Red Wings Draft: Mason McTavish or William Eklund?

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In a draft where nothing is certain, Mason MacTavish and William Eklund are two forwards that seem to be consistently ranked in the top half of the first round (Eklund is typically projected in the top six). The Detroit Red Wings could be facing a tough choice at six, as there’s a good chance both will be on the board.

Production in the SHL vs Production in Sweden

Both McTavish and Eklund have illustrated their ability to score in their respective leagues.

At 17 in the OHL, McTavish scored 29 goals and 13 assists in 57 games with the Peterborough Pirates. After the OHL cancelled the 2020-21 season, McTavish was forced to find another league in order to keep his draft stock high. He found a spot in the Switzerland with EHC Olten. There, he scored nine goals and tacked on two assists in 13 games. McTavish received one more shot to raise his draft stock in the Junior World Championship, where he centered Team Canada’s top line. He had an impressive performance in seven games, as he scored five goals and six assists.

After making it out of the Swedish Juniors, Eklund put up an impressive performance in the SHL this season. In 40 games, he scored 11 goals and 12 assists. On paper, Eklund’s production doesn’t seem quite as good as McTavish’s. But considering the talent gap between leagues, Eklund’s performance at such a young age is actually pretty impressive. Just consider this: in the same league, Eklund actually more points per game (.575) than Detroit’s top offensive prospect, Lucas Raymond (.52).

High Floor Center or High Cieling Winger

The debate between Eklund and McTavish in it’s simplest form is upside vs floor. In Eklund, there’s a player that has the potential to become a top-line winger that scores buckets of goals. With McTavish, you have a talented center that will likely translate his skills to the NHL as a good second line or a great third line center. While some believe Eklund has the ability to transition his skills down the middle in the NHL, as of now, McTavish’s ability as a center is more certain.

Both McTavish and Eklund are very real possibilities for Detroit at six. Either choice will tell fans quite a lot about what Yzerman’s draft philosophy this year. Choosing Eklund means that Yzerman is swinging for the fences and looking for that elite talent that the pipeline desperately needs. Choosing McTavish would show that Yzerman knows just how important this draft is, and keeping the pipeline well-stocked will be the theme the draft. But based on what fans and analysts have seen of both Eklund and McTavish, the Red Wings will be getting a great talent either way.

Stats Sourced From Elite Prospects

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