Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Ken Holland, Jim Nill hint at Red Wings’ usual draft strategy: draft low, aim high and wait

According to the Associated Press’s Larry Lage, the first thing Red Wings GM Ken Holland wants to do regarding their 2011 NHL Entry Draft class-to-be is to remind fans that, given the Wings’ drafting position, they won’t be picking players who are expected to jump into the lineup:

“Whomever we pick, he’s going to be three to five years away from realistically helping us on the NHL level,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “It’s not like we have one of the top picks. There’s a reason a player is still available at 24. We think we’re going to get a good prospect, but he’s going to need to develop quite a bit. Hopefully a few years from now, we’ll find out we found a player in the draft.”

Holland plans to take the best available player whether he’s a goaltender, defenceman or forward.

“We don’t have any idea what our needs will be down the road, so we’ll rely on our scouts,” Holland said.

As usual, the Wings plan on embracing the old, “We’ll see them in five-to-seven years” philosophy regarding allowing their prospects to mature until they’r ready…

The Red Wings are just starting to get contributions from a player they took first in 2005. Defenceman Jakub Kindl, drafted 19th overall six years ago, got his first extended shot to play in Detroit last season. Defenceman Brendan Smith, taken 27th overall in 2007, might get his first chance to play for the Red Wings next season.

“We believe in a process of development,” Holland said.

And assistant GM Jim Nill, who’s working the draft table, says that it will in fact be much harder for the Wings to swipe a “sleeper pick” given the fact that the entire prospect pool has gotten more…professional:

“I think the biggest surprise at the (NHL) combines is that there’s no surprises anymore,” Nill said. “I can’t believe how worldly these kids are now. They’re 17, 18 and all grown up.”

In the case of scouting, more information seems to be making it harder to differentiate players. It used to be that under prodding, scouts and GM’s could unearth the cracks and weaknesses in a player that were evident in watching him play.

“It’s made it a lot harder,” Nill said. “They’re all very polished and well schooled. They all know what the combines are. The world is so big, yet it (hockey world) seems so small now. No walks in and you say, ‘Oh, boy.’ They’ve all got great stories.”

Nill said it would be easy to say player agents are behind this evolution, but this change goes beyond an agent just prepping his client for the combines and draft. Instead, Nill feels there have been structural changes in the sport that have affected players more dramatically.

“More kids are leaving home to play at 13, 14, 15,” Nill said. “They’re forced to grow up fast, to look after themselves at a younger age.”
...
“The game has grown worldwide,” Nill said. “All these kids have gone to play in Europe in high level games at a younger age. It used to be you didn’t do that until you were 17 or 18 and the world juniors. The Europeans, by the time they get to the combines, have all played four or five times in North America too. They know what it’s like here, seen games. They’ve adapted to pressure sooner. We know more about these kids, but it makes drafting harder. It’s harder to differentiate between them all.”

 

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

gusoline's avatar

“He has elite vision, elite playmaking skills, elite goal-scoring ability, he’s an elite offensive player,” one NHL scout said of Nugent-Hopkins.

From Bob McKenzie’s Blog.  Not directly related to the Wings, or who they will be able to draft, but I think I’ve discovered TPSH’s day job.

Posted by gusoline on 06/23/11 at 10:49 PM ET

SYF's avatar

“He has elite vision, elite playmaking skills, elite goal-scoring ability, he’s an elite offensive player,” one NHL scout said of Nugent-Hopkins.

From Bob McKenzie’s Blog.  Not directly related to the Wings, or who they will be able to draft, but I think I’ve discovered TPSH’s day job.

Posted by gusoline on 06/23/11 at 09:49 PM ET

He’s HHOF material…and he hasn’t even played a game yet!  0sm!!1!11!!!!1

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 06/23/11 at 11:28 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

...I think I’ve discovered TPSH’s day job.

The only flaw in your assertion Gus is that a person has to be 18 to have a real “day job.” And, as anyone who’s followed KK for more than a year knows, The Link Goes To Himself isn’t more than 14 years old.

Now, I will admit, he is a math savant for someone his age, but he’s clearly proved he isn’t mature enough to hold down a real job. smile

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 06/24/11 at 01:07 AM ET

Avatar

LET’S GET HIM KENNY - TOMAS JURCO

Posted by Jesters Dead on 06/24/11 at 04:42 AM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

“We believe in a process of development,” Holland said.

And there it is.  For all the plaudits we get about our drafting, I really think it’s more down to a superb development program that allows us to ‘uncover’ hidden gems.  It’s like the title of George’s article—draft low (as forced to), but aim high.  Develop players and only give them a shot when they’re ready.  For all the luck involved in getting guys like Dats and Z, if they’d been drafted by a bottom-feeder and forced into the NHL too early instead of being carefully developed and brought into the team gradually, they’d have looked less like superstars and, well, more like sixth- and seventh-round picks.

It’s often said the reason we went with European picks (besides having the best hockey-scouting brain in Europe in Andersson) is because we held their rights indefinitely and were allowed more time to develop them.  Now we’re going with NCAA-bound picks for the same reason—all the ones we’ve taken since the lockout have had anywhere from three to a full five years to develop.

Having guys with heads for strategy like this makes me thankful we’re not at war with Canada.

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 06/24/11 at 06:55 AM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

The only flaw in your assertion Gus is that a person has to be 18 to have a real “day job.”

Second flaw is you’re assuming he can hold down a real job.  Now, if that job were as a fry cook or a chicken sexer, maybe…

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 06/24/11 at 06:56 AM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.