With the NHL draft a month away, Detroit Red Wings fans are beginning to pay close attention to the prospects projected in the first round. Steve Yzerman will have a couple of opportunities to add some top-end talent with the 6th and 22nd overall picks, but who will Yzerman select later in the draft – specifically, with the last six picks?
(Received From Vegas) 3rd Round Pick – Brent Johnson, RH Defenseman
There is a very good chance Brent Johnson is well off the board by the time Detroit’s second 3rd round draft pick is on the clock. Projections shift anywhere between a late 2nd to a late 3rd/early 4th. If he’s still available at this pick, the Red Wings should snatch him up.
Johnson plays a similar game to Detroit’s Dennis Cholowski – except with perhaps a bit more potential. After an uneventful few years of junior hockey in Texas, Johnson forced his way up most draft boards with a fantastic USHL season with the Sioux Falls Stampede. In 47 games, he nabbed 11 goals and 21 assists, finding a consistent role as the team’s power play quarterback. Johnson’s best qualities are part of his offensive toolkit: he’s a solid passer, has great skating/speed and a dangerous wrist shot. His defense still needs a bit of improvement, but he’s not afraid to get physical or become a nuisance with constant poke checks/pressure. Johnson had a fantastic year in the USHL, but some GMs might view it as a flash-in-the-pan because of previously underwhelming years.
Johnson has a ton of upside and could provide the organization with that power play quarterback position that they desperately need.