Detroit Red Wings’ 2024 First-Round Draft Targets – Liam Greentree

The Hockey Writers

The Detroit Red Wings will pick 15th in the 2024 Draft, the lowest selection they have earned since the 2016 Draft (20th overall after trading from the 16th pick with the then-Arizona Coyotes) when they selected defenseman Dennis Cholowski. While the Cholowski pick did not work out as hoped, the organization has had some luck with the 15th overall pick over the last ten drafts, landing both captain Dylan Larkin (2014) and goaltender Sebastian Cossa (2021).

Heading into this year’s draft, general manager Steve Yzerman finds himself in a good position, boasting one of the league’s best pipelines. Having this in his back pocket means he could pick a player who could be seen as a luxury or a project, and there is one player, if available, Yzerman would likely be very happy to select, who fits the mold as a strong two-way player with a relentless motor and work ethic. That player is Liam Greentree from the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).

On a weaker Spitfires team this season, Greentree showcased his offensive game with a strong shot and solid playmaking ability. He is a 200-foot player who is more than willing to play as much defense as he is offense. Offensively, he can get himself and his teammates into good position for success. When he has the puck on his stick, he is constantly looking around to make the smartest play possible. At times, he does make iffy decisions, but Greentree is, for the most part, solid with his decision-making. However, it’s his shot that causes the most damage offensively, as he has progressively improved and honed in on it, scoring a team-high 36 goals this season.

Related: THW’s 2024 NHL Draft Guide

Defensively, he does not stick out but uses his reach and length to his advantage to make plays at his end of the ice to help limit the opposition’s chances.

Where Greentree Needs to Improve

As a bigger player (6-foot-2, 198 pounds), Greentree does not get involved in the physical aspect of the game as much as many would expect. If he can garner the confidence and consistency to play a more physical game, it would help him at both ends of the ice. Along with his physicality, for his size, Greentree’s skating ability is a bit behind some of his contemporaries. He improved on this throughout the season, but it is still an area that needs development that the organization that selects him will keep a close eye on as he progresses.

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As mentioned, his decision-making can go a little haywire; if he continues to develop his high hockey IQ, he will be able to cut down on the number of turnovers and sloppy plays he can make, at times.

What Others Are Saying

“Scoring is far from the only thing Greentree can do. He’s a fantastically creative player who can move the puck as though it were on a string. His puck control, especially while moving, is not an easy skill to learn, but he makes it look almost effortless. His ability to think of a quick solution while being pressured can create some incredible highlight-worthy goals and plays, and his slipperiness is comparable to much smaller players like Luke Misa and Berkly Catton. Yet Greentree stands 6-foot-2 and weighs in at 198 pounds already, which gives him a reach and strength advantage that few top-end playmakers possess.”- Dayton Reimer, THW

Liam Greentree Windsor Spitfires
Liam Greentree, Windsor Spitfires (David Jewell / The Hockey Writers)

“He can skate. He can think. He can shoot the puck. He can make plays, he asserts himself, he doesn’t lose advantages, he gains advantages, and you know, all those elements that you think about as an NHL player, they scream NHL. They scream long-time NHL player. They scream a player that’s going to have lots of success. [If] you think of players like him in the NHL – Brock Nelson comes to mind with the New York Islanders. That type of big player that gets in and around the net knows how to score, [and] understands how to play off of other players.”- Craig Button, TSN

“Greentree is a forward blessed with good size and a really nice shot. He’s more than willing to fire the puck anywhere inside the offensive zone, and he’s able to find those quiet areas on the ice where he can receive a pass and execute a quick punch or one-timer on the net. It’s one of his best assets in the offensive zone, that ability to find dead areas in coverage. He’s good at recognizing spacing with his teammates so that he’s not clumping up on rush chances, too. There’s some strong transitional play in his game too.”- Aaron Vickers, FCHockey

Greentree’s Fit With the Red Wings

Given Greentree’s skill set, adding him to a group of right-wingers in the Red Wings’ pipeline that lacks depth would be a huge get. He would easily rise to the top of the list on the organization’s right-wing depth chart. Lucas Raymond is the top winger on the current roster, so Greentree could have an opportunity to rush through the minor league ranks whenever he makes the jump from the OHL. His game resembles that of Michael Rasmussen’s to a degree, but with more of a scoring touch, he would be a much-welcomed draft pick in the Red Wings organization.

Greentree Would Be a Great Addition

With the luxury of a strong pipeline already, taking a player who may end up taking an extra season or two to develop into a full-time NHLer, like Greentree, along with adding much-needed depth at the right-wing position, would be a smart route for Yzerman to take, and he would end up being a great addition if he’s still available.

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