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Photo Credit: Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports

Red Wings 2018 Draft Day One Grades

The future of the Detroit Red Wings has significantly changed, following the end of day one of the 2018 NHL entry draft. They walked in with picks six and thirty, and couldn’t imagine they would walk away with both Filip Zadina and Joe Veleno.

Detroit landed an incredible haul, all thanks to other teams’ mistakes. They took big steps in the rebuilding process with these two picks. Here is my immediate thoughts and how I would grade the selections – both individually and together:

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Filip Zadina – A

With all the problems the Wings had last season, they still managed to make games close. Many of their defeats were by one goal. The addition of Zadina now gives them a much-needed game-breaker. He gives them a real-threat on the powerplay. He has the ability to score from both dots. His presence of the powerplay alone with significantly help this team.

The fun part is how he fell to sixth. Montreal and Arizona chased centers while Ottawa took a less skilled winger instead. With Montreal and Ottawa both being in our division, that only makes Zadina more motivated. He’s hungry to make them regret their decisions.

I can’t wait to play them next season.

However, he makes next season a little difficult as he could certainly play in the NHL next season, but Detroit’s roster is way to cluttered. But hey, that is probably the best problem they could have.

Detroit being able to land Zadina at sixth overall was just fantastic. He helps fill so many organizational holes and gives fans something to be excited about. Zadina has the potential to be the steal of the draft.

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Joe Veleno – A-

Veleno was a surprising player to fall. In a center weak draft many expected Veleno to be a reach candidate. For whatever reason teams kept passing on the once projected top-5 pick. This was another great pick by the Wings. They address a need at center while also going best player available. They left the offensively gifted Bode Wilde on the board, but it is still plausible he slips to one of their early seconds.

Veleno checks all the boxes for what Detroit wanted. He is very mature for his age, and scouts rave about his work ethic. The potential to be a first line center is there, but I think a second line center who contributes on both special teams is more realistic.

Another season in the QMJHL is what I’m expecting, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at least push for a job next season. After Zadina, I would say Veleno is now the second best prospect in the Wings system.

Overall – A

Detroit is one of the early winners of day one. They’ve added elite talent upfront and have made management’s vision more clear. They went best player available. They didn’t reach for size. Zadina and Veleno both look to have bright futures, and now give Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha some friends. The defense still needs some attention but that could be had on day two, with many talented blue-liners still on the board.

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Overall, just a great day for HockeyTown. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.


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