Detroit Red Wings Draft Nate Danielson 9th Overall

The Hockey Writers

With the 9th pick of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, the Detroit Red Wings have selected Nate Danielson from the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League (WHL)

About Nate Danielson

Nate Danielson is arguably one of the most complete centermen in this draft class. While he might be a safe pick at the top of the draft, odds are he will probably make it to the NHL sooner rather than later due to his two-way game. Much like Bo Horvat in his draft year, he has the tools to break into the league as a fourth-line center and progressively move his way up the lineup as he develops.

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Danielson had a monster season with the Brandon Wheat Kings, leading the team with 33 goals and 78 points in 68 games. He also wore the “C,” adding an intangible of leadership to the complete package he already possesses.

THW Prospect Profile Excerpt

“Nate Danielson is a fast, intelligent center with no obvious flaws in his game. On a weaker Brandon Wheat Kings’ team, he’s established himself as the best offensive threat, leading the team with 32 goals and 76 points in 63 games. Among first-year draft-eligible players in the Western Hockey League (WHL), those totals rank eighth in points and sixth in goals. But what’s most impressive is that he takes relatively few shots, averaging just under four a game. He rarely settles for low-danger chances and instead waits for the best chance to score. While that could be a way for him to compensate for a less dynamic shot, he’s proven that he can do incredible things with the puck.

Nate Danielson Team White
Nate Danielson, Team White, 2023 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game (Ryan Molag / Langley Events Centre)

“However, Danielson tends to be more of a playmaker rather than a sniper. He loves to carry the puck up the boards and draw in the opponents, putting them exactly where he wants them and allowing him to send a quick pass to the open space where a teammate can pick it up and have a good scoring chance. His ability to move the puck has been somewhat overlooked simply because the Wheat Kings lack high-end shooters, as many of his passes are mishandled and result in turnovers rather than scoring attempts.

“But what makes Danielson such a dangerous offensive player is his ability to move and carry the puck while skating at top speed. He’s an exceptionally fast skater, using a long, smooth stride to quickly generate speed and employing very strong edgework and crossovers to change directions on a dime. He might be one of the best skaters at the 2023 Draft, and in an incredibly deep draft class, that is saying something.”

Full player profile can be found here.

How This Affects the Red Wings’ Plans

As mentioned off the top, Danielson could be an NHL player sooner than most of the forward prospects in this draft (apart from Fantilli and Bedard). So, the Red Wings might be looking at him as a third or fourth-line center in a couple of seasons. He will most likely return to the WHL for 2023-24, but could be knocking on the door as soon as 2024-25. With a skill set of size, two-way acumen, and the potential to be a captain someday, the Red Wings got a good one at ninth-overall in Danielson.

2023 NHL Entry Draft Guide Connor Bedard and Adam Fantilli Banner

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