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.