The Detroit Red Wings entered the 2009 entry draft with six picks and left with seven new prospects. They traded down out of the first round to nab a player they wanted and gain a bonus pick. Detroit traded the 29th overall pick in the draft to Tampa Bay for the 32nd and 75th picks.
The Red Wings went a bit off the map in the 2009 entry draft. One of their picks was used on an agitator-type player in the sixth round, something not done by the Wings in several years. And in a year with many talented Swedes, they took only one Swedish player, but a Czech and a Slovak.
Landon Ferraro, C – Red Deer Rebels, WHL
Acquired: 2nd round, 32nd overall
Ferraro showed a nose for the net during the 2008-09 season as a member of the Red Deer Rebels. In 68 games he scored 37 times and finished the season with 55 points. He was also part of Team Canada for the U18 world championships. Ferraro also benefits from a hockey bloodline and the experience of his father Ray Ferraro, who played over 1,200 NHL games.
Besides his blazing speed, he also boasts great skill in the face-off dot and has improved as a two-way player. While Ferraro doesn’t appear to be an elite offensive talent, his overall ability as a player makes him usable in many different roles down the line. With the amount of versatility he possesses now, and the time he will have to grow as a player, Ferraro could certainly turn into a high-quality center. He was ranked 17th overall by ISS.
Tomas Tatar, C/W – Zvolen Hkm, Slovak Extraliga
Acquired: 2nd round, 60th overall
While Tatar had a relatively quiet season in his homeland of Slovakia, Tatar made a great deal of noise during the U20 tournament. Scoring only 15 points in 48 games for Zvolen, he went on to score 11 points in seven games for the Slovak national team. Post-tournament, he jumped onto the radars of many teams and the Red Wings weren’t going to let him get past the 60th selection in the draft.
Tatar’s greatest asset is his offensive sense. He has shown a keen ability to score and make plays. Tatar can even be compared to Jiri Hudler, except that Tatar’s speed is something that Hudler has lacked during his career. While he has shown a great deal of potential, it remains to be seen whether or not Tatar can maintain the level of play he showcased during the world juniors.
Andrej Nestrasil, C – Victoriaville Tigres, QMJHL
Acquired: 3rd round, 75th overall
With their third selection in the 2009 draft, Detroit took another European. Unlike Tatar, Andrej Nestrasil has a year of North American hockey under his belt. In his first year as a member of the Victoriaville Tigres, he netted 57 points in 66 games. Nestrasil uses his size and hands to attack the net from all angles, and in many senses fits the power forward mold. He played for the Czech U18 world championship team.
The biggest weakness in his game appears to be his skating. Nestrasil is quite slow on his feet, but with some strength and conditioning, it is an issue that can probably be remedied. If the proper improvements are made, there will be nothing holding Nestrasil back from turning another power forward at the NHL level.
One of the picks in this year’s draft that looked typical of the Wings was their selection of Rimouski defender Gleason Fournier. He fits the mobile, puck-moving defenseman mold that the Wings covet and have continued to draft year in and year out. Fournier only managed to put up 28 points in 66 games last season, but the 17-year-old will likely see an increase in his offensive output when he plays a larger role.
Nick Jensen, D – Green Bay Gamblers, USHL
Acquired: 5th round, 150th overall
The Red Wings used their fifth-round pick on a project player in Nick Jensen. In the past several years, Detroit has drafted defenders out of the United States high school leagues, allowing the prospects to attend college and develop at their own pace. Much like Brendan Smith and Nick Oslund, Jensen will be allowed to spend all four years at the school of his choice, needing to be signed in 2014. While his game is very raw at the moment, his offensive instincts with the puck and growing defensive responsibility were enough to warrant a pick.
Mitchell Callahan, RW – Kelowna Rockets, WHL
Acquired: 6th round, 180th overall
The Red Wings went right off the map when they selected Callahan. Long since has the time passed when an agitator/scrapper type player was drafted by the Wings, but that’s exactly what they get in Callahan. While he put up 27 points as a member of the Kelowna Rockets, his most visible statistic is his 188 penalty minutes. At 5’11, he won’t be a fighter in the NHL, but rather get under one’s skin from the fourth line.
Adam Almqvist, D – HV 71, Swe-J20
Acquired: 7th round, 210th overall
With their last choice in the 2009 draft, the Red Wings selected a player who matches virtually all of their drafting tendencies in the last several years. Almqvist is a mobile defender from Sweden. His greatest asset is his hockey sense, which is said to be through the roof. He possesses a great deal of control with the puck and makes smart offensive decisions. As with many late-round picks, Almqvist is a high-risk, high-reward selection for Detroit.