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Abel to Yzerman

Adding To The Talent Pool

Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News looks at the draft for the Wings (Pistons too),

This is the first chance to see the new guy running the Wings, kid by the name of Steve Yzerman, whose team-building acumen is well-established....

It’s understandable if the Wings aren’t interested in risk, not yet. They have the No. 6 overall pick, three more in the second round and five of the first 66. They have a chance to shake it up — Yzerman was a willing draft-day dealer with the Lightning and could be so Friday — but they don’t need to, not with plenty of talent available at No. 6. They like the direction of their rebuild and Yzerman has time and leeway....

The Wings are in a difference place, flush with talented young forwards such as Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Bertuzzi. They need a goalie for the future and they definitely need defensemen, via the draft or free-agency starting July 1....

“We have spots on the roster available, but before doing it through trade, I’d look at free-agency to fill those spots,” Yzerman said. “I also want to have some opportunity for our younger players. I’m not gonna sign a free-agent just to sign a free-agent.”

The Wings should get a very good prospect at No. 6, as they did a year ago when Filip Zadina fell to them. It’s unclear if Yzerman will go bold or safe, and there are intriguing possibilities.

Russian winger Vasily Podkolzin might be the third-best prospect overall, but he’s under contract in the KHL. An NHL team could take him, let him develop, then have a seasoned player in two years, as long as he’s willing to leave Russia. Another fascinating player is winger Cole Caufield, the most-prolific goal-scorer in the draft, although he’s only 5-7.


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WingDingy's avatar

“The Wings should get a very good prospect at No. 6, as they did a year ago when Filip Zadina fell to them.”

Either Zadina “fell” to the Wings or Ken Holland failed to see the red flags that others did.  The jury is still very much out on Mr. Zadina.

Posted by WingDingy on 06/20/19 at 07:41 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Well, pretty much everyone who knew anything about the draft last year labeled zadina as a win at 6. It will be years until we know, so maybe a little early for that talk.

Posted by TreKronor on 06/20/19 at 07:46 AM ET


or Ken Holland failed to see the red flags that others did.

What others? I didn’t hear a single negative thing about Zadina following his being picked by the Wings?

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 06/20/19 at 07:58 AM ET

WingDingy's avatar

As did everyone when Ottawa drafted Alexander Daigle in 1993, leaving Chris Pronger, Paul Kariya, Jason Arnott and Rob Neidermayer on the table.  Point being, it’s not a crap shoot, but it’s in the vicinity.

Posted by WingDingy on 06/20/19 at 08:03 AM ET

WingDingy's avatar

Montreal, Ottawa and Arizona.  All three chose other forwards. Zadina was expected to go at #3.  He went at #6.

Posted by WingDingy on 06/20/19 at 08:11 AM ET

Paul's avatar

I am sure most if not all of you know the prospects the Wings could draft, so this is the last mock draft I will post.

Tomorrow we find out who the Wings will pick.

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

(Kirby) Dach appeals with his 6-foot-4, 198-pound size, his smarts and his skill set (he also shoots right). He had 25 goals and 48 assists in 62 games with Saskatoon in the Western Hockey League. He had five goals among eight points in 10 playoff games. Dach had a hand in Canada’s rally in the gold medal game versus Sweden at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzy Cup, scoring a tying goal, and finished the tournament with seven points in five games.

He’s good at driving the net, is a smooth, albeit not speedy, skater with high hockey IQ. At the combine, Dach spoke of his cerebral approach, saying, “ever since I was little I saw things differently than other people and it translates throughout my life. It’s something about the game that just comes easily to me. It’s almost like a chess match.”


Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 06/20/19 at 08:15 AM ET


All three chose other forwards.

Yes, two of them took centres because a centre was their highest need and drafting a winger does nothing to address that.

And Ottawa specifically wanted an agitating forward and drafting a finesse, scoring winger does nothing to address that.

There’s a reason people talk about drafting for need rather than taking the best player available. Ottawa, Montreal and Arizona drafted from need whereas Detroit picked the best player available.

But hey, let’s ignore context and just assume that he’s terrible because three mediocre GMs who are at the low end of the NHL’s list of the most respected execs passed him over.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 06/20/19 at 08:24 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Posted by WingDingy on 06/20/19 at 09:11 AM ET

I mean, just let it play out man.  It’s sounding like a strawman argument more than anything.

