Red Wings: 3 Biggest Needs in 2024 NHL Draft

The Hockey Writers

With the NHL draft lottery officially behind us, the Detroit Red Wings are locked into the 15th position in all seven rounds (excluding the fourth round where they hold the Dallas Stars’ pick instead of their own.) This is the lowest their first round pick has been since the 2014 draft where they selected a kid named Dylan Larkin.

The Red Wings made great strides this season, coming up one point short of ending their playoff drought. With that in mind, their rebuild has seemingly entered a new phase. While they will still utilize the draft to add talent to an already impressive pool of prospects, they can now lean a little more towards filling needs rather than simply adding the best player available – though that approach should still be their guiding compass.

Steve Yzerman Detroit Red Wings
Steve Yzerman, Detroit Red Wings (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

General manager Steve Yzerman and his scouting team have done well to fill their prospect pool with potential impact players at each position. However, as the pool continues to produce everyday NHLers, that talent needs to be replenished, especially because the Red Wings may soon find themselves in a position where they are dealing away draft picks to further enhance their current roster. This draft may be one of their last opportunities to add a quantity of quality prospects that address several needs within their system.

As for what their biggest needs are, this list has you covered.

Right-Handed Defensemen

This was a need heading into last year’s draft, and it continues to be one even though the Red Wings added Axel Sandin Pellikka at 17th overall last year. 

The Red Wings have several left-handed defensemen in their prospect pool, led by Simon Edvinsson, that project to play in the NHL in various roles. On the right side of the blue line, things thin out pretty quickly after Sandin Pellikka. Andrew Gibson and Antti Tuomisto are both right-handed defense prospects in Detroit’s system that are worth monitoring, but that’s pretty much it aside from a few longshot candidates.

Related: Red Wings Mock Draft 1.0: Detroit Picks 15th

In the interest of continuing to add depth at all positions in their prospect pool, a few more right-handed defensemen would be welcome. The 2024 draft class is rich with defensemen, and that should allow Detroit to add at least one more high-potential defender to their current stash.

Yzerman’s Home-Run Swing

The Detroit Tigers are the only major sports team that is still active in Detroit, so sports fans across the state of Michigan are looking for home runs this summer. For the Red Wings, this isn’t about knocking a baseball into the stands, it’s about swinging for the fences and betting on players with high potential. 

The Red Wings’ draft strategy under Yzerman and head of amateur scouting Kris Draper has generally been to bet on “high-floor” players that are perceived to be safe bets to become NHL players. Outside of Sebastian Cossa and, arguably, Edvinsson, the Red Wings have generally left some upside on the table with their picks in the draft. With most of their needs addressed through previous drafts, now is the time to take on a little risk by selecting a player that may have some quirks, but could become a legitimate star in the NHL.

When you bet on potential like this, the position doesn’t matter as much – teams need stars throughout their lineup, and there’s no such thing as having too many at any one position. But if there is one position they should try to target a high-upside individual, it’s on the wing.

Another Offensive Winger to Compliment Raymond 

The Red Wings have not taken a winger in the first round of the draft since they selected Lucas Raymond with the fourth pick back in 2020. Since then, he has developed into the team’s top winger and, arguably, their top player overall, but the team has had to rely on free agency to fill the their needs on the wing elsewhere in the lineup. Heck, that’s the reason folks are worried about Patrick Kane departing in the offseason – there’s nobody in the system that can come close to replacing him.

The Red Wings have more defensive prospects than they realistically have room for. They have two goalie prospects with legitimate starter potential. Down the middle, they have solid depth as well, led by Marco Kasper and Nate Danielson, their top picks in the last two drafts. They have some notable wingers in their prospect pool, but there really aren’t many that project to make a big impact in the NHL.

Despite this list, the Red Wings truly don’t have a ton of needs in the draft due to their quantity and quality of prospects at each position group – except for on the wing. The ideal outcome of the 2024 draft is that the Red Wings are able to add wingers with size and skill, led by the player they pick at 15th overall.

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