Recapping the Red Wings 2016 NHL Draft

Now that the dust has settled, it is time to give a quick look back at the day’s that were for the Detroit Red Wings. A trade down that involved Pavel Datsyuk will surely be what this draft is remembered for but they may have a couple of sleepers within these picks. Who is going to stick out, five years down the road?

Dennis Cholowski (1st Rd, Pick 20 acquired from Phoenix)

The big news surrounding this pick was obviously the moving of Datsyuk’s contract which helped alleviate cap pressure. By the same token Cholowski isn’t a bad player in his own right. 

Our own Kyle Krische had this to say about the player:

“He started turning heads in the second half of the BCHL playoffs where he managed to put up 15 points in 20 playoff games. As the 23rd overall ranked North American skater the Wings did go off the board slightly with the pick as many believed they were eyeing Russian, German Rubtsov

Standing 6′ tall and 170lbs this kid will need some time still until he’s close to NHL ready. He’s committed to St. Cloud State University where he’ll have a few years to mature in the NCAA program which is only getting more competitive.”

Here are some highlights of Cholowski:

Givani Smith (2nd rd, Pick 46)

Moving into the second round, the Wings had some serious holes to fill on their team depth wise. They selected Smith to add some truculence to their prospect pipeline.

This is what our own Kyle Krische had to say about the pickup: 

“With the 26th pick the Wings selected Givani Smith standing a solid 6’2″, 205 lbs, coming from the OHL’s Guelph Storm. He managed to put up 42 points in 65 games on a rebuilding Guelph team but another stat of note (unusual for the Wings) is he racked up 146 PIMs last season. So his game has some grit, that’s for sure, but he still has been scoring at a 0.46 points-per-game clip in the OHL showing he’s not a one dimensional guy. An interesting pick for the Wings for sure, one that certainly fills a team need with that grit.”

Filip Hronek (2nd rd, Pick 56)

Hronek is a Czech defender with a strong upside to his game. I had this to say about him when I wrote his prospect profile:

“As more of a project, he won’t be selected in the first round by any teams. He could see a selection as early as the second. He has attributes that you look for in a modern defender. The selection process could turn into a game of chicken, you don’t want to be the team reaching for a player you aren’t sure about. A project type of player, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was selected by the Red Wings in the second round.”

Alfons Malmstrom (4th rd, Pick 107)

Malmstrom is a big Swede with some upside, where have we seen that before?

Kyle had this to say about the player:

“Alfons Malmström currently plays in Sweden’s SuperElit league for Örebro HK where he put up 8 points in 31 games last year. SuperElit is Sweden’s highest level junior league, one step below the SHL where we should see Malmström playing sooner than later. At 6’2″, 190lbs the Wings are at least getting another big kid with some mobility in this draft and stuck with what seems to have been the plan with another defenceman.”

Jordan Sambrook (5th rd, Pick 137)

Sambrook is an OHL selection following in the footsteps of the previously mentioned Smith. As an Erie Otters product, he is in a good system. 

Kyle, once again with the info:

“Praised for a well-rounded skill set, plays well without the puck and is dependable in his own end. Scouts like his creativity with the puck and with a potential offensive upside, Sambrook looks like a player who could ease into a dependable all-around guy in the NHL. For now though, lots of time for this kid to develop and hone in his game in the OHL.”

Filip Larsson (6th rd, Pick 167)

Another Swede to add to their prospect collection. This time he is a goaltender that will take some time to develop.

Here is what we had to say about his international play and time in the Superelit League:

“Larsson has been a staple representing Sweden in International play while also spending his regular season time in the SuperElit league. While his regular season numbers have been mediocre, he’s had some exceptional showings come playoffs posting a .927 and .922 save percentage in his last two outings. With Mrazek’s eruption into the NHL spotlight last season, it’s a safe bet for the Red Wings to begin to replenish the goaltending prospects maybe a little sooner than they initially thought they would have to.”

Mattias Elfstrom (7th rd, Pick 197)

7th round Swedes are kind of in the Red Wings wheelhouse. Elfstrom is no different.

Our thoughts:

“The 19-year-old 6’3″ Swede has spent some time in the SuperElit and even a brief stint with the big club the Malmö Redhawks of the SHL. Last season he put up 31 points in 43 games, a big improvement over his 5 points in 32 games the year before. He’s got size, seems to be finding a scoring touch, and the extra year of development before getting drafted certainly doesn’t hurt. Another longterm pick and only the second forward selected by the Wings this year, we’ll be keeping an eye on this kid overseas and praying for maybe another Zetterberg-style 7th round miracle.”