On Monday night, the Detroit Red Wings were awarded the No. 9 pick as part of the NHL Draft Lottery. Yet again, the ping pong balls did not fall in Detroit’s favor.
Related: Red Wings Mock Draft 1.0: Detroit Adds Impact Forwards
With the Red Wings’ draft slot secured, we’ll conduct our next two-round mock draft using Future Considerations’ draft simulator. Again, no trades – just picks.
Let’s get to it!
9. C Dalibor Dvorsky – AIK (HockeyAllsvenskan)
Admittedly, I’ve been a fan of Dalibor Dvorsky for some time. He checks all the boxes for what Detroit’s prospect pipeline needs, and is the type of player the Red Wings typically covet.
Dvorsky just wrapped up a breakthrough U18 World Championship where he scored eight goals and added five assists in seven games. His above-average skating and strong hockey IQ allowed him to be a true driver for Slovakia – Dvorsky frequently led the attack up ice and dictated play entering the offensive zone. In addition, Slovakia’s power play was designed to set him up for one-timers on the flank.
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Overall, Dvorsky’s drive and two-way game fits in with Detroit’s culture. His goal-scoring addresses an organizational weak point as well.
18. LW Colby Barlow – Owen Sound (OHL)
Note: If the Florida Panthers advance to the Eastern Conference Final, this pick will move up to No. 17.
Colby Barlow had an impressive U18 World Championship and validated my decision to include him in my first mock. Whether the pick ends up being No. 17 or No. 18, Barlow should be chosen if he’s available. In my opinion, he’s Tyler Bertuzzi 2.0, but a stronger skater and a more skilled goal-scorer.
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41. RD Tom Willander – Rögle (J20 Nationell)
Another carryover from Mock 1.0, Tom Willander also exceeded expectations at the U18 World Championship. In fact, he might have played himself into a first-round draft slot. We’ll keep him here for now since he was available at No. 41.
“[Willander] pulls away or retreats from pressure with ease but is also an excellent outlet passer, which combine to contribute to a proficient game on zone exits. His head is always up. He got his shots through. He was just a two-way monster, as he has been with the national team all year.”
–Scott Wheeler (from ‘2023 U18 World Championship: Wheeler’s tournament standouts and risers’ – The Athletic – 4/30/23)
When it comes to defensemen, the Red Wings have focused on those with elusive skating, commitment to a two-way game, and high hockey IQ – Simon Edvinsson, Moritz Seider, Albert Johansson, and William Wallinder are evidence of that. Willander would fit in perfectly with this bunch.
42. C/LW Anton Wahlberg – Malmö (J20 Nationell)
If the Red Wings want to add size up front, Anton Wahlberg certainly brings that to the table. Like Willander, the 6-foot-3 center just wrapped up a strong U18 World Championship for Sweden, registering six points in seven games.
Personally, I see a little bit of Johan Franzen in Wahlberg’s game. He’s a power forward who gets to the middle of the ice in a hurry. In addition, Wahlberg held his own in 17 SHL games after producing at roughly a point-per-game pace for Malmö’s J20 Nationell team (27 points in 32 games).
Related: THW’s Free 2023 NHL Draft Guide
43. C/RW William Whitelaw – Youngstown (USHL)
Under Yzerman and Draper’s guidance, there has been a trend of plucking skaters out of the USHL in the early rounds of the draft. First there was Robert Mastrosimone in 2019, then Shai Buium and Carter Mazur in 2021, and finally Dylan James last year. Could William Whitelaw be next?
The 5-foot-9 forward is a pest. He has a high compete level and doesn’t shy away from contact. And when you combine this with his goal-scoring prowess and overall speed with and without the puck, you’ve got the makings of an intriguing (and dangerous) bottom-six NHL forward.
More Red Wings Offseason Analysis:
As with my first mock, the Red Wings selected four quality forwards and a right-handed defenseman to upgrade their prospect pipeline. Dvorsky, Barlow, and potentially Willander could reach the NHL by the 2024-25 season, with the others following a year or two after.
In addition, these selections addressed organizational voids – Barlow and Dvorsky could become big-time NHL scorers and Willander would add much-needed depth to the right side of the blue line. And if Wahlberg and Whitelaw evolve into NHLers, Detroit’s 2023 draft class could be one of their best in recent years.