The Detroit Red Wings fell one spot from fifth to sixth during Saturday’s NHL draft lottery presentation.
So, you can kiss the Rasmus Dahlin dreams goodbye.
The Red Wings had an 8.5 percent chance to win the No. 1 pick and a 26.1 percent chance to pick in the top three.
However, there still are some solid options left at sixth. This draft is much deeper than last year, so the Red Wings — and fans alike — should be very happy with the selection. Detroit needs a top-two defenseman, but will it go with the best available option should the best defensemen get selected? Here’s a look at some of the players who should be available.
"A" Group (Pick No. 1)
"B" Group (Picks 4-12)
"C" Group (Picks 13-31)
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) April 29, 2018
Evan Bouchard – D
Evan Bouchard had 25 goals and 62 assists in 67 points last season as captain for the OHL’s London Knights. The 6-foot-2, 192-pound right-handed defensemen is an “intelligent all-around defenceman that plays with poise and can shift the pace of play in a multitude of ways, according to Elite Prospects. He is ranked as the No. 4 North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. Here is the rest of Curtis Joe’s assessment:
A highly intelligent all-around defenceman that plays with poise and can shift the pace of play in a multitude of ways. Showcases smooth four-way skating ability and loves to get involved in all situations – especially when that situation happens to be an up-ice rush. Has a polished offensive skill-set which includes well-timed passes and a sneaky, erratic shot. Goes with the high percentage play and makes smart decisions. Could work on strength behind his shot. Defensively active, cutting off lanes and always staying in excellent positioning. Reads cues well in all three zones and seems to stay a step ahead. All-in-all, a well-rounded defender with great hockey sense and work ethic.
So, not the once-in-a-lifetime player that Dahlin likely will be, but a solid two-way defenseman that certainly could shore up some of the Red Wings’ issues on the blue line.
Noah Dobson – D
Noah Dobson had 17 goals and 52 assists in 67 games for the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan. He’s slightly taller than Bouchard, but not nearly as heavy, standing at 6-foot-3, 179 pounds. From EP’s Joe:
A talented two-way defenceman that can play in all situations and stay productive. Uses his edges well and is, for the most part, a very smooth skater; however, as he gets stronger and adjusts to a more up-tempo style of hockey, he will need to work on his speed in gap-closing. Offensively, he utilizes his keen sense of awareness to be in the right spot at the right time, every time. Soft hands and a deadly shot accentuate his ability to get creative, on occasion. Rock solid defensively, his strong positioning severely limits time and space for the opposition. All-in-all, a well-rounded, reliable, and consistent defenceman that can log a lot of ice time and provide his team with a stable presence on the back end.
Dobson, a right-hander, appears to be a great backup plan should Bouchard be selected in the top five. More of a defensive defenseman than Bouchard, but a solid, shutdown option.
Quinn Hughes – D
Quinn Hughes had five goals and 24 assists in 37 games for the University of Michigan. He also had three assists in seven games for the U20 U.S. national junior team, helping his team win bronze at the 2018 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships. From EP’s Joe:
An elite defensive talent that has mastered the elements of speed and decision-making. He is calculated in his handling of the puck and well-versed in his ability to limit time and space for the opposition without the puck. It’s almost taken for granted, now, that he is a highly skilled offensive player, simply due to his individual ability to carry plays and outfox the opposition in their own end. His creativity and vision is what sets him apart from many other defenders, and he plays that exciting style of hockey that punishes opponents’ mistakes with immediacy. It’s his proactivity through the neutral zone, not just limiting the time and space for the opposition but limiting their options to move the puck up-ice every time he’s on a shift, that makes him so potent. All-in-all, a complete defenceman that understands how to open up a game and take it over.
We know how much general manager Ken Holland loves his hometown players, and with Hughes playing roughly 40 minutes away in Ann Arbor, Holland surely has seen him quite a bit. The 5-foot-10, 174-pound left-hander is a bit smaller than the first two options but makes up for it with great decision-making.
Oliver Wahlstrom – RW
The Red Wings probably should select a defenseman with their first pick, but should the better options get taken, they always could go with Oliver Wahlstrom, who had 47 goals and 45 assists in 60 games with the U.S. National U18 team. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound right-hander also has seven goals and two assists in six games during the U18 World Championship. From Future Considerations:
Wahlstrom is a flashy puck wizard who creates offensive chances almost casually…can dance around the ice with the puck on a string, making filthy dekes…he moves around the ice with an effortless, yet powerful, stride that generates plenty of speed…starts and stops on the puck…impressive lateral quickness for his size make him elusive…possesses strong instincts and vision on the ice…makes some skilled passes that put his teammates in prime scoring opportunities, sometimes to their surprise…patient with the puck…loves to shoot the puck and has a rifle of a shot with a surprisingly tricky release…strong on his feet and willing to play in greasy areas of the ice…can be a load to handle when he gets moving…can be relentless in his offensive efforts…protects the puck well using his reach and body position…physical game is there in flashes…when he is engaged he is tenacious and viscous on the forecheck and relentless in his puck pursuit…has some impressive offensive upside at the next level but needs to show he wants it before he’ll reach it.
The Red Wings definitely need more aggressive shoot-first players, but the needs on the blue line far outweigh drafting a winger at the sixth spot.
Adam Boqvist – D
Another undersized defenseman, Adam Boqvist had 14 goals and 10 assists in 25 games for Brynas IF J20 in the SuperElit league. He also added an assist in 15 games for Brynas IF in the SHL. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound right-hander is the No. 2-ranked European skater by NHL Central Scouting, so it’s very possible Boqvist doesn’t even fall to the Red Wings. From EP’s Joe:
A dynamic offensive defenceman that can carry plays with the puck on his stick. A highly mobile and nimble skater that moves with fluidity, balance, and confidence. Utilizes an active stick and creates turnovers frequently. Could be more proactive in his own end, but has shown progression in understanding lanes and reading unfolding plays; most of his best defensive work comes through the neutral zone, as there is a lot less time and space to work with, and it is in those moments that Boqvist shines. Offensively, Boqvist is electric; he has the toolbox of a top line forward. Slick puckhandling ability paired with excellent vision and positional awareness makes him a dangerous threat every time he is on the ice. He also takes advantage of the attention and bodies he draws towards himself in creating space for teammates. All-in-all, Adam Boqvist is a complete offensive defenceman that knows how to get the puck from point A to the back of the net, and can make it happen all by himself.
While there is nothing inherently wrong with a smaller defenseman, the Red Wings have a plethora of them. However, the game today is all about speed, and Boqvist fits that bill.
Are there other players you would like the Red Wings to target? Let us know in the comments section!