The Detroit Red Wings are the “X-factor” in the 2019 NHL draft

Embed from Getty Images They currently sit at #6 in the first round of the NHL draft. Yet, the Detroit Red Wings hold the keys to the entire draft. With five draft picks before the fourth round, Detroit general manager Steve Yzerman can move up or back because unlike the other teams he has the assets to do it.

Last week in a twenty minute media update, Yzerman played coy. It is not like he was going to tip his hand one way or another. Yzerman said he is going to draft talent, not need. Something he did in Tampa Bay which turned out very well for the Lightning.

The top 10 players in this years draft are outstanding unlike the past two NHL drafts.  No matter what he does, Yzerman will make the Red Wings rebuild a little better. There is tremendous talent throughout this years draft. So if he keeps the picks Detroit wins. If he trades the picks Detroit wins.

Steve Yzerman can send a ripple though the league. The top two teams are not trading they’re picks. So the draft truly starts with the third pick. If Yzerman makes a move teams will have to recheck they’re draft boards.

In my opinion, Steve Yzerman understands his team and organization is rebuilding. Unless he gets a massive offer he can not refuse, I do not see the Red Wings moving down.

NHL insiders are all saying that all eyes will by “On Yzerman and Detroit.” Given the NHL draft starts Friday night, and Steve Yzerman and his scouting department are deep in meetings to map out draft strategies he knows what he wants to do in this draft.

Knowing what you would like to do and being able to do them are two different things. Because of 3 second round draft picks, Yzerman is able to do what he wants.

It should be interesting to watch it unfold Friday night in Vancouver, British Columbia. The draft starts at 8:00 pm, fans can tune into NBCSN for complete coverage.

A few players the Detroit Red Wings could target in the first round

Embed from Getty Images I have a confession to make. I hate Mock Drafts. Sure anyone can tell who based on sheer talent who will be the top pick, even the first two or three picks for that matter. Then it is anyone’s guess. There are way too many variables such as trades, players stock rising and players stock falling. With that here are three players I believe Steve Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings could be interested in.

Steve Yzerman believes in building his team from the back out. Defense, goalie, then forwards. Forwards is not a problem in Detroit. The defense is a bit of a mess. After a bumpy start Filip Hronek showed he can be a solid second line defender. Dennis Cholowski should be solid on the third line. But no top defensive line pairing makes this a rather critical need for Detroit.

The top defensive prize in the 2019 NHL draft is Bowen Byram. Byram is an excellent skater,  Byram is strong on his skates and has excellent balance. Bowen wins battles in front of the net and along the boards. He is also strong at protecting the puck. Something Yzerman covets.  Bowen Byram is a strong puck mover who can quarterback the power play. He is expected to be gone before Detroit picks at number 6. Yzerman could choose to move up.


Right Wings, Vasili Podkolzin could also be of interest to the rebuilding Red Wings. Podkolzin has a powerful stride that generates good speed his excellent balance allows him to win battles on the boards and in front of the net. Also, this prospects good stickhandling skills  make him tough to defend in one on one situations. Podkolzin brings high compete level and an effective defensive game. Vasili is willing to show the same battle in his own end that he brings in the offensive end. Podkolzin fights for loose pucks and supports the defence down low.


Next we come to my personal favorite,  Trevor Zegras. Of all the players in this years draft Trevor Zegras has a first step quickness and acceleration that set him apart from the rest of the field.  Zegras has very good vision and passing skill, helping him to be a primary playmaker on his line. He also has a high hockey IQ and good vision. Trevor’s hand-eye coordination makes him best known as a playmaker, he can score goals with soft hands in tight to the net. Zegras has improved his defensive game. Trevor backchecks hard and supports the defense down low. He uses his quickness and an active stick to create turnovers.


So there you have it. No mock draft. Just three players who fit what Steve Yzerman is trying to do with the Detroit Red Wings.