Red Wings Have History on Their Side with 15th Pick in 2024 NHL Draft

The Hockey Writers

With the NHL Draft Lottery taking place on May 7, the Detroit Red Wings (and the entire league, for that matter) find themselves right where the odds had them at pick number 15 for the 2024 Draft. While the Red Wings have picked at that slot a few times over the last 10 drafts (Dylan Larkin in 2014, Sebastian Cossa in 2021), there have also been a number of instances in the past that should help give fans some hope and excitement that the team could end up getting a player who will become a big piece of the future.

2019 – Cole Caufield

Being ranked third amongst North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings, Cole Caufield seemingly fell right into the Montreal Canadiens’ lap in the 2019 Draft at pick 15. He has been one of the most exciting youngsters in the league, thanks to his wicked shot. He has helped bring hope and excitement to the Canadiens fan base for the future of the team and is certainly one of the league’s up-and-coming stars. Red Wings fans can only hope that a player of Caufield’s caliber will fall to the team in this year’s draft.

2008 – Erik Karlsson

In the 2008 Draft, the Ottawa Senators selected defenseman Erik Karlsson with the 15th pick, and he ended up becoming easily the best defenseman in the organization’s history. In his time with the Senators, he was one of the league’s best offensive defensemen and won himself the Norris Trophy twice (2012 and 2015) before being traded to the San Jose Sharks. He won yet another Norris Trophy with the Sharks in 2023 before once again being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins last offseason. While not known as a prototypical defenseman and lacking in the defensive zone a bit, Karlsson continues to be one of the league’s most exciting defensemen to watch in the offensive zone of the ice.

1991 – Alexei Kovalev

The New York Rangers struck gold when they were able to take Russian-born Alexei Kovalev in the 1991 Draft. He had a 19-season career in the NHL, with nine of those being spent in a Rangers uniform. He not only was an offensive force throughout his career but also played a rugged style of game. He played an integral role for the Rangers in their Stanley Cup-winning season in 1994 when he put up 23 points.

Related: Red Wings: 3 Biggest Needs in 2024 NHL Draft

Kovalev eventually made a couple more stops in his career, including time with the Penguins, Canadiens, Senators, and Florida Panthers. To this day, he is in the top 10 in regular season points (1,029), goals (430), and assists (599) among all Russian-born NHL players.

1987 – Joe Sakic

A player that many fans know very well from the rivalry between the Colorado Avalanche and the Red Wings in the 1990s, Joe Sakic played a significant role in that rivalry. He was both a pest to play against with his relentless motor and play in the defensive zone, along with being an offensive force as well. He is another player who had a lengthy career, playing a total of 20 seasons, all with the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche organization, and earned All-Star status 12 times in those 20 seasons. His best individual season came in 2000-01 when he won a trio of awards, including the Hart Trophy (NHL MVP), Lady Byng (sportsmanship), and the Ted Lindsay Award (Most Outstanding Player as selected by the NHLPA).

Joe Sakic, Colorado Avalanche
Joe Sakic, Colorado Avalanche (THW Archives)

Sakic’s play in the playoffs was one of the best throughout the time he played in the league, including scoring eight overtime goals for the Avalanche while helping the organization to two Stanley Cups as well. He is the organization’s regular season all-time leader in eight major offensive statistic categories including games played (1,378), goals (625), and assists (1,016). He also finds himself in the top ten amongst all Canadian-born players in points in the regular season along with being sixth all-time in playoff points with 188. He is also a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame after being inducted in the 2012 class, along with being named as one of the league’s greatest 100 players in 2018.

1981 – Al MacInnis

Known best for his booming slapshot and body-crunching hits, the Calgary Flames found themselves a future Hall-of-Famer in the 1981 Draft at pick 15 with defenseman Al MacInnis. He may not have the individual accolades or Stanley Cups as Sakic or Kovalev, but he put together a strong and lengthy career. He played a total of 23 seasons between the Flames and the St. Louis Blues while being a 12-time All-Star and another player who earned the accolade of being one of the league’s greatest 100 players of all time.

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MacInnis is third all-time among Canadian-born defensemen in assists (934) and points (1274). A player who could be a physical force on the ice and have the level of offense that MacInnis had would clearly be a welcome sign to any organization.

1977 – Mike Bossy

A player whose career was not nearly as long as most of the aforementioned players, but was a Hall of Fame-worthy one, comes in the form of the New York Islanders’ 1977 15th overall pick of Mike Bossy. He only played a total of 10 seasons in the NHL but topped the 65-goal mark twice in that stretch in the 1978-79 season (69 goals) and the 1980-81 season (68 goals). During his ten-year career, he was one of, if not the most prolific goal scorers in the NHL while helping lead the Islanders organization to four straight Stanley Cups (1980-1983).

Individually, Bossy won the 1978 Calder Trophy (NHL Rookie of the Year) along with being the winner of the Lady Byng three different seasons (1983, 1984, 1986). On top of being a four-time Stanley Cup winner, he was a seven-time All-Star as well. He earned Hall of Fame status in 1991 and joined Sakic and MacInnis in the league’s top 100 greatest of all-time list.

History Shows There Is a Chance

While every team hopes to get lottery luck and pick as high as possible in the draft, history has shown that the Red Wings have a strong chance that they will find a player who will contribute to the organization in a big way. I am in no way saying that a player of Bossy or Sakic’s caliber is going to be what they will get in the 2024 Draft but picking a player that can have an impact anything remotely close to what Dylan Larkin has had for the team could end up being a strong addition to an already solid farm system that Steve Yzerman has helped to build.

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