Wings Draft: Avoid Defensemen With the 6th Overall Pick

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With the sixth overall pick in the 2021 NHL draft, the Detroit Red Wings will have a bevy of top-end prospects to choose from – and they should be avoiding defensemen.

High Risk

There’s not a lack of defensive talent in the upcoming draft; in fact, one could argue that the strongest position in the top ten is defense. Owen Power leads a strong group of defensive prospects that’ll improve any pipeline.

The problem with a lot of the top defenders is a lack of certainly. Power has drifted towards the top of draft boards because of he’s the safest bet in terms of transitioning his skill set into the NHL. But Power won’t be available for Detroit.

The top three defensemen that could be available for Detroit in the draft have large question marks in their game. Simon Edvinsson has perhaps the highest ceiling of any defender in the draft; his raw offensive skill set and steady defense combine for a tempting prospect. However, there are times on the ice where Edvinsson doesn’t look ready for the pros, let alone the NHL. His game is in desperate need of consistency.

Brandt Clarke is perhaps the best two-way defenseman in the draft. He has experience as a quarterback to both the offense and the power play and he’s pretty competent defensively. However, he’s not the best defensive-defenseman in the draft and he’s not the best offensive-defenseman. Good development is key in making the pick worth it (Also, his skating is a bit of a concern).

Luke Hughes is the last of the four defenders seen as a tier above the rest. And again, he’s a risky pick. Although he has an excellent offensive toolkit (Great skating, great stick and puck handling, mobility), Hughes has yet to really produce offensively. He’s a talented defender, but he’ll need development to adjust to a pro-level.

Defense is Already Trending Upwards

The defensive pipeline is really starting to come together. Moritz Seider leads a pack of talented young defenders making their way to Detroit; Albert Johansson, William Wallinder, Eemil Viro and Jared McIsaac are all slowly approaching the main roster (Although defenders on the right side of the blue one are definitely an organizational need).

Offense needs to be the priority this year. At this point in the rebuild, Yzerman should not be taking swings on the defense – he’s already done that. The team can’t afford to risk Important draft capital on positions of strength; any gambles should be to find elite talent on the wing or down the middle.

With all that said, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if Yzerman targeted a defenseman early. His track record has earned him the benefit of the doubt. But with the amount of risk associated with the top defenders, the swings should be made towards the other side of the ice.

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