Detroit changed things up a bit with this draft, using some of their higher picks to draft players with size and physical potential, as well as skill. They still managed to show flashes of familiarity, though, as they drafted a Swedish born player as well as a mobile defenseman. Most importantly, the Red Wings addressed their need for depth at the center position, selecting four of them.
Riley Sheahan did not have the most impressive season as a rookie at the University of Notre Dame. That said, he was the youngest players in collegiate hockey, just turning 18 this past November. In the span of 37 games for the Fighting Irish, he posted 17 points.
At the very least Sheahan boasts great size for his age, something that will go a long way in allowing him to compete as a player in the NHL. He is touted for his overall game, as he can play offensively and is very good defensively as well. The worst case scenario with Sheahan is that he may become a very solid two-way center with some offensive upside.
One thing that may hold Sheahan back a bit is the defensive style of hockey that Notre Dame plays. It may prove to be a bit difficult to put up big offensive numbers with the team. It is also worth noting that Sheahan had a bit of trouble with the law, as he was arrested for public intoxication and underage drinking. Although, fans should not be too thrown off by his issues, as current Red Wings prospect Brendan Smith some alcohol related incidents as well, and it still touted as one of the best prospects in the system. Overall, Sheahan projects to be a very solid pick, one who will likely make the NHL in any number of roles.
Calle Jarnkrok, C – Brynas (SEL)
2nd round, 51st overall
It would not be a Detroit Red Wings draft if a Swedish-born player wasn’t selected. When 18-year-old Calle Jarnkrok was still available in the second round, Detroit saw another chance to select a player who they felt fell in the draft. He possesses a great deal of skill, especially in the form of playmaking and being able to hang onto the puck for an extended period of time. He excelled in the Swe-20 league and was then called up to the SEL to play for Brynas. During his time in the top tier league, he was able to put up ten points in 33 games.
The biggest knock on Jarnkrok is obviously his size, or lack thereof. At just 156 pounds, he was one of the smallest players in the draft, and his ranking slipped because of it. The Red Wings are optimistic about Jarnkrok’s chances, as he has been given favorable comparisons to current Red Wings’ player Henrik Zetterberg. All of the pieces are in place for Jarnkrok, he just has to work hard and fill out his body in order to let his skill take over.
His numbers will not jump out at you, but Louis-Marc Aubry is also still learning to play to his size. Like many players who experience a large growth spurt in height, he is going to have to fill out his 6’3 frame a bit better. In 66 games Aubry put up 15 goals and 18 assists.
The true appeal lies in his ability to play a physical, two-way game. While not the most damaging hitter, Aubry will dish out punishment when he sees the opportunity. His size and ability to skate give him the potential to someday be a very good two-way center in the NHL. The 18-year-old should see his production jump up as he adjusts to his body, as well as an increase in ice time as he becomes a veteran on the Juniors.
Teemu Pulkkinen , L – Jokerit (FNL)
4th round, 111th overall
When Teemu Pulkkinen was still available in the fourth round, the Red Wings jumped at the chance to draft him. The skilled Finn saw his stock drop because of concerns over several injuries including a broken wrist, separated shoulder and knee issues. Even so, Pulkkinen possesses a great deal of offensive skill, possibly being one of the top ten offensive players in the 2010 draft. While injuries limited Pulkkinen to just three points in 12 games, the winger was very impressive at the IIHF U-18 tournament where he scores ten goals and five assists in just six games.
His best assets are in the offensive spectrum of the game. Pulkkinen is described by many as a pure sniper, as he possesses a very good, quick shot. He is also adept at stick-handling and hanging onto the puck. His hockey sense has been touted as a positive as well. Aside from injuries, Pulkkinen will also have to work on his skating ability, as it leaves a little to be desired. Similarly, he will have to improve his ability to play defensive hockey.
When Daniel Larsson signed a two year deal to play in the SEL, the Red Wings knew they may have to draft another goaltender. Petr Mrazek gave them that chance. The native of Ostrava, Czech Republic is certainly not the biggest goalie out there, but he does show a lot of drive. He started his year for the Ottawa 67’s as a back-up goaltender, posting a 3.00GAA and a .905 save percentage. Those numbers were enough to earn him a spot on the second all-rookie team. The 18-year-old really blew up when he was given the chance to play in the post-season. He ended up finishing with a 4-4 record, but his numbers were a very impress 2.39 GAA and a .928 save percentage.
The Red Wings finished their quest for depth at the center position in the sixth round when they drafted Broks Macek. Taking a look at his overall game, it is difficult to see why Macek dropped so far in the draft. He has excellent skating ability, great passing skills and is not considered a defensive liability. Perhaps the only flaw is his lack of size.
In just his second year of OHL hockey Macek saw a 49-point jump in production. He finished the 2009-10 season with 73 points and 72 games. If he can continue to progress, the Red Wings may have well found another gem.
Benjamin Marshall , D – Mahtomedi (High-MN)
7th round, 201st overall
Sticking to their habit of drafting small, skilled defensemen, Detroit drafted Benjamin Marshall with their last pick in the 2010 draft. While his small stature leaves much to be desired, he balances it out with his excellent skating. Paired with good stick-handling skills and a decent shot, Marshall may have all the makings of a future powerplay quarterback. He finished his season in Mahtomedi with a solid 48 points in 23 games.
The 17-year-old is slated to play for the University of Minnesota in the 2011-12 season.