Detroit — It’s still too early to tell, and the full results will not be known for several years.
But the lack of success the Detroit Red Wings have had with the NHL Entry Draft appears to be turning in the opposite direction.
A major reason the Red Wings have been mired near the bottom of the NHL’s standings is because of their inability to draft players who could steer the organization into success.
For the longest time, the Wings were able to find hugely talented players in later rounds that kept the organization in the playoffs and Stanley Cup contention.
But, ultimately, that string of finding talent ended. And so did the 25-year streak of making the playoffs
General manager Steve Yzerman has been in charge of the last three drafts and the early returns have been positive. The Wings have drafted a Calder Trophy winner (Moritz Seider), a rookie 23-goal scorer (Lucas Raymond) and the best young player in Sweden last season (Simon Edvinsson).
With the NHL Entry Draft on the horizon, let’s take a look at the Red Wings’ drafts going back to 2010. It’s been an uneven stretch of success.
Picks: (1st round) Simon Edvinsson, D; (1st) Sebastian Cossa, G; (2nd) Shai Buium, D; (3rd) Carter Mazur, LW; (4th) Red Savage, C; (5th) Liam Dower Nilsson, C; (5th) Oscar Plandowski, D; (6th) Pasquale Zito, LW
Analysis: Edvinsson could step right into the NHL next season. Cossa has had a brilliant junior career, leading to hopes he could man the Wings’ net in the future. Buium might become a shrewd second-round pick. It’s too early to tell with the others.
► Grade: B
Picks: (1st) Lucas Raymond, LW; (2nd) William Wallinder, D; (2nd) Theodor Niederbach, C; (2nd) Cross Hanas, LW; (3rd) Donovan Sebrango, D; (3rd) Eemil Viro, D; (4th) Sam Stange, RW; (4th) Jan Bednar, G; (5th) Alex Cotton, D; (6th) Kyle Aucoin, D; (7th) Kienan Draper, RW; (7th) Chase Bradley, LW
Analysis: Getting Raymond at fourth overall turned out to be a tremendous stroke of luck. Sebrango has been a pleasant surprise in Grand Rapids, while Wallinder, Niederbach, Hanas and Viro are turning pro soon.
► Grade: B
Picks: (1st) Moritz Seider, D; (2nd) Antti Tuomisto, D; (2nd) Robert Mastrosimone, LW; (2nd) Albert Johansson, D; (3rd) Albin Grewe, RW; (4th) Ethan Phillips, C; (5th) Cooper Moore, D; (6th) Elmer Soderblom, RW; (6th) Gustav Berglund, D; (7th) Kirill Tyutyayev, LW; (7th) Carter Gylander, G
Analysis: Seider was a surprise pick at sixth overall, but he has turned into a possible franchise cornerstone player. Johansson and Soderblom are arriving in September and both have impressive resumes. Tyutyayev is a sleeper.
► Grade: A
Picks: (1st) Filip Zadina, RW; (1st) Joe Veleno, C; (2nd) Jonatan Berggren, RW; (2nd) Jared McIsaac, D; (3rd) Alec Regula, D; (3rd) Seth Barton, D; (3rd) Jesper Eliasson, G; (4th) Ryan O’Reilly, RW; (6th) Victor Brattstrom, G; (7th) Otto Kivenmaki, C
Analysis: Zadina has developed as expected, but the goal scoring simply hasn’t come as hoped for. The hope is a new coach can unlock Zadina’s talent. Veleno began his NHL career with mixed results, while Berggren could make his Wings debut this season. McIsaac has been slowed by injuries.
► Grade: C
Picks: (1st) Michael Rasmussen, C; (2nd) Gustav Lindstrom, D; (3rd) Kasper Kotkansalo, D; (3rd) Lane Zablocki, RW; (3rd) Zach Gallant, C; (3rd) Keith Petruzzelli, G; (4th) Malte Setkov, D; (5th) Cole Fraser, D; (6th) Jack Adams, RW; (6th) Reilly Webb, D; (7th) Brady Gilmour, C
Analysis: Rasmussen took major strides last season to becoming the type of big-body force the Wings envisioned when drafting him. Lindstrom has been up and down and will be challenged by a large load of prospects arriving. Nobody else has broken through.
