Red Wings Mid-Week Report: Bernier Testing FA & Draft Rankings

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The Detroit Red Wings roster choices just got more interesting. Even with a roster freeze still in effect, pertinent news to Detroit’s roster situation broke last night:

This doesn’t necessarily mean that Bernier will leave, but it certainly changes the outlook on things in Detroit. Bernier was easily Detroit’s best player last season and arguably in the brutal 2019-20 season as well. Bernier was one of many Red Wings rumored to be dealt at the trade deadline but it didn’t come to pass.

Now, Detroit runs in the risk of possibly losing Bernier for nothing. The conversation shifts to who the Red Wings will replace him with if he does indeed leave. Bernier is certainly owed a raise and there will surely be a team out there willing to give it to him–maybe beyond what general manager Steve Yzerman would be willing to pay him.

Then again, maybe it’s just a fact finding mission on Bernier’s part to see what is out there. Either way, it’s yet another discussion point in what is becoming an interesting offseason following last week’s trade for Nick Leddy.

Latest Draft Rankings Predictably Show A Wide Open Draft

TSN’s Bob McKenzie released his final draft rankings and while he believes Michigan defenseman Owen Power is the #1 pick, his insights on Buffalo’s plans are interesting:

The Buffalo Sabres own the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft. They’ve not yet indicated their intentions but if they opt not to take Power, it will go strongly against the scouting community grain. It is worth noting, though, that TSN’s draft rankings do not take into account individual team preference or their order of selection.

One name that has rocketed up boards is William Eklund, who has been the prospect I’ve wanted Detroit to take for some time. Unfortunately as I wrote about in our top six pick mock draft, I don’t see him being available by the time Detroit picks. McKenzie has Eklund tied with fourth along with likely Red Wings target Mason McTavish.

Dobber Prospect’s Tony Ferrari has Eklund at two and Jesper Wallstedt at three. In fact, Ferrari has Power as his sixth best prospect, which of course puts him in line with where Detroit would be picking.

The Athletic’s Corey Pronman mock drafted all seven rounds (!) which included selections for the Red Wings–of course prior to when they traded for Leddy. He has McTavish going to Detroit with Eklund still available on the board. This one was the most interesting to me because Pronman and Scott Wheeler are two of my favorite draft analysts to read. The aforementioned McKenzie and Ferrari are also on my must-read list–as they are with most hockey fans.

All of it course could be utter chaos on Friday. If there is ever a draft where trades explode, it will be this one. But I can’t even imagine Red Wings Twitter if the likes of Eklund, McTavish, Luke Hughes or even Power (though not likely) are all available when it comes time to pick.

Which Red Wing Could Seattle Potentially Take?

In just over twelve hours, the hockey world will find out who Ron Francis will be taking to build the 32nd organization in the league. Francis has said he plans on being smart with the cap so that could affect some of the bigger, yet pricier names exposed. (Frans Nielsen, right?). The Red Wings are most likely to lose one of the following in Troy Stecher, Dennis Cholowski, Evgeny Svechnikov or Vladislav Namestnikov.

Francis does have the green light from management to spend away. Expect more news to leak as the day goes on but the next four days could be some of the most exciting offseason activity hockey fans have been treated to in recent memory.

In the meantime Ronnie, take a hard look at Nielsen. The whole fanbase agrees you won’t be disappointed.

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