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Abel to Yzerman

How About A Stay At Home Defenseman With The 4th Pick?

from Max Bultman of The Athletic,

(Jake) Sanderson is a 6-foot-2, 185-pound defenseman for the NTDP, which plays a schedule featuring opponents in the NCAA and USHL as well as international tournaments. He was the team captain, and he had 29 points in 47 games this season.

The Athletic’s Corey Pronman did a full video breakdown of Sanderson last month, in which Pronman gave Sanderson’s skating a grade of 60 (on the 20-80 scouting scale), which translates to the top third of professionals, and called Sanderson “the best defender I saw this season among draft-eligible players and arguably among all NHL prospects.” On Pronman’s draft board, he also gave Sanderson’s hockey sense a 60 grade and rated his puck skills and physical game both above average. He ranked him 13th overall for this draft class, and The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler ranked him 19th.

The case to pick him

How’s this for the first line of a sales pitch: “He just smothers his opponent.”

That’s how Appert describes his captain’s defense.

“And it’s skating, but it’s (also) gap control … his lateral closing ability in the neutral zone on line rushes against is really impressive, and he can do it against the college players,” Appert said. 

more ($$$)

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d ca's avatar

I think Sanderson would be the wrong choice at #4. An argument for Drysdale could be made, but I can’t make that same argument for a physical stay at home d-man at 4. I talked about this before: http://kuklaskorner.com/A2Y/comments/jamie-drysdale-an-option-for-the-wings-at-4

as I watch more and more game film, I have opened the possibility for Stevie to grab Drysdale—but I can’t see Sanderson unless the Wings move downward.

Lets not become the Oakland Raiders with our draft picks—-wildcards won’t work out every year.

Posted by d ca on 07/14/20 at 04:57 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Agreed d ca, I think Bultman may be running out of names at the #4 spot.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 07/14/20 at 05:05 PM ET


I’d prefer a center, Rossi or Perfetti

Posted by ChillDistiller from Michigan on 07/14/20 at 05:26 PM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

Perfetti just lucks a wee bit smoother out there in the video I’ve seen.  But what do we know?  The captain will make a good choice.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Somewhere West of Detroit on 07/15/20 at 02:15 AM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

^ looks

Posted by Hippy Dave from Somewhere West of Detroit on 07/15/20 at 02:15 AM ET


Agreed that #4 seems way too high for
what might be basically a top-four defensive defenseman with
average size.

Sanderson seems from most accounts like a very safe choice
in terms of being a competent, useful future NHL defender.
But what’s the upside?

Sanderson might be a good leader and character player,
but there doesn’t seem to be anything that physically impactful
about him. It appears he’s benefitting from a lack of high-end D.
If we draft a D we need a guy with real top-pairing potential who
who has the offensive smarts and skating to make an impact while
also being able to defend.

Posted by lefty.30 on 07/15/20 at 03:09 AM ET


It would be the wrong choice to use the #4 pick on a defensive defenseman player who we could easily get in the 2nd or third round. At the #4 pick you would want to find an elite talent instead.

Posted by AdrenRush369 on 07/15/20 at 04:13 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

At the #4 pick you would want to find an elite talent instead.

Posted by AdrenRush369 on 07/15/20 at 04:13 AM ET


Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerGod's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 07/15/20 at 11:05 AM ET


I believe Sanderson had the highest percentage of Dzone transitions.  Definitely a need.

Posted by ThatGuy on 07/15/20 at 03:56 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

I’ve watched Sanderson playing for the USNTDP team (TV. not in person) and he’s not just a defensive d-man. The TSN junior talent guy , Craig Button as well as Bob McKenzie stated that Sanderson is an elite skater as well as a shutdown guy. He’s 6’2 and is also the team captain, which speaks a lot about his character/leadership on a highly talented team.

I suspect Stevie will go with a forward, but Sanderson is certainly a player the Wings should consider..

Posted by Down River Dan on 07/15/20 at 05:21 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

I agree with Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerGod’s pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 07/15/20 at and Posted by AdrenRush369 on 07/15/20 at 04:13 AM ET

Young Wings are not loaded with Elite Talent , #4 might be the time to take an Elite Talent.

Might be another high pick next draft, hopefully with some luck. Will see what Stevie Y is thinking.

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 07/15/20 at 09:41 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