MONTREAL — Steve Yzerman’s first-round picks already have had a beneficial impact on the Detroit Red Wings, and today offers an opportunity to continue that trend. The story will be updated as the draft gets underway at 7 p.m. at Bell Centre.
The Wings stayed steady in the NHL draft lottery this year, giving them their first pick at No. 8. After two years of being run virtually because of the pandemic, the draft will be held in person for the first time since 2019 in Vancouver, when Yzerman used his No. 6 pick on defenseman, Moritz Seider, who had been projected to go in the mid-teens.
Yzerman said earlier this week he would not prioritize position with his first-round pick, but the Wings have multiple bluechip defense prospects and used a first-round pick last year on goaltender Sebastian Cossa.
They lack a bluechip center prospect.
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Seider was named the 2022 Calder Trophy winner. Yzerman’s top choice in 2020, forward Lucas Raymond, finished fourth in the same rookie of the year voting. Defenseman Simon Edvinsson, Yzerman’s first pick in 2021, is expected to make the Wings this fall, and Cossa is likely to begin his pro career and join the Grand Rapids Griffins.
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Since Yzerman was named general manager in 2019, the team’s fortunes have been boosted by his first-round selections. The years prior were scarcer: Forward Evgeny Svechnikov (No. 19, 2015) and defenseman Dennis Cholowski (No. 20, 2016) washed out of the organization after being unable to show they could help the rebuild; forward Michael Rasmussen (No. 9, 2017) looks like he’ll be a bottom-six forward, but that’s below expectations return for a top-10 pick, and forward Filip Zadina (No. 6, 2018) has struggled to establish himself as a top-six winger.
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