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Abel to Yzerman

Will They Become Good To Great NHL Players?

I have never understood this type of comparison except for the 'we drafted this player in this round and maybe it will happen again' theory.

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

They are the long shots of the drafts, the players who, if they become regulars in the NHL, are referred to as "later-round gems."

Notable players drafted in rounds 4-7 by the Detroit Red Wings include Sergei Fedorov, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Gustav Nyquist, Darren Helm and Petr Mrazek. In the 2020 NHL draft, general manager Steve Yzerman and his scouting staff mined the later rounds for two forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender in hopes of adding a player or two to the rebuild. Two have impeccable hockey pedigrees, and all appear determined to overcome the odds of making the NHL from their draft slots.

F Sam Stange, 4th round (No. 97 overall)
This was quite a round for the Wings. Fedorov, three-time Stanley Cup champion, was taken at 74th overall in 1989, when NHL teams were wary of drafting Russians because of the Cold War. There’s also John Ogrodnick (drafted No. 66 in 1979), who played 558 games with the Wings, and Nyquist (No. 121, 2008), who recorded 295 points in 481 games in a Wings uniform.

Stange (6 foot, 200 pounds) is in good hands, committed to play at Wisconsin, where he’ll be coached by former NHL’er and ex-Wings assistant coach Tony Granato. Stange projects as a power forward. “I’m a bigger, stronger forward who relies on my shot and my speed,” he said. “I also think I’m pretty responsible defensively, so I’d say I’m a two-way forward. One of the things I’m looking to work on is using my size and strength a little bit more, just being more physical.”

more players

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Paul's avatar

Carley Johnston will be on Instagram today with Lucas Raymond at 10:30am.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 10/16/20 at 09:36 AM ET

Primis's avatar

I personally think the late-round steals are mostly a bygone thing.  Far too much scouting and analysis nowadays for teams to “miss” guys.  And to be honest… more resources to put into the guys taken in the earlier rounds to give them a better chance of success.  If a team gets one anymore, it’s almost sheer luck and chance.

We like to look at Pavel and Z and guys like that, but the reality is you’re not even gonna’ likely find a Jon Ericsson last overall anymore either.

I actually expect in the next few years that the NHL will at some point to pare down draft rounds some more, with all of this in mind.  Especially with Seattle coming in soon, which mean an extra guy taken each round anyways…

Posted by Primis on 10/16/20 at 09:42 AM ET


Posted by Primis on 10/16/20 at 09:42 AM ET

Agreed, it is mostly luck, the other situation is if there may be a specific issue at draft time that may cause the player to fall to the later rounds(substance abuse, legal issue, or specific medical condition), but that just means the team that picked them at that point was less risk averse than the other teams, not that it was a great pick.

I don’t see the draft changing though, just the expectation over time.  It is just more openly considered/understood that the later rounds are for filling out the affiliate teams or maybe taking a risk on someone like I mentioned above.  Not that they are going to make the NHL level.  Expanded scouting and physical testing, as well as social media to a certain extent are making the hidden diamonds few and far between.

Posted by murph1jj on 10/16/20 at 01:19 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

The Wings got Sergei as late as they did because Jimmy Devalano had a big pair , and because nobody thought the Russians would allow them to leave.

The Russian world junior team’s top line in ‘89 was Alexander Mogilny -Sergei Fedorov - Pavel Bure. It’s not because the scouts were unaware of the players… shut eye

Posted by Down River Dan on 10/16/20 at 01:40 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

I personally think the late-round steals are mostly a bygone thing. 

Posted by Primis on 10/16/20 at 09:42 AM ET

Depends on the degree in which your holding that to.  I think its certainly reduced, and maybe you don’t find a bunch of future HOF players in the 6th round like the wings did that’s for sure, but there will still be high end players that pop out out of the later rounds or go un-drafted.   

Drafting kids at 18-19 years old in hockey is just a crap shoot, because they’re not all playing on the same stage among their peers as they develop into adults like they do in football.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 10/16/20 at 01:51 PM ET

The Meal's avatar

Agreed, MC.  And traits-at-professional-age are especially hard to observe and project in the era of the pandemic.

Posted by The Meal from Firestone, CO on 10/16/20 at 02:36 PM ET

The Meal's avatar

You don’t have to look much farther than Tom Dundan’s (CAR owner) response to Jarmo Kekalainen’s (CLB GM) first round pick: https://theathletic.com/2130489/2020/10/13/the-nhls-wildest-week-inside-carolinas-war-room-for-the-draft-and-free-agency/ (paywall)

Posted by The Meal from Firestone, CO on 10/16/20 at 02:39 PM ET

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com