The Hall of Fame picks (and NHL draft busts) at each of the Detroit Red Wings’ 10 picks

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Red Wings enter this week’s 2022 NHL draft with 10 picks, ranging from No. 8 overall to No. 212. When general manager Steve Yzerman steps to the podium to announce that first pick, he’ll be doing so with his fanbase’s confidence after hitting on each of his first two picks: defenseman Moritz Seider at No. 6 in 2019 and forward Lucas Raymond at No. 4 in 2020.

But they weren’t always surefire successes, especially on their respective draft night. The disappointment in 2020 of picking at No. 4 despite the league’s worst record in 2019-20 was mitigated only slightly by the potential of a karmic bonus: Hey, Yzerman was No. 4 in 1983 — maybe No. 4 will pay off again?

And indeed, Raymond became just the third Wings rookie in three decades with at least 20 goals as a rookie. (Dylan Larkin, with 23 in 2015-16, and Henrik Zetterberg, with 22 in 2002-03, were the others.)

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In the same way, while we can’t be sure how young defenseman Simon Edvinsson will fare next season, or whenever he arrives in Detroit, knowing that he was the No. 6 overall pick in 2021, just as Moritz Seider, who took home the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie last month, was No. 6 overall when he was picked by Yzerman in summer 2019, gives us an idea of what to expect.

Thursday, the Red Wings will open at No. 8, and we’re left to search for guidance from the past on what that pick, among others, has produced. It’ll be the fourth time the Wings have picked eighth; the first two — 1963 and 1965 — came in the first three years of the draft’s existence, when most of Canada’s talent was still tied up by juniors contracts with individual franchises.

The third was 1985; the Wings ended up with left wing Brent Fedyk, who played parts of 10 seasons in the NHL (and parts of five with Detroit) en route to 209 points over 470 games. Perhaps not the superstar of the Wings front office’s dreams, but they could do much worse.

But why limit ourselves to just past Red Wings? Let’s take a look at the best and worst picks over the years at each of the Red Wings’ 10 picks — at least until Yzerman starts wheeling and dealing once again? It’s a slew of picks that has produced some busts, some Hall of Famers and even a Cup winner or two for the Wings.

Round 1: No. 8

The best: D Ray Bourque. Even with three other Hockey Hall of Famers — Darryl Sittler (1970), Bob Gainey (1973) and Grant Fuhr (1981) — and a 500-goal scorer (Jeremy Roenick, 1988) to choose from, the Boston Bruins’ 1979 pick stands out. Bourque was an instant success, winning the Calder Trophy and making the first-team All-NHL squad while finishing fourth in Norris Trophy voting. In all, he won the Norris five times while finishing in the top five in voting in each of his first 17 seasons. Bourque finished with 410 goals and 1,169 assists over 1,612 games and capped his career by lifting the Stanley Cup in 2001 with the Colorado Avalanche.

The worst: Only five No. 8s have failed to make the NHL at all — four from the early years of the draft and the 2021 pick. But two No. 8s played just one game: Vancouver’s Jason Herter (1989) and Dallas’ Scott Glennie (2009). The Stars’ pick gets the (dis)honors here, as he managed just two penalty minutes in 9:35 of ice time on April 7, 2012. Herter at least managed an assist in his lone NHL game in 1995.

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Round 2: No. 40

The best: D Chris Chelios. The Wings have had two No. 40s, but the best is a familiar name who got his start in 1983-84 after being drafted by Montreal in 1981. The next season, the future Hall of Famer finished second in Calder voting to drop the puck on a long — and we mean LOOOOONG — career. Chelios won three Norris trophies over his first 15 seasons with the Canadiens and Blackhawks ahead of a 1999 trade to the Red Wings at age 37. He then spent parts of 10 seasons with the Wings, with 152 points over 578 games, before finishing his career at age 48 with seven games for the Atlanta Thrashers.

