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Wings Could Take Vasili Podkolzin In The First Round Of The NHL Draft

In the lead-up to the 2019 NHL draft, Free Press sports writer Helene St James will be looking at draft fits for the Detroit Red Wings:...

In this edition, I have the Wings selecting right wing Vasili Podkolzin. He has been projected to go as high as third overall, but a number of factors could see him available at sixth – or drop out of the top 10.

Podkolzin, who will turn 18 later this month, is ultra competitive, a tenacious guy at both ends of the ice. He had eight goals and five assists in 26 games split between Russia’s junior league and second-highest league, and went scoreless in three KHL appearances. Those numbers pale compared to other top-rated prospects, but Podkolzin is strong on the puck and once he gets into a rhythm with his KHL team, his numbers should rise.

Podkolzin’s stock slipped after being limited to three assists during seven games representing his native Russia at the World Junior Championship, and Podkolzin didn’t help himself with a subpar performance at the U-18 World Championship. While he sagged in projections, players such as Cozens, Bowen Byram and Alex Turcotte rose.

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RWBill's avatar

I am looking forward to the end of the SCF so we can finally get on with seeing the build of the Wings, the who and the how.  Not sure anything dramatic will happen soon.  Steve indicated he wasn’t going to come in and start overturning apple carts, that is probably so but also may have been the right thing to say at an introductory news conference with the former GM and friend seated next to him.

Would not mind seeing him waive a couple of vets after he’s had a month or two to watch.  Maybe they’ll become energized and productive realizing that no one has a guaranteed spot anymore.

Posted by RWBill on 06/12/19 at 11:23 AM ET


Of the higher-rated prospects which could realistically be available at #6, this one probably makes me the most nervous. Seems like there’s a pretty wide range of opinions on his ceiling, let alone the whole KHL part. I hope the Wings go with someone else.

Posted by RyanVM on 06/12/19 at 01:35 PM ET

Steeb's avatar

It seems like that sort of “third tier” (after Hughes/Kakko and Byram/Turcotte) the next 4 or 5 guys seem about equal in how they’re average ranking goes. So given that Zegras/Couzens/Dach/Pod are all about level in potential (and I know very little about Pod) I’d rather take one of the guys who we can get into our system, and if they’re as good as we hope, crack the lineup this year or next, rather than having Pod being otherwise NHL ready but playing in the KHL. I don’t know if the KHL is “better” than the AHL, either (altho apparently the travel is pretty brutal). And if/when he does come over after his Russian contract is up, will we be comfortable throwing him right into the big club? If so, more power to him.

Posted by Steeb on 06/12/19 at 02:16 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

I sure don’t see Byram at #5, DMen are wanted by every team.

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 06/12/19 at 03:02 PM ET

Royal Grand Exalted PooBah's avatar

They shouldn’t take a chance on him unless they have done their homework and found out if he does want to come to the US to play. And more specifically Detroit. The Wings need to hit on at least 2 or 3 players this year to make up for not getting consistent hits in previous years.

Maybe I am getting impatient.

Posted by Royal Grand Exalted PooBah from the basement of the Alamo on 06/12/19 at 04:36 PM ET

Royal Grand Exalted PooBah's avatar

There is a highlite vid on youtube that I thought he looked good but watching the tournament he was kind of invisible. I was impressed with Kravetsov or something close that got drafted by the Rangers.

Posted by Royal Grand Exalted PooBah from the basement of the Alamo on 06/12/19 at 04:42 PM ET


The general feel I get in the mock drafts around is Byram, Turcotte and Cozens get picked before #6. If that’s the case the choice will be something like a pick between Podkolzin, Zegras and Dach or maybe Caufield - some people around really put him on the same page albeit his size.
I don’t really have any strong opinion after Byram. They all seem to have enough quality.

If the Wing was to pick some 8 spots down in the draft would bet on one of the Swedish defenders. But at 6 there’s forwards who are just too good to pass.

Posted by Dseven on 06/13/19 at 01:25 AM ET

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About Abel to Yzerman

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