes down to it, Drysdale’s offensive ability stands out. Placing him in the lineup with Moritz Seider for many years could alleviate many problems.
Cole Perfetti, C, Saginaw (OHL)
2019-20 stats: In 61 games, Perfetti had 111 points (37 goals, 74 assists).
Why the Wings should draft Perfetti: There’s a need everywhere in the Wings’ organization and there’s a definite need at center.
Heading into free agency next month, the Wings currently have Dylan Larkin, with Valtteri Filppula and Frans Nielsen on the NHL roster and Michael Rasmussen and Joe Veleno in Grand Rapids.
They need someone to provide support beyond Larkin. And in today’s NHL, the best way you’re going to acquire a game-changing No. 1 center is by the draft. They rarely get to free agency anymore and aren’t likely to trade one.
On some of the draft projections Perfetti is being compared to Tampa’s Brayden Point, who Yzerman drafted in the third round in 2014 and is now an impact player.
Perfetti doesn’t have elite speed or size, but he outwits opponents with guile and great playmaking skills. He seems to read the play before anyone else on the ice.
Lucas Raymond, LW, Frolunda (Sweden)
2019-20 stats: In 33 games, Raymond had four goals and six assists playing in a men’s league (14 points in nine games at junior level).
Why the Wings should draft Raymond: Heading into this draft, there was a feeling Raymond was going to be a top-three pick. He was that highly thought of.
He still is, though some others may have eclipsed him.
Raymond is a pure goal-scorer, and for an organization that doesn’t have many of them, he would be a needed selection.
Although Raymond has a great shot, he’s also considered a good passer and can create offensively as a playmaker.
He has played against men in the Swedish Elite League, so Raymond understands what it takes at that level of hockey.
Marco Rossi, C, Ottawa (OHL)
2019-20 stats: In 56 games, Rossi had a league-leading 120 points (39 goals, 81 assists).
Why the Wings should select Rossi: The size (5-9, 179 pounds) makes you hesitate a bit, but in today’s NHL, that isn’t at all a factor.
Rossi plays with a motor that doesn’t stop and he plays fast, using his speed. Some scouts call Rossi a pure “rink rat,” a player who simply loves to play hockey nonstop.
Some other intangibles you hear regularly about Rossi, who was born in Austria, is his competitiveness and grit.
Rossi doesn’t back down, plays straight into the faces of opponents and plays with “fearlessness,” according to many draft projections. He plays well beyond his size.
As good as Rossi is offensively, many scouts love his defense and penalty killing ability.