Red Wings 2010 draft preview

By Brandon Peleshok

Top 10 prospects

1. Jakub Kindl, D
2. Brendan Smith, D
3. Daniel Larsson, G
4. Tomas Tatar, LW
5. Justin Abdelkader, C
6. Landon Ferraro, RW
7. Thomas McCollum, G
8. Jan Mursak, RW
9. Gustav Nyquist, C
10. Cory Emmerton, C

The Detroit Red Wings hold the 21st overall pick in the 2010 draft.

Team Needs

Perhaps one of the more pressing needs for Detroit is a large, stay-at-home defenseman. While the Red Wings have Brad Stuart on the team right now, their prospects lack the size and mean streak required to clear the net and play tough in corners. With Andreas Lilja possibly leaving, and Jonathan Ericsson not playing as physical as the team would like, Detroit could use another physical presence.

Another need for the Red Wings is a quality center. Once again, the Red Wings have depth at the center position in the NHL, but at times the centers must play on the wing. This leaves a glaring hole at the third-line center position, as Valtteri Filppula is often bumped up to play left wing. So far, neither Justin Abdelkader nor Darren Helm has proven to be suitable for the position, leaving the Red Wings to look outside their organization for help.

Organizational Strengths

With all of their success, the Red Wings talent pool is not quite as deep as many other teams. Detroit’s relative strengths lie in their scoring wingers and mobile, puck-moving defensemen. Tomas Tatar leads the pack as the winger with the most potential, along with Jan Mursak, Landon Ferraro and Gustav Nyquist.

In terms of defense, Jakub Kindl still leads the pack, starting his first full season with the Red Wings at the start of next season barring any significant changes. Brendan Smith will play his first year of pro hockey as a member of the Grand Rapids Griffins, joining fellow promising prospect, Logan Pyett.

Organizational Weaknesses

One glaring weakness for the Red Wings is a lack of a true bluechip forward. While they have several players who could possibly become NHL-caliber players, there are no sure bets. The closest thing the Red Wings have to a high-end scoring winger is Tatar, who was the youngest forward in the AHL last season.

Another area of concern for the Red Wings is goaltending. While the emergence of Jimmy Howard has been a positive for the team, the other goalies in the system have become a bit problematic. Swedish goalie Daniel Larsson has decided to return to his native country to play for HV-71, signing a two-year deal with the club. Additionally, Thomas McCollum and Jordan Pearce struggled mightily in their first year of AHL action. Their numbers for Grand Rapids were poor, and even stints in the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye didn’t bode well for either goaltender.

While the Red Wings could use a physical presence on the back end, they also lack any such player within their organization. The closest Detroit has to a true, stay-at-home defenseman are Sergei Kolosov and Brian Lashoff. Kolosov has put together a few quiet seasons with Grand Rapids, while Lashoff will make his AHL debut in the coming season. The Red Wings could surely use a hulking defender, as one area of concern is being more physical around their own net.

Draft Tendencies

The Red Wings draft tendencies over the past several years are difficult to pin down. They have shown a willingness to draft from just about any league in the world. If the Red Wings have any constants in their selections it’s that they’ve sought out puck-moving defensemen and small, skilled forwards. Additionally, the Red Wings still make several picks out of Sweden, especially in the later round. Ken Holland and the Red Wings management will have all seven of their picks to work with (21st, 51st, 81st, 111th, 141st, 171st and 201st), giving them their highest pick since 2005 when they drafted Kindl with the 19th overall pick.

Hockey’s Future staff mock draft result
at No. 21: Dylan McIlrath, D