The Detroit Red Wings went big, drafting five prospects – Seth Barton, Alec Regula, Moritz Seider, Antti Tuomisto, and William Wallinder – who stand at least 6-foot-3.
They went tough, tabbing two of the hardest hitters – Jared McIsaac and Seider – in their respective draft classes.
They went mobile with a trio of strong skaters, Albert Johansson, Eemil Viro and Wallinder.
They went after six left-handed shots and three righties.
Most of all, they went for depth, adding nine prospects in the first three rounds of the past three NHL Entry Drafts.
As attention soon turns to what GM Steve Yzerman will do during the 2021 prospect showcase, recent history suggests the Red Wings will invest heavily on defense.
Here is a look at how the nine prospects fared last season and where they project to play next:
Red Wings 2020 Draft
Drafted: Round 2 (No. 32 overall).
2020-21 Season: An 18-year-old still growing into his frame, Wallinder is a skilled skater who forecasts into a top-4 defenseman with the ability to thrive on special teams. In 43 appearances with MODO (Swe-1), he registered one goal, five assists and a minus-12 rating.
2021-22 Forecast: With the apparent success the Red Wings are having developing prospects in Sweden, he should be comfortable remaining in Sweden.
Drafted: Round 3 (No. 63).
2020-21 Season: One of the major organizational surprises. Unable to play juniors because of the pandemic, the 19-year-old received a waiver to join the Griffins. Sebrango had four assists and 18 penalty minutes in 29 AHL games. Known for his grit, he finished the season playing top-4 minutes.
2021-22 Forecast: Another season with the Griffins would accelerate his development. No need to rush the teenager. A few years from now, the Red Wings could have a seasoned AHL veteran at 21.
Drafted: Round 3 (No. 70).
2020-21 Season: A virtual clone of Miro Heiskanen, Viro, 19, has spent the past two seasons playing in Finland’s top league. Despite his youth, Viro displayed leadership characteristics and often flashed his skating and on-ice IQ, recording four goals among 14 points and a plus-12 rating in 53 games. He also skated in 13 hard-nosed playoff games, collecting 31 penalty minutes.
2021-22 Forecast: Another season overseas would help Viro continue developing into a top-4 defenseman and cultivate his leadership skills.
Drafted: Round 1 (No. 6).
2020-21 Season: A steady flow of Seider’s big-hit highlights streamed on YouTube this season. Playing in the competitive SHL, the 20-year-old top prospect collected seven goals among 28 points in 41 games. He was a plus-14 and helped Rogle qualify for the league finals.
2021-22 Forecast: Out of training camp, he’ll earn top-6 minutes with the Red Wings. By December, he will begin taking steady special-teams shifts. By February, he’ll rival Filip Hronek for most time on the ice nightly.
Drafted: Round 2 (No. 35).
2020-21 Season: Playing with the University of Denver, Tuomisto registered nearly a half-point a game, collecting two goals and nine assists. Listed at 6-5, Tuomisto makes it hard for opponents to knock him off the puck. His hard shot made him of the top offensive defensemen during his junior league years in Finland.
2021-22 Forecast: Rocky Mountain High.
Drafted: Round 2 (No. 60).
2020-21 Season: Competing for Farjestads (SHL) for the third season, the 20-year-old continues to improve his on-ice vision and first-step acceleration. During his first full season in 2019-20, he registered two goals among 13 points. Last season, he had eight goals among 19 points.
2021-22 Forecast: Johansson may still need to bulk up a bit to make a bid for the Griffins’ roster.
Drafted: Round 2 (No. 36)
2020-21 Season: His campaign was highlighted by joining the Griffins late in the season and making an immediate impact. The 21-year-old hard-hitter also added two assists in his opening 10 AHL appearances.
2021-22 Forecast: A top-6 role with the Griffins as McIsaac continues to refine his outlet passing and physical presence.
Drafted: Round 3 (No. 67).
2020-21 Season: This could be one trade that will haunt Yzerman for years. Regula was jettisoned to the Chicago Blackhawks for Brendan Perlini in October 2019. Perlini didn’t work out, was not re-signed and Regula became the first of the nine draft picks to debut in the NHL.
Career Forecast: How bad will Regula haunt the Red Wings?
Drafted: Round 3 (No. 81).
2020-21 Season: After finishing the season with UMass-Lowell (H-East), Barton, 21, joined the Griffins for a late-season audition, earning his first AHL assist last Friday.
2021-22 Forecast: Often compared to Chicago’s Brent Seabrook while growing up, Barton could be in line for steady minutes with the Griffins.
Stay tuned, more prospects are coming …