The worst: The Wings’ No. 40 pick in 1976, Fred Berry, didn’t last quite as long. After posting 146 points in 72 games in juniors before the pick, Berry joined the Wings organization in Kalamazoo for 1976-77 and earned a callup in January 1977. The result: a minus-3 rating in three games and a return to the minors, where he played until 1987.

Round 2: No. 52

The best: G Corey Crawford. The Blackhawks’ 2003 pick barely beats out a fellow goalie in Bill Ranford, who went to the Bruins in 1985 before leading the Oilers to their last Stanley Cup in 1990 (and playing four games with the Wings in 1999). Crawford, however, finished fourth in Calder voting in 2011, then won two Cups with the ’Hawks (2013, 2015). He finished his 13-year career with a 2.45 goals-against average (25th best all-time) and a .918 save percentage.

The worst: Twenty of the 53 No. 52s all-time have missed out on the NHL, including Wings picks Dennis Holland (1987) — the brother of future Wings GM Ken Holland — and Aren Miller (1996), but of those who made it? Once again, a Wing brings up the rear, as 1995’s pick, Philippe Audet played in just four games in December 1998 and January 1999, putting up a minus-2 rating in just over 17 minutes of total ice time.

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Round 3: No. 73

The best: C Bernie Nichols. The LA Kings’ 1980 pick has more points (1,209) in his 1,127 games than the 24 other No. 73s combined (1,079), racking them up with the Kings, Rangers, Oilers, Devils and Blackhawks. Only two players eligible for the Hall have more points without being inducted. (We’ll also give a shoutout to Chicago’s 2001 pick, goalie Craig Anderson, who announced Thursday he’d return with Buffalo for his 20th season in net.)

The worst: Pittsburgh used its 1994 pick on left wing Greg Crozier, who spent four years at Michigan (79 points in 157 games, though he won national titles with the Wolverines in 1996 and ’98) before joining the Penguins organization in 1999. He played in just one NHL game, logging 4:10 of ice time on Dec. 6, 2000 in a 3-2 loss to Boston.

Round 4: No. 105

The best: D Keith Yandle. The then-Phoenix Coyotes nabbed Yandle in 2005; he debuted against the Red Wings on Oct. 11 as part of a seven-game tryout with the ‘Yotes. By 2009, though, he was a regular in the lineup. How regular? From March 26, 2009-April 22, 2022, Yandle played in 989 consecutive games, setting the NHL’s ironman record. Along the way, he piled up 619 points in 1,109 games with the Coyotes, Rangers, Panthers and Flyers, and finished fifth in Norris Trophy voting in 2011.

The worst: Justin Shugg had 39 goals and 40 assists in 67 games with the Windsor Spitfires to earn a nod from the Carolina Hurricanes in 2010. But his scoring touch dropped off outside of juniors, and he played just three NHL games, collecting two penalty minutes in his debut on Dec. 16, 2014.

Round 4: No. 113

The best: RW Pavel Bure. The Wings’ 1985 pick, forward Randy McKay, lasted 932 games in the NHL — including 83 in Detroit and 760 with New Jersey — but the nod here goes to “The Russian Rocket.” Bure was a controversial pick in 1989, as most teams believed his limited playing time in Russia made him ineligible to be picked after the third round. (The Wings reportedly considered selecting him at No. 116, between fellow Russians Sergei Fedorov at No. 74 and Vladimir Konstantinov at No. 221, but the Canucks beat them to Bure. The Wings’ actual No. 116, Dallas Drake lacked Bure’s scoring touch, but still played more than 1,000 NHL games.) After earning his freedom from his Russian contract in a Detroit courtroom a month into the 1991-92 season, Bure won the Calder in 1991 with 34 goals and 26 assists in 65 games. He led the league in goals three times and made three All-NHL teams (1994, 2000-01) en route to 437 goals and 342 assists in 702 games and a Hall of Fame induction in 2012.

The worst: 1993-94 weren’t the greatest draft years for No. 113 — Jeff Lank, Montreal’s pick in ’93, made it into just two NHL games for Philly in 2000 (he was redrafted by the Flyers in 1995), while Tony Tuzzolino, who was taken by Quebec after his freshman year at Michigan State, appeared in nine NHL games with a career minus-4 rating across stints with the Ducks, Rangers and Bruins.

