Steve Yzerman and the Red Wings will get the rare opportunity to select two players in the first round of the draft. An early exit for Washington means that the Wing’s second pick in the first now rests at 22nd overall. What direction will Yzerman take in the draft with another shot in the first?
Safety Net or a Home-Run Swing
Who Detroit takes with the 6th overall pick is key in deciding which way Detroit goes with their next pick. The 22nd slot will likely balance the previous pick; if the Red Wings get risky with a boom or bust with the 6th, they’re going to try and hit a safe, low-floor prospect with the next pick, and vice-versa.
Let’s say someone like Simon Edvinsson is Yzerman’s first pick in the draft. Although Edvinsson is projected as a top ten player, he’s perhaps the biggest boom or bust candidate in the top-end of the draft. If a risky player is the answer at 6th, the organization will likely look for some safety for their next pick. Sebastian Cossa, the second best goaltending prospect in the draft, could be a safe option for the organization (If he’s still there). Players like Nikita Chibrikov or Francesco Pinelli could also end up being reasonably safe picks at the spot; both are consistently projected as top-30 prospects that don’t have especially low floors.
On the flipside, if Detroit plays it safe with their first pick, they will likely take a bigger swing with their second. If prospects like Brandt Clarke or Jesper Wallstedt end up being the Detroit’s first player off the board, expect the next pick to be more of a wildcard. The high-ceiling low-floor archetype would probably be the move with the 22nd overall pick, and this years class presents plenty of opportunities for this. Aatu Raty could be an interesting pick here; a player that was the consensus number one a few years back but has fallen significantly. He’s struggled in his transition to pro-leauges and has taken a massive fall down nearly every draft board, but the skills are still there. With a safety pick out of the way with the 6th overall pick, Raty could be the perfect risky option at 22.
A Top 15 Prospect Will Fall
It happens every year. At least one top-end prospect takes a tumble down draft boards as the names are announced. With the oddities surrounding this years draft class, the situation is ripe for a surprising amount of names to take a tumble. Namely, those who saw limited play because of cancelled or postponed seasons. Logan Stankoven barely managed to illustrate his skills with such a limited season (He played only 13 games in 2021). Even an elite player like Dylan Guenther could see a bit of a fall in the standings (Although he’s certainly not making it out of the top 12). Yzerman could simply scoop up whoever lands in his lap at 22nd.
With Steve Yzerman in the driver’s seat, it’s impossible to truly predict the outcome of the upcoming draft for Detroit. But with two-chances in the first, fans can make an educated guess at the sort of choices they’ll see come June 22nd: one will be a safe pick to keep the rebuild chugging along, the other could have the opportunity to accelerate it. Either way, draft day will be a fascinating watch for all Red Wings fans.