The drive from Grand Rapids to Detroit is rather unremarkable. Flat land and clusters of trees pockmark the edge of the highway.
The American Hockey League’s Western Conference is approaching the end of the first quarter, and the wild, wild west is producing some dynamic offensive hockey players.
It has been a gradual change, but most things associated with the Detroit Red Wings work that way. In a salary-cap constrained hockey landscape, Detroit can no longer simply outspend other franchises; Detroit knew this eight seasons ago and began to stockpile talent through the NHL Draft.
They are not prominent, but if you pay close attention the signs are all there. Cars left out overnight have dew on the windows, a few leaves are scattered beneath certain trees, and school supplies are pushed to the front of most stores; Fall is just around the corner. With Fall comes another hockey season, this time for every level of hockey (NHL included).
The Detroit Red Wings 2013 NHL Draft position should pique the interest of even the most jaded Wings fan. Detroit holds the 18th overall selection, their highest pick since the organization took Martin Lapointe with the 10th overall in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. Considering that the Red Wings did not have a first round selection in the 2009, 2011, and 2012 NHL Drafts, having the 18th overall pick in a year that features what is generally considered to be a very deep draft class is cause for excitement.