Red Wings 2008 draft preview

By HF Staff

Top 10 prospects

1. Jimmy Howard, G
2. Jakub Kindl, D
3. Jan Mursak, LW
4. Justin Abdelkader, LW
5. Brendan Smith, D
6. Jonathan Ericsson, D
7. Johan Ryno, RW
8. Kyle Quincey, D
9. Dick Axelsson, LW
10. Darren Helm, C

The Red Wings are sitting pretty heading into the 2008 draft.  They have much of their 2008-09 roster already set, the majority of their biggest talent signed or ready to sign, and the nucleus of the team a tight blend of youth and well-seasoned talent.

By virtue of their winning ways, they will have to pick last in the first round and deep in the third though sixth rounds.  Then they’ll have the last pick of the draft to scoop up any overlooked gems.

Team Needs

What could a team need that just won the Stanley Cup?  A longer summer, that’s about it. 

The old knocks on the Wings, like being too old, just don’t apply any more.  They have become younger and stronger.  To name one area to add to though, the Wings could still use a bigger, more physical center.

Organizational Strengths

Jim Howard is the team’s top prospect and he his NHL-ready. Coach Mike Babcock has said he can start the season with Chris Osgood and Howard one and two, and that seems likely to happen. Howard has been progressing nicely in Grand Rapids and performed well in his 2008 forays into the Motor City.

The Red Wings also have several very capable defensive prospects, of both the offensive and defensive type.

Organizationals Weaknesses

The Wings could still use reinforcements in the center position in the form of a bigger and more physical center with some offensive upside.  There are few centers in the prospect pool.  Depth in goal is also an issue behind Howard.

Hockey’s Future Mock Draft result: 
Aaron Ness, D.  He has big-league level skating ability and solid passing skills, fitting the Red Wings mold.   He doesn’t have the size (5’10, 160), but he should at least be able to get stronger, and the Red Wings can give him the time he needs to develop. 

Current Draft Picks

1st round – 30th
3rd round – 91st
4th round – 121st
5th round – 151st
6th round – 181st
7th round – 211th