The first round of the draft is what gets the most hype and attention, as teams get the chance to select top end talent. However, rounds 2-7 have the same amount of importance, especially to a team like the Wings, who are attempting to rebuild on the fly. While Detroit has made legendary selections in the first round like Steve Yzerman and Niklas Kronwall, they have also found franchise players later on in the draft, like Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and Nicklas Lidstrom. While i’m not suggesting that Detroit should be expected to find someone of that caliber, there are still some good players in the upcoming draft that Detroit should look into. These are 4 potential players I think they should target, based on where they might fall to, player upside, and team needs.
Calen Addison (2nd round)
I don’t necessarily think Detroit needs to go to heavy with defensemen in the later rounds this year, but if Calen Addison finds himself available for the Wings in the 2nd round, there is no way we can pass on him. Addison is a smart puck mover who likes to contribute offense on the rush and is looking to make a play, rather then have a play come to him. He’s also responsible defensively, as he knows the right times to jump in on the rush, or to stay back. I will say though, he still needs work in his own end, but his commitment to not abandoning his defensive responsibilities is something i’m a fan of. I personally believe he’s a first round talent, but his smaller size (5’10) may drop him back, especially in a year where smaller defensemen may overshadow him, as the more sexier options include Quinn Hughes, Adam Boqvist, and Ryan Merkley. Detroit may already have an abundance of smaller defensive prospects, but Addison’s potential is still very high, to the point where it would be a mistake to not take him if he falls that late.
Alexander Khovanov (2nd/3rd Round)
Khovanov is an interesting selection here. In his pre-draft year, many looked at him as a late first rounder or early 2nd rounder, with the potential to rise. However, he is missing almost his entire draft year due to health reasons. I’m expecting to see him fall to at least mid-2nd round and, at that point, I wouldn’t be surprised if teams are nervous to take him in the 2nd round and we see him fall to the third. Luckily for Detroit, we have two 2nd rounders, so the pressure to take him there isn’t as high compared to some teams, who only have one 2nd rounder. What you’re getting in Khovanov is a dynamic play-maker who thinks the game at a high pace. He has the ability to react quickly and find a high scoring play with his high hockey IQ and incredible vision.
Dominik Bokk (3rd Round)
Bokk’s rankings thus far, have been all over the place, so i’m just going to slot him in as a possible 3rd round candidate. He may go higher, he may go lower, but either way, the Wings should consider taking him in either round 2 or 3. If he’s there by round 3, there should be no excuse for passing on him. As for the 2nd round, it may come down to a few other options, but he should certainly be in the mix. As for Bokk himself, he’s a creative play-making forward, with solid defensive attributes. I look at him as a swiss-army knife player, meaning he can play up and down your lineup. He’s got the skill to be a main contributor on offense, or he can play as a depth player who gives you quality defensive play and adds scoring to your bottom-6 as well.
Jonatan Berggren (3rd/4th Round)
It’s honestly stunning that someone like Berggren can fall this far, due to size. This reminds me of the case with Johnny Gaudreau, a player with obvious talent and skill, and can put up eye-popping numbers, but is looked at as too small to be successful in all areas of the game. With Berggren, he has explosive speed, with high end skill, and a shot that will surprise most goalies with his accuracy and release. In fact, I see Berggren play like Andreas Athanasiou in Johnny Gaudreau’s body. Another aspect of his game, is that he goes to the net to find his goals as well, so he isn’t a one dimensional player on offense. If Berggren does in fact fall somewhere in the 3rd or 4th round, I think he can be the steal of the draft.