Same old lottery fate: Detroit Red Wings stay in place, will pick ninth in 2023 NHL draft

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Red Wings stayed in place and will ninth pick in the NHL draft lottery 2023 on Monday night.

The Wings had a 5% chance of picking first overall. It’s the third straight year they have stayed in place.

They have more than seven weeks to think on their selection, with the draft set for June 28-29 in Nashville, Tennessee.

This is considered a marquee draft class with center Connor Bedard of the WHL’s Regina Pats as the consensus top pick. He possesses an ability to maneuver the puck that leaves opponents helpless, and will have an immediate impact on the trajectory of the team that gets him.

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Michigan center Adam Fantilli is the favorite for the second pick. He won the Hobey Baker Award this past season, the third freshman to do so, and was the NCAA’s top scorer with 30 goals and 35 assists in 36 games.

The Wings also control the New York Islanders’ first-rounder at No. 18 overall, acquired March 1 in the Filip Hronek trade with the Vancouver Canucks. The Wings own three second-round picks, including Vancouver’s and St. Louis’. General manager Steve Yzerman could also package select picks into a trade for a player who could help the Wings in the present.

Yzerman has said it multiple times: The Wings need to get their first pick in each draft right. Ideally the Wings get all their picks right, of course, but the first pick, giving them access to the biggest talent pool, has grown in magnitude since the Wings’ playoff streak ended in 2017.

That has relegated them to the NHL’s annual draft lottery for seven straight years, a chance for rebuilding teams to get lucky and get the first overall pick.

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From 2017-2022, the Wings did not pick higher than fourth overall.

In 2017, they were pushed back from seventh to ninth, and chose forward Michael Rasmussen.

In 2018, the Wings dropped from fifth to sixth, and selected forward Filip Zadina. That was the last of the picks made by former GM Ken Holland and his director of amateur scouting, Tyler Wright.

In 2019, the Wings once again were pushed back, from fourth to sixth. Yzerman made up for that, though, in selecting defenseman Moritz Seider. He was named the 2022 Calder Trophy winner, awarded to the NHL’s top rookie.

The next year, 2020, was dreadful. When the global pandemic shut down the NHL on March 12, the Wings were 17-49-5, and had 23 fewer points than the 30th-place Ottawa Senators. The Wings had 18.5% odds to pick first, but were bumped to fourth, while the New York Rangers went from the playoff bubble to picking first. Yzerman chose forward Lucas Raymond, a skilled winger with top-line capabilities.

In 2021, it almost seemed like the Wings got lucky in the lottery, because at least they didn’t get pushed back. They retained the sixth pick, which they used on defenseman Simon Edvinsson.

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The Wings stayed in place again in 2022, at No. 8, and drafted center Marco Kasper.

Contact Helene St. James at Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames.

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Her latest book, “On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft,” is available from  Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

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