Editorial: Who Would Steve Yzerman Pick First Overall?

Octopus Thrower

Well, it looks like fortune has finally swung Detroit’s way – just not in the hockey. After watching the Pistons break the Detroit lottery curse, it got me thinking: what if the Red Wings had received the first overall pick in this years draft? Who would Steve Yzerman select at the top of the draft if given the chance?

Trading Down

The first option that comes to mind is simply trading down. The Red Wings already have an inordinate amount of draft capital this year – a first overall pick plus some sweetener would be more than enough to secure a lottery pick for 2022 (The Shane Wright Lotto).

Although there isn’t quite superstar potential at the top this year, Owen Powers and Matty Beniers will garner some trade calls. A trade would be there if that fit the Yzerplan; a desperate franchise could leap at the chance for a defenseman like Powers to build around at the blue line.

Best Player Available

Best player available is typically the most common philosophy at first overall (Positional value factored in). The opportunity to pick literally any prospect from a draft class doesn’t come often. If Yzerman went with the safest best, it would be to stay put and draft who he believes to be the best.

Recently, Owen Powers has become the consensus number one pick. He’s huge (6-foot-6), projects well as a top pairing defenseman and possesses a very low floor. If a scouts rankings are based on current talent and projection alone, Powers should sit atop. However, ceiling must also be a consideration in the draft process – and there are a few players with potential above Powers. If Detroit went best player available with the first overall pick, there’s a good chance it wouldn’t be Powers. Yzerman has a history of drafting based on a player’s ceiling; with high-ceiling players like William Eklund, Simon Edvinsson and Luke Hughes available, it’s hard to say for certain that Powers would be an easy choice for Yzerman at number one.

Who Fits the Yzerplan?

More than likely, if given the shot, Yzerman would just select the player that best fits the Yzerplan. At the top of this draft, Matty Beniers is that player. It’s unfortunate the Red Wings won’t get a shot at Beniers in the draft, because he’s a great fit for the organization and the system. He fills the organizational need of a center, he’s a two-way center that can comfortably generate offense/distribute the puck while making few (If any) defensive errors and he plays with next-level effort. If the lottery went Detroit’s way this year, Beniers would be the player to slot into the Red Wing’s rebuild

Verdict: Matty Beniers

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