Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Our “Draft Recap”

Part 3 of 3 of’s “30 Teams in 30 Days” focusing on the Detroit Red Wings, they break down our draft selections this year. I did a little poking around last night and added my own notes as well. Enjoy.

NOTE: Again, we have to draft smart because over the past 15 years, we’ve been drafting pretty low due to consistent success. No bankruptcy, no re-location speculation, just wins.

When you consistently wait until the end of the first round, or as was the case this year, early in the second round, to make your first pick, you can't exactly target one area of need because, well, you don't necessarily have one and your choices are limited.

Here is a quick look at the seven selections the Red Wings made in Montreal this June:

Landon Ferraro -- The son of former NHL player Ray Ferraro, Landon had 37 goals and 18 assists in 68 games with the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL. The 5-foot-11 speedster is known for his skating and two-way game as well as his ability to win faceoffs. The Wings also like his bloodlines.

Speedy two way forward, you say? Yes please. Found this on “I’m a player that really uses his head and his speed,” (Ferraro) described, “I’m not the biggest guy on the ice so to make sure that one - I don’t get killed, and two – I’m able to be effective on the ice I have to use my speed and go wide and use my head to get out of sticky situations and get the puck on other guy’s tape. I think I’m just a hard-working guy.” The kid just turned 18 four days ago and seems to have a pretty good head on his shoulders.
I’m betting Kenny will take his time developing this one (shocking, I know)…I just hope daddy understands.

Tomas Tatar -- He jumped onto Detroit's radar with a strong showing at World Junior Championship, as he had 11 points in seven games for Slovakia. Was it a good two-week stretch and not a true telling of how good he is? The jury is out, but the Wings tracked Tatar for the rest of the season and liked him enough to use the No. 60 pick on him. They're hoping he'll come to North America this season.

Is this guy accusing us of being compulsive with our draft picks? Really, the Detroit Red Wings? Maybe Tatar only jumped on YOUR radar at the WJC’s and you just assume that Hakan Andersson and crew are the same as you. Probably not true, but I can’t say for sure. At 5’11 and 176 lbs, he’s being marked as a possible power-forward in the near future. Is it odd that Ferraro at the same height is trying not to get killed while Tatar is being slated as a power forward? I was excited when I heard that the Kitchener Rangers traded his rights to the Plymouth Whalers, but it turns out that they only did it because there’s no chance that Tatar can play in North America this year, not until his contract in Slovakia expires…damn.


Andrej Nestrasil -- He had 57 points in 66 games with Victoriaville in the QMJHL and could develop into a power forward if he becomes a stronger skater. Nill said he stuck out at the World Under-18 Championship when he was the best player on the Czech team.

Another 18 year old, but this one tops 6’0 and is already nearly 200 lbs. "He likes to take the puck to the net. He protects the puck well in the corners and he's got the hands to do it. He's got good size and he's just a good hockey player."--Jim Nill via Red Wings Central. It looks like the Wings organ-i-zation is expanding its horizons. According to these sources, we drafted both the best Czech and the best Slovak this year. Sweet.


Gleason Fournier -- A defenseman who had 28 points in 66 games with Rimouski of the QMJHL this past season. Nill thinks he's a great skater who has upside as a puck-moving defender.

From, “Able to make quick decisions with the puck and move it well, he sometimes struggles in his own end, especially when under pressure.” Well that’s not very encouraging. What is though, is the fact that he’s only 17 years old and has plenty of time to work on that puck control before even getting a sniff at the Wings’ farm organizations.


Nick Jensen -- Jensen is 6-1 and 190 pounds and is years away from being NHL ready. He is supposed to play one more year with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL before attending St. Cloud State.

Found this on “Nick Jensen first made a name for himself as a smooth-skating, puck-handling defenseman…Seeking a higher level of competition and more exposure, Jensen decided to spend his senior year of high school playing for the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL. That decision paid off big time for Jensen, as he led the league in +/- rating, drew the attention of NHL scouts, and made a college commitment to play at St. Cloud State University.” Sources quote his size and puck handling as strengths and confidence as is only weakness, but again, that will come with time.


Michael Callahan -- The only non-skilled player the Wings took, Callahan can fill an agitator's role. He had 27 points and 188 penalty minutes for the WHL's Kelowna Rockets.

Um…according to my research, his name is MITCHELL Callahan. Oops. He’s yet another 5’11 175+ pounder and a California native. According to Red Wings Central, "Daniel Carcillo in Philly is the kind of guy this guy is. He's after you all the time, under everybody's skin, he's yappin' at you and he's doing all the things that bother everybody. He's an agitator." — Kelowna Rockets general manager Bruce Hamilton (June 2009). So the good news is that the Wings will have the grit everyone has complaining about, the bad news is that it won’t be in the lineup for at least another three or four years.

Adam Almqvist -- The Wings took a Swedish defenseman in the seventh round (No. 210), which means one day he'll win the Conn Smythe Trophy. OK, we're joking (to a point), but history suggests Almqvist has as good a chance as any to become a key player for the Wings. Hockey sense is his best attribute.

According to; “Scouting Report: A terrific battler and defensive player despite his obvious size deficiencies. Elite skater. Owns a great set of hands and has mastered the art of the breakout pass.” He lead the J20 SuperElit league in assists among defensemen. But he is probably at least five years away from playing pro here in North America. That’s ok, Adam. With the youth and talent and long-term contracts we have over here, we’ve got nothing but time to sit back and wait for you to develop.
The frustrating part about Red Wings' draft is that you know you're probably not going to see any of these guys except in Traverse City once a year for the next three years (at least). The comforting thing is that we all KNOW Detroit knows how to draft and develop talent. And the Big Red Machine doesn't seem to be losing steam whatsoever.

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