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Draft Preview: Detroit Red Wings – Quantity vs. quality

The Detroit Red Wings loaded up on picks for a rebuild. It’s up to scouts to make them count.

Barring a trade by the end of the 2019 NHL draft, the Red Wings will have had at least 10 picks each of the past three years. Their 33 picks since 2017 is the hallmark of an organization in rebuild mode. After routinely trading away their No. 1 picks, this marks the seventh straight season the Wings have retained their first-round selection. There were positive indications this season the pain is leading to something promising, but the reality is a playoff berth with a contending team is still a few years away.

IMMEDIATE NEEDS: The Red Wings had one of the NHL’s worst goal differentials, largely because their defense corps was one of the leakiest. As it stands now, Detroit has three D-men under contract under the age of 25 (Madison Bowey, Dennis Cholowski, Filip Hronek) and only one more who’s under 30 (Danny DeKeyser).

LONG-TERM NEEDS: After a good bounce-back season, Jimmy Howard signed a one-year extension. But he’s 35 and backup Jonathan Bernier, who has two more seasons remaining on his deal, is 30. Of their top 10 prospects, only one is a goalie: Filip Larsson, a 20-year-old freshman at the University of Denver.

CAP SITUATION: After years of pushing up against the salary cap, the Wings go into the off-season with $3 million in room, which goes up to more than $8 million if Mike Green remains on the long-term injured list. The majority of the roster is under contract for 2019-20, with Thomas Vanek and Niklas Kronwall the main UFAs.

IN THE SYSTEM 2019-20: Things didn’t go according to plan for Filip Zadina in his first pro season, but he got acclimated to the rigors of North American hockey in the AHL. How he does in training camp will go a long way toward deciding whether he’s ready to join the Wings next season or needs more time in the minors.

DID YOU KNOW: Joe Veleno could end up being the steal of the 2018 draft. After going 30th overall, Veleno exploded for 42 goals and 104 points with the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs and he still has a season of junior eligibility remaining.

LATE-ROUND GEMS:
(2000-2018 drafts)
Johan Franzen, 97th, ’04
Valtteri Filppula, 95th, ’02
Gustav Nyquist, 121st, ’08
Darren Helm, 132nd, ’05
Petr Mrazek, 141st, ’10
Kyle Quincey, 132nd, ’03
Jonathan Ericsson, 291st, ’02
Andreas Athanasiou, 110th, ’12
Nick Jensen, 150th, ’09
Mattias Janmark, 79th, ’13

PICKS AFTER SECOND ROUND: 114
100+ NHL GAMES: 14
PERCENT SUCCESS: 12.3%
NHL RANK: 18th

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