Round 4: No. 129

The best: F Jamie Benn. No Hall of Famers among the 21 No. 129s to make the league, but the Dallas Stars’ pick in 2007 has become the modern face of the franchise with 329 goals and 440 assists over 948 games, including three All-NHL nods and the captain’s “C” since 2013. His run in Dallas included leading the league with 87 points in 2014-15 — and a nasty crosscheck that ended Larkin’s 2020-21 season.

The worst: Defenseman Dom Campedelli was tabbed by the Maple Leafs in 1982, five spots before the St. Louis Blues took Doug Gilmour, a future Hall of Famer. Gilmour had 1,414 points in 1,474 games with a plus-129 rating, while Campedelli was a minus-2 in two games for the Canadiens in October 1985.

Round 5:  No. 137

The best: D Carson Soucy. We’re reaching the longshot range of the draft: Just 16 No 137s have grabbed an NHL shift, including the Minnesota Wild’s pick in 2013. Soucy has a plus-43 rating in 172 career games and had a breakout season in 2021-22 with 10 goals, 11 assists and a plus-7 rating for the Seattle Kraken (who were mostly awful in their inaugural season).

The worst: Boston University goalie Michel Larocque shared a first and last name with Canadiens great Michel “Bunny” Larocque, a 1972 Montreal first-rounder and worthy backup to Hall of Famer Ken Dryden in net for the Canadiens during the late 1970s. Unfortunately, the Sharks’ 1996 pick didn’t share the same goaltending ability; Larocque the Younger gave up nine goals in 152 minutes over three appearances in January 2001.

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Round 7:  No. 201

The best: D Slava Fetisov. The Canadiens never saw a return from their 1978 12th rounder, who played behind the Iron Curtain until 1989, when he was finally allowed to move to the West in 1989, at age 31. By then, he was a New Jersey Devil, having been redrafted at No. 145 in 1983. He paid off for the Devils, finishing eighth in Calder voting with eight goals and 34 assists in 72 games. But his greatest contribution came in Detroit as a 37-year-old; traded to the Wings in early April 1995, he and the Russian Five led the Wings to three Stanley Cup finals, including back-to-back Cups in 1997-98. His 228 career points in 546 NHL games don’t tell the story of his 2001 Hall of Fame induction; in 2008’s balloting for the IIHF’s Centennial All-Star Team, he was named on 54 of 56 ballots — 16 more than Wayne Gretzky received as the team’s starting center.

The worst: A pair of recent picks — Rafael Harvey-Pinard (2019, Canadiens) and Adam Raska (2020, Sharks) — are just getting started, with nine games combined already. We’ll go with the Blackhawks’ 1995 pick, Casey Hankinson. A reliable scorer at Minnesota (50 goals in 149 games with the Golden Gophers) struggled in the NHL, with only a lone assist — in his third career game, on March 18, 2001 — in 18 games with Chicago and Anaheim.

Round 7: No. 212

The best: RW Radim Vrbata. The Czech native was selected by the Colorado Avalanche in 1999 and debuted during the 2001-02 season — finishing sixth in Calder Trophy voting — but lasted just 118 games with that franchise before being dealt to Carolina. That kicked off a nomadic run that saw him play for six teams over 16 seasons, racking up 284 goals and 339 assists in 1,057 games, eighth-best among all seventh-rounders.

The worst: It’s tough to say there’s a “worst” when just eight of the 33 No. 212’s have made the NHL. But we’ll note that the Wings have picked at No. 212 twice, taking Mike Stern in 1982 and Logan Pyett in 2006; neither made the big club’s roster. Stern posted 123 points over two seasons in juniors after the Wings selected him, then played in just 32 games — with 115 penalty minutes — with the Wings’ AHL affiliate over the next two seasons. Pyett also spent two postdraft seasons in juniors before four years in the AHL with the Wings organization.

Contact Ryan Ford at rford@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @theford.

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