NHL Draft: Red Wings' biggest needs, top prospects
Detroit Red Wings fans are starting to feel hopeful. While that sentiment may be a bit premature, the organization is amassing a group of noteworthy prospects. Already in the NHL, Moritz Seider is closer to a Norris Trophy candidate than some might believe, and Lucas Raymond showed he’s a top line talent. It was a pleasant rebound for a team that has seen disappointing returns from first round picks. Two recent top 10 picks for Detroit, Filip Zadina and Michael Rasmussen, are still with the club, but have yet to deliver on expectations. While the rebuild is still well underway, a wave of prospects are nearing NHL ready, and you can expect Steve Yzerman to be aggressive on the trade market this coming season, followed by a likely splash in free agency the year after to accelerate Detroit’s climb to sit once again among the league’s elite.
Simon Edvinsson, D - A towering blueliner ranked as the 7th best prospect league wide by The Hockey News in their annual Future Watch, and , Edvinsson, who stands 6’5”, will be counted on to play consistent minutes immediately in the NHL. Beside Moritz Seider, Edvinsson could form the second half of a dynamic duo that terrifies opponents both with their size and defensive acumen, as well as their willingness to chip in offensively, and vision from the backend.
Jonatan Berggren, F - The 33rd overall selection in 2018, Berggren announced himself to the world last year scoring 45 points in 49 games in the SHL. He followed that up by leading the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins in scoring with 64 points in 70 games. Detroit resisted the temptation of bringing Berggren into the fold too early, keeping him in the American Hockey League for the duration of the season. Next year, Detroit will get an older, stronger, overripe prospect ready to contribute immediately.
Sebastian Cossa, G - Every team hopes for a goalie of the future, and Sebastian Cossa fits the job description in every way. His numbers in the WHL have been eye popping at times. There was a midseason lull for Cossa this year, but it almost appeared that the games were too easy for him. When the playoffs rolled around, he returned to putting up video game style numbers, almost too good to be real. Cossa has the frame of a modern netminder standing 6’6”, and because of his birthdate, he’ll be eligible for the AHL next season as he turns 20 in November. If Detroit moves him to the AHL, his time until he takes over the crease in the NHL could be closer than some expect.
One To Watch
If Detroit’s future blueline wasn’t big and talented enough with Seider and Edvinsson, let us introduce you to William Wallinder. Wallinder was the 32nd overall pick in 2020, meaning today, he’d be a first round pick. The 6’4” blueliner is a smooth skater, and in the SHL, the same award given to Moritz Seider last year. He still needs to fill out, but Wallinder isn’t just climbing the prospect ladder, he’s racing up. Another name to watch, and hard to miss player due to his size is fellow Swede Elmer Soderblom. While Wallinder grabbed the headline, perhaps no player will intrigue Red Wings fans next season as much as Pontus Andreasson. Seeing how the Swedish free agent transitions to the AHL will be a point of interest.
Ready To Step In
While at least two players will make the Detroit Red Wings’ roster next season, it’s Jonatan Berggren who looks the most ready. He played his first 10 games of professional hockey back in 2017-2018 and after battling some injuries and inconsistencies, now has two full pro campaigns, one in Europe and one in North America under his belt. He’ll be 22 when the season begins, and will be penciled in for a top nine role, which will likely also include power play opportunities. It would not be surprising to see Berggren join and stay in Detroit’s top six next year.
Top Needs At The NHL Draft
With Detroit’s blueline and crease looking increasingly stocked for the future, it’s high end skill Detroit lacks in their forward corps. Raymond is there, and Berggren is ready. Had Filip Zadina been the player many predicted, Detroit’s forward prospects might look different. The same goes for Michael Rasmussen, who in the second half of the season showed considerable growth, but still isn’t producing at a rate that would justify him as a 9th overall pick. Similarly Joe Veleno has shown flashes of talent, but may not develop into a top six player. With that in mind, Detroit should swing early and often at skilled forwards. There is good forward depth in this draft, including into the second round, so Detroit could make a dent at addressing this issue with both of their top picks.