► Grade: B-minus
Picks: (1st) Dennis Cholowski, D; (2nd) Givani Smith, RW; (2nd) Filip Hronek, D; (4th) Alfons Malmstrom, D; (5th) Jordan Sambrook, D; (6th) Filip Larsson, G; (7th) Mattias Elfstrom, LW
Analysis: Cholowski was a bust and has washed out in two other organizations. Smith landed a full-time NHL role last season but was a disappointment. Hronek was a steal in the second round but his development has stalled.
► Grade: C-minus
Picks: (1st) Evgeny Svechnikov, LW; (3rd) Vili Saarijarvi, D; (4th) Joren Van Pottelberghe, G; (5th) Chase Pearson, C; (6th) Patrick Holway, D; (7th) Adam Marsh, LW
Analysis: Svechnikov washed out and is playing in Winnipeg. The Wings remain hopeful Pearson can become a useful checking forward but time is running out.
► Grade: D
Picks: (1st) Dylan Larkin, C; (3rd) Dominic Turgeon, C; (4th) Christoffer Ehn, C; (5th) Chase Perry, G; (6th) Julius Vahatalo, LW; (7th) Axel Holmstrom, RW; (7th) Alexander Kadeykin, RW
Analysis: Drafting Larkin was a game-changer. The Waterford native who starred at Michigan has become the Wings captain and face of the franchise. He’s a major presence on and off the ice.
► Grade: A
Picks: (1st) Anthony Mantha, RW; (2nd) Zach Nastasiuk, RW; (2nd) Tyler Bertuzzi, LW; (3rd) Mattias Janmark, C; (4th) David Pope, LW; (5th) Mitch Wheaton, D; (6th) Marc McNulty, D; (7th) Hampus Melen, RW
Analysis: This was a very productive draft. Mantha became an established NHL goal-scorer and was traded for another potential offensive force in Jakub Vrana (along with valuable draft picks). Bertuzzi has become a central piece of the rebuild and another established NHL player. Janmark was used a trade piece (for Erik Cole) and has gone on to play 420 NHL games in Dallas, Vegas and Chicago.
► Grade: A
Picks: (2nd) Martin Frk, RW; (3rd) Jake Paterson, G; (4th) Andreas Athanasiou, C; (5th) Mike McKee, D; (6th) James De Haas, D; (7th) Rasmus Bodin, LW
Analysis: Another failed draft. Frk had an elite, powerful shot but was inaccurate and has found a home in Los Angeles’ minor league system. Athanasiou looked like a steal when he had a 30-goal season but injuries and inconsistency led to a trade to Edmonton.
► Grade: F
Picks: (2nd) Tomas Jurco, RW; (2nd) Xavier Ouellet, D; (2nd) Ryan Sproul, D; (3rd) Alan Quine, C; (4th) Marek Tvrdon, LW; (5th) Philippe Hudon, RW; (5th) Mattias Backman, D; (6th) Richard Nedomlel, D; (7th) Alexey Marchenko, D
Analysis: Largely, this class didn’t contribute much. Jurco never established himself in Detroit and has bounced around the minor leagues. Ouellet and Sproul never established themselves as NHL regulars. Marchenko played two seasons with the Wings but returned to Russia.
► Grade: D
Picks: (1st) Riley Sheahan, C; (2nd) Calle Jarnkrok, C; (3rd) Louis-Marc Aubry, C; (4th) Teemu Pulkkinen, LW; (5th) Petr Mrazek, G; (6th) Brooks Macek, RW; (7th) Ben Marshall, D
Analysis: The best player in this class is arguably Jarnkrok, who has played 574 games with three organizations (Nashville, Seattle and Calgary). The Wings parted with Jarnkrork in the David Legwand trade deadline deal. Sheahan has played in 635 games in his career, but his production and impact has declined after a good start with the Wings. Mrazek flashed the potential of being a No. 1 goalie before flaming out, and has since bounced around the NHL.
► Grade: C