Many speculated that the Detroit Red Wings NHL draft plan was to go defence. However, plans can change in the blink of an eye. Players that were projected to be off the board become available and the good general managers can adapt.
2018 Detroit Red Wings NHL Draft
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland was flexible in his draft plan and got some excellent players. Detroit did eventually address its defensive needs, but Holland was able to make some great value choices.
The young Czech forward was projected to be a top-five selection, but he was available at six. Zadina vowed to make any team that passed on pay by “filling up their nets.” The Red Wings will benefit from this fire because he was called one of the top scorers in the draft.
Ben Kerr of Top Shelf Prospects said that Zadina “was a real coup” and “was a natural sniper.” ESPN called him the surest scorer in the draft and USA Today said he was one of the most exciting offensive players.
Zadina should have every chance to make the main roster, but a nine-game look will give Detroit fans something to look forward too.
The Wings also got another first-round steal in taking the solid center. Veleno should have been long gone by the time Detroit selected with the 30th pick. However, he was there and Holland pounced on the opportunity.
The Montreal native has the potential to be a great two-way pivot that has scoring upside. He may be unspectacular, but he’s solid.
Appropriate strategy for Holland and the Wings. Sticking to the plan and not reaching for need. Took C Veleno late in first round instead of reaching for D-man. That is how you rebuild, with talent, not need. “We just felt we couldn’t pass these forwards up,” Holland said.
— Bob Wojnowski (@bobwojnowski) June 23, 2018
Many thought Detroit would reach for a defenseman, but Holland said there were forwards that were too good to pass up. The strategy of taking the best player available is old-fashioned but will serve the team well.
Detroit had two quality forwards fall to them in the first round. Surely they’d finally address defence at No. 33? They took Berggren, who is an excellent skater and led the Swedish SuperElite in scoring.
He was also great in international play with five goals and five assists in seven games at the Under-18 World Championships. Berggren is also a hard-worker and is willing to throw his body around.
Finally Some Defense
Red Wings finally got their calls for defensive picks answered when Holland selected Jared McIsaac and Alec Regula with the next two picks. McIsaac had potential to be a first-rounder but fell to No. 36. He is teammates with Zadina with the Halifax Mooseheads in the QMJHL. He’s a left-handed shot and is projected to be a capable two-way blueliner.
Regula is a big body at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds and a right-handed shot. He’s not just a plodding defender as he’s got good mobility. The West Bloomfield, Mich. native has been called a sneaky sleeper pick. Not bad for the No. 67 selection.
What to Make of the Detroit Red Wings NHL Draft
Holland was likely drafting for his job as he was given a two-year extension at the end of a disappointing season. This was a make-or-break draft for him, but he hit it out of the park according to experts.
Top Shelf Prospects, Bleacher Report and CBS Sports Cody Benjamin gave the Red Wings a perfect “A+” grade. The Sporting News handed out an “A” grade and ESPN said the team was a winner on the weekend.
Main Photo: DALLAS, TX – JUNE 22: Filip Zadina poses after being selected sixth overall by the Detroit Red Wings during the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 22, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)