Detroit Red Wings: Options Galore With Fourth Overall Pick
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The Detroit Red Wings may hold the fourth overall pick in the upcoming NHL draft, but make no mistake, they were by far the worst team in the league.
In fact, they were the worst team of the salary cap era when it comes to points percentage, with only the 1999-2000 Atlanta Thrashers played any game in this century and finished lower than the Red Wings.
So would it have helped Detroit if they were able to grab the first overall pick? Of course, but this draft is deep enough that they will still be able to get an impact player with the fourth pick.
Picking this high in the draft, your usually not in a position to draft by need, so taking the best player available is usually the safer bet. Coming off the kind of season the Red Wings had, you take whoever you can get because they likely become one of the better players on your roster at that position immediately.
Who might be available for General Manager Steve Yzerman when his team goes on the clock? Here is a quick breakdown of three players that Yzerman may have the opportunity to select with the fourth overall pick.
The top three picks seem to be for the most part, decided. Alexis Lafreniere is going to go to the New York Rangers with the first overall pick. The Los Angeles Kings and Ottawa Senators follow the Rangers, and consensus belief is that Quinton Byfield and Tim Stutzle will be the next two names called, it is just unclear in what order.
That leaves the Red Wings with a couple options, all of which would be a huge boost to an organization starving for talent.
Jamie Drysdale - RHD - Erie Otters
The consensus top defender in the draft, Drysdale would give Detroit a defenseman they could build around for the future.
Built for the new-age of play in the NHL, Drysdale has the speed and skating ability to impact both sides of the ice, and while that may not be this coming season, Yzerman’s Red Wings’ don’t figure to be in any place to even think about rushing him.
In two seasons with Erie in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), Drysdale registered 87 points (16 G, 71 A) in 112 games played.
While most will rightfully recognize his offensive ability, ‘his ability to read the game and cut down passing lanes and create turnovers is his best defensive skill’ as his scouting report reads on Last Word on Sports.
On offense, he can create on his own, using his speed to beat the opponent’s forecheck, and can run the team’s top power play unit.
Why the Red Wings should draft him. Detroit was the worst team this past season in both scoring, and stopping the opponent from putting the puck in the back of the net. Why not draft a potential all-star caliber player that can impact both sides of the ice?
How Drysdale fits into organization. The Red Wings used their top ten pick last year on another right handed defenseman, Moritz Seider, who played surprisingly strong in the AHL this past season, given his age. Drafting Drysdale would give Detroit two potential puck-moving top-pairing prospects that most teams would envy. And despite the strong professional debut from Seider, Drysdale could end up even better.
Marco Rossi, Center, Ottawa 67’s
It might end up being fun to imagine where Rossi could have been drafted if not for the talent ahead of him in this draft.
Just how good is Rossi? All though the age-old stigma of smaller players not being able to play in the league, they still get punished sometimes come draft time. Not for the Austrian born Rossi, who is likely to picked up quickly if the Red Wings don’t call his name with the fourth overall pick.
There isn’t much Rossi can’t do at this point, whether it be offensively, defensively or even special teams. Rossi is a two-way force that can create for others just as easily as he could set himself up.
In 109 games with the 67s, Rossi has scored 185 points (68 G, 117 A). He averaged over two points per game this past season, leading the OHL in points with 120.
Don’t let that take away from his play in his own end, which is strong enough for his coach to entrust him on the team’s penalty kill.
He doesn’t play like he is 5’9”, as he ‘works hard in all three zones and plays a very determined, aggressive game.’
Why the Red Wings should draft him. Like Drysdale in a sense, Rossi helps all over the board, which is good because the Red Wings need help everywhere. Drafting Rossi would give Detroit an elite-playmaking prospect that can create for himself and could be closer to making an impact than most think.
‘He’s got great lower body strength. He understands game, he’s smart and he’s really competitive. Marco, like Alexis Lafreneire, I think they’re the two players that are ready to come into the NHL and contribute in the 2020-2021 season.’ TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button
How Rossi fits into organization. Best case scenario, Rossi, along with Dylan Larkin, come together to form a dynamic one-two punch down the middle. Not so best scenario, he has to shift to the wing and gets to play WITH Larkin, creating a dynamic tandem that few can answer.
Seems pretty good either way, right? Whether he sticks down the middle or shifts to wing, Rossi would join other young forward prospects like Joseph Veleno, Michael Rasmussen and Filip Zadina to give the Red Wings a lot to be excited for in the coming future.
Lucas Raymond, LW/RW, Frolunda Hockey Club
It’s always interesting when taking a look at the top prospects overseas. A quick look over at their stat sheet almost never does them proper justice at the impact they will someday make across the Atlantic Ocean in the NHL.
That’s easily the case for Raymond, who is one-half of the ‘Swedish Terror Twins’ combination with Alexander Holtz, another top prospect in the upcoming draft.
Raymond, and Holtz for that matter, have one huge advantage over Drysdale, Rossi and all the other prospects playing in junior hockey - they already have season experience playing against grown professional players.
The 17-years old Raymond played a full season fighting for playing time on Frolunda. Playing fourth line minutes is going to limit his points out put (7 G, 7 A in 47 games in the SHL), but there is no doubting his skill when he gets onto the ice.
While another season or two in Sweden won’t be out the picture to help him grow physically - it will also allow him to take on a bigger role in a more comfortable setting.
Raymond has gotten playing style comparisons to Mitch Marner, Johnny Gaudreau, and Artemi Panarin - all three of which took at least an extra season at the amateur level before turning pro.
Why the Red Wings should draft him. Raymond is battle tested already against grown men. For a draft that has so many players that would use to be considered undersized to play in the league in years prior expected to go so high, the fact that Raymond has proven he can play against others bigger and stronger than him has to account for something.
He would be a dynamic winger that can play on either side of ice and is going to generate offense for both himself and others. A line of Raymond-Larkin-Zadina may eventually give teams nightmares.
How Raymond fits into organization. Raymond would immediately be plugged in as the team’s top prospect with Zadina graduating this past season. He is going to be mostly known for his offense, but Raymond has the skill set to be one of the rare wingers to make an impact in all three zones.
Bonus Player: Alexander Holtz, LW/RW, Djurgardens IF
If we’re are talking about one of the Swedish Terror Twins, might as well briefly go over the other. While Raymond may be looked at as more of a playmaker, using his speed and stick handling to create for others, Holtz will be looked at for his shot.
‘Holtz is a pure sniper. He has an outstanding wrist shot and lightning quick release. He also has an excellent slap shot and one-timer. Holtz even has a good backhand. He has the quick hands to change the angle of his release before firing the puck, fooling goaltenders. -LWOS on Holtz.
With a playing style comparisons to Patrick Laine, how can the worst goal scoring team in the league from a year ago go wrong with one of the best pure goal scorers in the draft?
My Pick: Rossi
Round 1 of the 2020 NHL draft will begin at 7 pm on Tuesday, October 6, and will be televised on NBCSN. The rest of the draft will take play the following day, beginning at 11:30 am and will be shown on the NHL Network.
Who should the Red Wings take with the fourth overall pick, and why? Let me know in the comment section below, and follow me on Twitter @AJ_Murfy