NHL mock draft: Projecting Detroit Red Wings’ first-round selections
Defenseman Quinn Hughes on his friendship with Dylan Larkin and what he learned from Wings coach Jeff Blashill Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press
The NHL is readying for one of its marquee off-season events: the draft.
The event takes place at American Airlines Center in Dallas on June 22 and 23. The first round plays out on Friday night.
Here is my mock draft at this point.
1. Sabres: D Rasmus Dahlin
Buzz: It should take the Sabres less than five seconds to make this selection — the Swedish defenseman is considered a generational talent and should change the fortunes of a franchise that has missed the playoffs seven years running.
2. Hurricanes: F Andrei Svechnikov
Buzz: A complete package — size, skill, scoring knack — in a franchise forward. A game-changer. Brother of Wings forward and 2015 first-round pick Evgeny Svechnikov.
3. Canadiens: F Filip Zadina
Buzz: The Habs need a center, but how do they pass on this big, highly skilled forward with a goal-scorer’s touch and great playmaking ability?
4. Senators: F Brady Tkachuk
Buzz: Hard-nosed, good skater, creates space for teammates, can play in any situation. The type of player others hate to play against.
5. Coyotes: F Oliver Wahlstrom
Buzz: The Coyotes might well nab a defenseman, but Wahlstrom is an elite goal scorer with a terrific one-timer, an ability to get open anywhere, and has a quick and accurate release. He’s a powerful skater with great vision.
6. Red Wings: D Quinn Hughes
Buzz: If Hughes, Evan Bouchard and Noah Dobson all are available here, I’m picking Hughes. Yes, he’s on the smaller side (5-feet-10) whereas Bouchard and Dobson are both 6-feet-plus, but Hughes is a dynamic skater who can skate himself out of trouble and can control play. Has great instincts. He excelled at Michigan this past season, making the Big Ten All-Freshman team as the youngest player in NCAA Division I. Have some fun and imagine him feeding the puck to fellow former U-M standout Dylan Larkin.
7. Canucks: D Evan Bouchard
Buzz: A right-shot D-man who produced 87 points in the OHL last season. Said at combine he believes he’s NHL-ready already.
8. Blackhawks: D Noah Dobson
Buzz: A right-shot D-man with 69 points in 67 games in the QMJHL. Smooth skater who makes a good first pass.
9. Rangers: F Jesperi Kotkaniemi
Buzz: Considered the top center available. Played in Finland’s top league as a teenager. Great vision and playmaking skills.
10. Oilers: D Adam Boqvist
Buzz: Skilled right-shot defenseman, dynamic skater and elite puck mover with great vision. Has tremendous shot.
11. Islanders: D Ty Smith
Buzz: Undersized but smooth skater and power-play quarterback with great character. Had 73 points in 69 games with Spokane (WHL).
12. Islanders (from Calgary): F Barrett Hayton
Buzz: A skilled two-way center with a high hockey IQ and knack for finding open teammates.
13. Stars: F Joe Veleno
Buzz: Regarded as one of the top centers available, he’s a terrific playmaker who finished season with 11 points in 10 playoff games with Drummondville (QMJHL).
14. Flyers (from St. Louis): F Joel Farabee
Buzz: Swift skater and puck mover with a high hockey IQ and a quick release on his shot.
15. Panthers: D Bode Wilde
Buzz: Has size and skill, can play in all situations, and has a big shot. Headed to Michigan next season. Was the top point-producing defenseman on the U.S. U-18 team in 2017-18 (36 points in 53 games).
16. Avalanche: F Serron Noel
Buzz: Brings the size (6-5, 205 pounds) to be effective in corners and in front of the net, good skater with offensive skills.
Flashback to Wings’ recent drafts:
17. Devils: D Rasmus Sandin
Buzz: Led rookie OHL defensemen with 45 points, has great hockey IQ and is very poised with the puck.
18. Blue Jackets: F Grigori Denisenko
Buzz: Two-way player who protects the puck, moves well in tight spaces, and isn’t afraid to play in hard areas.
19. Flyers: D Alexander Alexeyev
Buzz: Rangy defender with excellent hockey sense who is good at protecting the puck and making tape-to-tape passes.
20. Kings: D Jett Woo
Buzz: Energetic, right-shot defender with a good shot who plays physical, displays smarts and patience. Could be a sleeper.
21. Sharks: D K’Andre Miller
Buzz: Converted forward who boasts size (6-3, 206) and high-end skating, makes good decisions with the puck and potentially has a big offensive upside.
22. Senators (from Pittsburgh): F Akil Thomas
Buzz: Speedy playmaking center who plays bigger than his size (5-11, 171) and isn’t afraid to go into corners.
23. Ducks: F Isac Lundestrom
Buzz: Speedy center with a complete game and terrific offensive-zone instincts. Can play wing, too, and on both special teams. High-end versatility.
24. Wild: F Rasmus Kupari
Buzz: High-end skater with impressive offensive talents.
25. Maple Leafs: D Jared McIsaac
Buzz: Smart, strong skater who can carry the puck and make a good outlet pass.
26. Rangers (from Boston): F Ryan McLeod
Buzz: Known for his speed, passing ability, face-off prowess and offensive flair.
27. Blackhawks (from Nashville): F Ty Dellandrea
Buzz: Fought through a tough season in Flint. Possesses speed and scoring ability to go with determination.
28. Rangers (from Tampa Bay): F Martin Kaut
Buzz: High-end skater with elite puck-handling skills who had seven points in seven games for the Czechs at the world Junior Championship.
29. Blues (from Winnipeg): F Dominik Bokk
Buzz: Right-shot finesse player with sound offensive instincts who is strong on his skates.
30. Red Wings (from Vegas): F Jacob Olofsson
Buzz: If the Wings take a defenseman at sixth, expect them to draft a center at this spot. Olofsson (6-2, 192) plays a two-way game, is strong and patient on the puck and makes soft passes.
31. Capitals: F Vitali Kravtsov
Buzz: KHL rookie of the year is a strong and speedy skater with scoring ability, could emerge as power forward.
Contact Helene St. James: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Check out our Red Wings Xtra app on Apple and Android!