Posted by TreKronor on 06/20/19 at 08:30 AM ET

WingDingy's avatar

Who said he was terrible?  That’s your characterization, not mine.

Posted by WingDingy on 06/20/19 at 08:32 AM ET


I have no basis to criticize Zadina.

He’s still a teenager it’s rare for anyone to form
straight out of junior and stick in the NHL and make an impact.

What I don’t get is why we didn’t draft Quinn Hughes.

He’s small.

Any other issues? I suppose he still has to work out defensive details
and get stronger. So did Cholowski after a year of college and the WHL.

It seems like Vancouver - team, media, and fans, already discuss Hughes almost in the same breath as Pettersson, as their core, impact young players. I know Hughes just played a few games down the stretch. But the consensus sure seemed to be he was immediately impressive at the hardest position for a young player.

Again, Zadina may be a good pick and almost as advertised. Why didn’t we pick the even more special kid at a position where we badly need help? Honest question. Does anyone know why Hughes dropped to Vancouver other than his size?

Posted by lefty.30 on 06/20/19 at 09:21 AM ET

Temo's avatar

Zadina’s only played one year as a pro. He can still turn it around over the next couple of seasons. Don’t panic! It’s early yet.  wink

Posted by Temo from La Capital, Míchígán on 06/20/19 at 09:31 AM ET

WingDingy's avatar

Hughes may be small by NHL defensive standards, but he makes up for it with his hockey smarts.  When all is said and done and given how badly the Wings needed defensive help a year ago (and now) he’s going to be the one that got away.

Posted by WingDingy on 06/20/19 at 09:37 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

I love how “the jury is still out” turns into “that player is terrible” here.  You can’t objectively look at Zadina’s progress in the NHL and AHL and say that he doesnt have a lot of work to do.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 06/20/19 at 10:47 AM ET

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

Yzerman has made it clear the Wings aren’t necessarily looking to strengthen or deepen a particular position group.

“Our philosophy is we need the best player available,” Yzerman said.
Tyler Wright, the Red Wings’ director of amateur scouting, will run the draft table but Yzerman obviously will have substantial input.

“These guys have, the scouting staff, led by Tyler, has been doing the work all year,” Yzerman said. “I intend to be a part of it. But as the draft goes on, you have to really rely on the scouts.

“This is what they’re paid to do.”

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 06/20/19 at 11:58 AM ET

Paul's avatar

The above comment from damndob… is fron Kulfan if you wish to read it.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 06/20/19 at 12:03 PM ET


At the time if the draft last year, Zadina was projected to be a #3 pick and drew comparisons to Kucherov. I don’t remember who Hughes was compared to, but let’s say he can be next Krug (I definitely don’t remember him being compared to players like Keith or Daughty).
If both projections remain true, I prefer Kucherov’s potential.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/20/19 at 12:37 PM ET


Who said he was terrible?

Good job understanding hyperbole while also aggressively missing the point.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 06/20/19 at 01:13 PM ET


What’s Devellano’s disappointment level?

Posted by Squarewheels from The Land of Unhealthy Scratching on 06/20/19 at 02:45 PM ET

dreamsofhope's avatar

But hey, let’s ignore context and just assume that he’s terrible because three mediocre GMs who are at the low end of the NHL’s list of the most respected execs passed him over.

I agree with your points, however idk that it’s necessarily that black and white either (3 GMs). Some GMs make the call, some give an amount of input, some trust their hires. But again, agreed Well said.

He’s SO young, and played in the AHL while most of his peers were in juniors. Most who don’t make the NHL go back to jrs and have another year to put on weight etc. while putting up huge numbers (which Zadina certainly would have done: see Veleno). We look at Veleno with such excitement, while if Zadina had gone back to juniors he likely would have put up huge numbers. I’ll give it a handful of years before I decide, on either of them.

What I don’t get is why we didn’t draft Quinn Hughes.

100% agree. Can’t understand this as he was a Michigan player, and a dynamic, skilled defender. The two arguments I’ve heard don’t satisfy me.

1. Zadina was simply too good to pass up. Fine… then trade down with a team that can’t resist, and take the asset and get Hughes.

2. Too small of a defense can be detrimental. This was based largely on the assumption that Saarijarvi was going to make the team as well as Hicketts. I’m not even sure one of the two is going to make the team at this point.

Posted by dreamsofhope from Colorado on 06/20/19 at 08:42 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