Red Wings Draft Deep Dive: A Closer Look at the 2010 Draft

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The Detroit Red Wings were once the maestros of finding gems in the draft–be it the 1989 haul that set the team up for nearly two decades or unearthing Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg in late rounds. Through the first decade of the new millennium, the Red Wings dealt high picks for premium players and Cup Chances. This strategy became verboten as soon as the Cap took precedence.

Many in the fan base mark the final decade of Ken Holland’s term as when the Winged Wheel lost its luster. We’ll take a look, analyzing Holland’s final nine drafts and seeing what went well, what didn’t, and how it contributed to the overall picture. It’s not about who they should have taken instead but more about how the players they took shaped the team into what they have now.

This is the first in a nine part series.

2009 – 2010 Detroit Red Wings
Record: 44-24-14
Playoffs: Bounced in the Semis by San Jose (4-1)

Season Summary: The beginning of the end of dominance. A year removed from the devastating seven game loss to Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup Final, the new decade saw Detroit miss the Conference Final for the first time in four seasons. More pressure was on the draft as Detroit was aging and needing to supplement pieces. Tomas Tatar in 2009 was a great start. So was Gustav Nyquist in 2008.

This article from Dobber Prospects serves as my guide when it comes to assessing the success of the draft class. I’m looking at not only how they performed while in Detroit, but if they were traded, how this affected the Red Wings long term. Additionally, how well did they do by round where the chances of a player “hitting” decreases. Setting the mark at 99 games played in the NHL, here’s how it shakes out:

1st Round: 37.3%
2nd Round: 17.2%
3rd Round: 13.7%
4th Round: 10.9%
5th Round: 7.5%
6th Round: 7.9%
7th Round: 5.5%

Which drafted players made the NHL?  (7 draft picks in 2010)

  • Riley Sheahan – 1st Round, 21st Overall (292 of 562 NHL games with Detroit)
  • Calle Jarnkrok –  2nd Round, 51st overall (0 of 508 NHL games with Detroit)
  • Teemu Pulkkinen – 4th Round, 111th overall (70 of 83 NHL games with Detroit)
  • Petr Mrazek – 5th Round – 141st overall (166 out of 275 NHL games with Detroit)

What happened to these guys? 

  • Sheahan was traded to Pittsburgh in 2017 for a 2018 3rd round pick and Scott Wilson.
  • Jarnkrok was included in a deal to Nashville for David Legwand in 2014.
  • Pulkkinen was placed on waivers by Detroit in 2017 and claimed by Minnesota.
  • Mrazek was dealt to Philadelphia in 2018 for a 2018 third round pick.

How did it shape the long term Red Wings?  

Holland was still finding players that were able to make it to the NHL in 2010. But it wouldn’t yield much long term for Detroit. It’s also why Yzerman is hunting for as many draft picks as he can.

Pulkkinen had the booming shot but little else and was lost for nothing.

The Legwand trade was an absolute heist–for the Predators. That deal, along with the Erik Cole one to Dallas and the Kyle Quincey trade in 2012 revealed that Holland was not quite the master dealer as when there was no salary cap. This is one of the biggest reasons Detroit fell apart–Holland’s inability to make deals. It wouldn’t be until the Tomas Tatar trade that he would win like he used to.

Mrazek was outstanding during the 2015 playoffs, nearly stealing the series from a much better Tampa Bay squad. But his performance dipped a bit after and he was traded for draft capital in 2018. Sheahan’s performance slipped and he too was shipped out and has bounced around the league.

From a long view, only Mrazek had a lasting impact for Detroit as the others either never reached their potential, never made the team, or faded as in the case of Sheahan.

Where does it stand against the other drafts of the 2010s? 

Not terribly, actually. There were some pretty bleak drafts in the middle part of the decade, but in terms of what Holland did here, he was able to get some serviceable players while picking lower every round.

It can only be posited how Jarnkrok would have fit in with the roster, but again, Detroit was already trending down by 2014 and a trade–whether for a chance at a deep run or for rebuilding purposes was probably inevitable.

Where the value can reveal itself are the returns on the trades. Here’s what Holland received:

Sheahan trade: Jesper Eliasson (3rd round 2018) –  Currently with Färjestad BK (SHL) 
Mrazek trade
: Seth Barton (3rd round 2018) – played four games with Grand Rapids this season. (0-1-1).

Final Thoughts

The 2010 draft saw some decent returns but none of those players selected remain and the early returns on trades made aren’t big movers, either. Regardless, the 2010 draft for seeing three players make it to Detroit is still moderately successful. But it wouldn’t continue as the decade wore on.

In fact, many of the trends seen here will put the Wings into the hole they’re currently trying to dig out from.

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