There’s an air of uncertainty around the Detroit Red Wings first pick of the 2019 NHL Draft. New general manager Steve Yzerman holds the sixth pick in the first round much like predecessor Ken Holland did last season.
Holland had talented winger Filip Zadina fall into his lap after he projected in the top five in plenty of mock drafts. Many thought Detroit would try to address their ageing defence, but Holland couldn’t pass up such a talented goal-scorer.
Yzerman now gets to put his stamp on the team and he has plenty of options. However, there’s plenty of unknown factors around the pick.
The top two picks are pretty much a given in Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko. However, the other picks in the top part of the draft could go in any order. That uncertainty will make Yzerman think hard about his first selection as Red Wings general manager.
Detroit Red Wings First Pick Unknown
The experts have many different players heading to Hockeytown in their various mock drafts. Craig Button of TSN had Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes from the WHL in version 3.0 of his mock draft. Russian right winger Vasili Podkolzin was the Wings choice in his second mock draft.
The SB Nation team of writers had defenceman Bowen Byram of the Vancouver Giants in the WHL. Detroit Free Press Red Wings beat reporter Helene St. James has picked a different player in her three drafts so far. She had the Wings taking Cozens in her first edition and Trevor Zegras in her second. Detroit took Podkolzin her most recent mock draft.
Draftsite also had Podkolzin going sixth to Detroit in their latest mock draft. However, there are other sites that have the young Russian forward dropping all the way out of the top 10. St. James did praise his compete level in the mock draft where she had the Wings taking him.
Flexibility at Six
Detroit does have a chance to be flexible with the sixth pick. Yzerman likely has multiple scenarios for who is on the board at that choice. He’ll be quick to adjust his board if one his desired picks is gone.
Detroit could roll the dice on Philip Broberg if it really wanted to take a defenceman, but that pick would be a reach. Broberg sits on the edge of the top 10 according to multiple mock drafts.
What the Future Holds
Yzerman has a lot of pressure on him to make a splash with his first pick as the team’s general manager. He won’t get a chance to draft a star like Hughes or Kakko, but he can give Detroit a chance at a future piece.
His draft record with the Tampa Bay Lightning was solid and Detroit fans are hoping for more of the same. However, there’s a cloud of mystery on who the Red Wings will pick because the players around that selection are bunched together in terms of talent.
TORONTO, ON – NOVEMBER 13: Steve Yzerman walks the red carpet before the 2017 Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Brookfield Place on November 13, 2016 in Toronto, ON, Canada. (Photograph by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)