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Future Watch – Detroit Red Wings: Rebuild…sort of

Detroit says it’s in rebuild mode, but the GM wants back in the playoffs ASAP. Can Wings restock and re-up for Cup?
Drummondville Voltigeurs

Drummondville Voltigeurs

B / 14th overall

After treating it for years as if it were some hockey version of profanity, the Red Wings finally relented and are freely using the R-word in conversation these days. “I understand that we’re in a rebuild here,” said GM Ken Holland. The Wings will miss the playoffs again this season, making it the first time since the early 1980s that they’ve failed to qualify for the post-season three years in a row. “I want to try to get this thing turned around as quickly as possible so that we’re way more competitive and we can compete for a playoff spot,” Holland said. So, the process continues.


1. Filip Zadina (7th overall)
RW, 19, 6-0, 195 – Grand Rapids (AHL)
2018 draft, 6th overall
Zadina was getting an NHL look to see if he learned the lessons he failed to in camp, mainly how to find open space and release his shot quickly. “We all want him to be Wayne Gretzky tomorrow because of the fact he’s an important piece for the Red Wings, but that’s not the way it always works,” said Detroit coach Jeff Blashill. “Filip just has to come along at his own pace. In the end you could be a better player because you faced adversity. A lot of times adversity helps you.”
FW18| n/a – NHL | 2019-20

2. Joe Veleno (48th overall)
C, 19, 6-1, 193 – Drummondville (QMJHL)
2018 draft, 30th overall
Veleno has been dominant with the Voltigeurs, pushing for the QMJHL scoring title, but he was a disappointment at the WJC, producing two assists in five games. “He’s closer than we suspected coming into camp,” Blashill said. “We told him to focus on trying to make the team next year. It starts by going and having a great year. We talked about more speed from the top of the circle to the top of the circle. He’s got to get going so he doesn’t get caught by the track.”
FW18| n/a – NHL | 2020-21

3. Jonatan Berggren (82nd overall)
RW, 18, 5-10, 181 – Skelleftea (Swe.)
2018 draft, 33rd overall
A strong skater and deadly finisher, Berggren plays the game at a high pace, a vital quality in today’s NHL. “We couldn’t pass up his skill,” said Tyler Wright, Detroit’s director of amateur scouting. Berggren led the Swedish junior league with 57 points in 2017-18, but a back injury has slowed him this season. “He has a chance to become a Viktor Arvidsson, a speedy forward who plays with intensity and has a good feel for the net,” said the Wings’ European scout Hakan Andersson.
FW18| n/a – NHL | 2021-22

4. Jared McIsaac (97th overall)
D, 18, 6-1, 196 – Halifax (QMJHL)
2018 draft, 36th overall
McIsaac has been on fire since returning from the WJC. He leads QMJHL D-men in points per game, meaning the kid can score. That’s great news since he was viewed as more of a defensive D-man, and the Wings need offense from the blueline. “I saw a really good player,” Blashill said. “He seems to have confidence and sees and understands the game. He seems to not have glaring weaknesses. He’s good at everything. He looks like a guy who’s going to be a future NHL defenseman.”
FW18| n/a – NHL | 2021-22

5. Evgeny Svechnikov
RW, 22, 6-3, 212 – Grand Rapids (AHL)
has not played
2015 draft, 19th overall
Svechnikov looked to be figuring out where he fit in as an NHLer in a late-season recall, using his big body to create time and space. But his development was derailed by knee surgery that will sideline him for the rest of 2018-19. “He understands being heavy on the puck,” Blashill said. “He showed good ability offensively at times. I was interested to see where he’s at. We’re still trying to figure out what the real Evgeny Svechnikov looks like. Sometimes he can be so hard on himself that he hurts himself.”
FW18| No. 3 – NHL | 2019-20

6. Gustav Lindstrom
D, 20, 6-2, 187 – Frolunda (Swe.)
2017 draft, 38th overall
At times has played on top ‘D’ pairing on No. 1 Swedish club. More muscle is a must.

7. Vili Saarijarvi
D, 21, 5-10, 182 – Grand Rapids (AHL)
2015 draft, 73rd overall
Strong skater who can quarterback a power play, but needs to add strength.

8. Axel Holmstrom
C, 22, 6-1, 200
Grand Rapids (AHL)
2014 draft, 196th overall
Good hands and hockey sense. Effective player in the greasy areas.

9. Filip Larsson
G, 20, 6-2, 188 – Denver (NCHC)
9-3-3, 2.30, .919
2016 draft, 167th overall
Freshman rebounded from groin surgery in the fall and earned No. 1 job with Pioneers.

10. Kasper Kotkansalo
D, 20, 6-2, 190 – Boston University (ECAC)
2017 draft, 71st overall
Aggressive and physical. Mobile, agile skater with soft hands and sound hockey IQ.


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