Draft Day 1: Red Wings Set to Pick Twice After Busy Thursday

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To say Detroit Red Wings fans were pleased with the moves their team made on Thursday would be an understatement. The mixed reaction that the Nick Leddy trade received was all but forgotten after Steve Yzerman re-signed Michael Rasmussen to a team friendly deal and then utterly fleeced Carolina for the rights to goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic–who they then inked to a two-year, $3M AAV deal almost immediately. The trade was so lopsided that an article explaining Carolina’s rationale for making the deal was out by evening.

Never mind their reasoning. Yzerman showed once again why he’s so damn good at his job. Speaking to the media later on in the afternoon, Yzerman spoke on a number of issues and clarified some things. Here’s a paraphrased version of it:

  • His intention is to re-sign Tyler Bertuzzi, Jakub Vrana and Filip Hronek. But the focus of the organization is obviously on the draft.
  • He gets calls all the time on players, and listens.
  • The deal for Nedeljkovic was dual: he’s younger, can grow with the core, and it buys time for the other goalies in the system who are some ways off in terms of development.

The trade got rave reviews from Wings fans across the board. Why shouldn’t it? In one full swoop, Yzerman brought in a Calder finalist between the pipes who is only 25 years old. Jonathan Bernier was amazing for Detroit but the writing seemed on the wall for him since he was going to test free agency.

Yzerman merely packages Bernier’s rights with a third round pick and snags Nedeljkovic. In the course of a week, he found Moritz Seider a partner in Leddy and if it all works out, he’s got the goalie of the future between the pipes.

Red Wings Set to Draft at #6 and #23 Tonight

Now the attention turns to the NHL Draft, something that even Yzerman has admitted is going to be an utter crapshoot. In spite of all the mock drafts, scouting, write-ups, and the lot, no one is really sure what is going to happen tonight. (ESPN2 8 pm EST).

We put together our second and final mock draft and profiled nine names that seem likely to be on the Red Wings’ radar. But full disclosure as everyone else would say–no one knows what  Yzerman is going to do. Add to that one of the most unpredictable–if not the most–drafts in NHL history and there could be chaos that could have draft analysts scrambling to explain the reason for a pick.

It promises to be a lot of fun–and watching to see what Yzerman does next only amplifies the anticipation as it gets closer to draft time.

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