I mentioned in another thread that I could make a write-up for Red Wings fans and a few of you seemed pretty excited about it, so here it is. I would like to point out that I am not an expert, I'm just giving you an insider view of these players based on various scouting reports, along with my own personal opinion. While I do know what I'm talking about, I doubt any GMs would care what I think at this point, so please take it with a grain of salt.
Tomas Jurco - Very surprising he fell this far, but there is always a reason. Amazing pure skill combined with excellent size gives him massive upside. Brilliant hands, can score, and uses his big body to his advantage. If he fills out, he will have the perfect physical makeup of a dominant power forward. The issue with him is his lack of consistency and spotty effort. When he goes hard, he's a top 20 talent, but he doesn't always go hard and this is likely why he dropped. He is a boom or bust type of guy IMO, but worth a shot in the 2nd round. Many GM's will automatically stay away from anyone with questions about effort, and this is what happened. Being with a top notch organization should increase the odds of him turning his effort up.
Xavier Oullet - Loved this pick. Offensive d-man with underrated skills in his own zone. Good on the powerplay. He isn't really amazing at anything, but he's good at everything. I believe he will become a low-end top 4 d-man for the wings down the road. Rumored to be a good character guy. He needs to improve his skating stride, as is often the case with draft prospects. This is easier said than done, so he needs to continue working on his skating.
Ryan Sproul - Hard to evaluate him because he wasn't really on the radar until recently. He grew a lot and became a very serviceable d-man in the OHL. Very raw but shows excellent potential. When you see him play you probably won't be overly impressed. But it is very hard to find big d-men with the skill potential he has. Very high upside, but he has tons of strides to make before he is anywhere near NHL ready. I don't think there is any doubt his body will be NHL ready in a few years, but it's his defensive awareness that needs to develop. That will determine the worth of this pick.
The theme of this draft for the wings was upside. They drafted players who have a ton of upside and could pay off big time. The safest pick was Oullet, but Jurco and Sproul have boom or bust potential. Both could end up as all-star caliber players, or below average.
Prospect from prior draft I like:
Brendan Smith - Smith is very smooth and good in all facets of the game. Excellent mobility and shows good offensive upside without sacrificing the defensive side of the game. Guys like him are hard to find. If he puts on weight, I have no doubt he will be a top 4 player for the wings very soon.
Prospect from prior draft I don't like:
Thomas McCollum - I have played against him many times, and while he was a good goalie, I was never overly impressed with him. He is a guy that is pretty good all around, but doesn't wow you. IMO, if you're taking a goalie in the first round, you should get one you think will definitely be a top tier starter, and I just don't see it with him. Furthermore, he has had some pretty shaky play lately, which has quite obviously damaged his confidence. It is very important that he bounces back this season wherever he plays because confidence is paramount for goalies.
Opinions on this vary, and I've had some good spirited discussions with wings fans about this, but I have been very confused about some of their moves. They have not had a high draft pick in a very long time, and that continues, obviously, because of their success. This year, they opted to trade out of the first round and stack lower draft picks. What you generally get in the second round and up are quality depth players to fill out a roster. You get your stars in the first round.
The Wings are blessed to have made two of the best draft selections ever with Datsyuk and Zetterberg. This has allowed them to fill the rest of the roster with quality depth players in the draft and free agency. However, at some point they're going to have to take a swing at a top young player that has star potential. Datysuk and Zetterberg were great picks by the Wings staff, but that will NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN. I can't stress that enough. Draft picks that lucky, especially when it happens twice, do not happen often. Soon enough, Lidstrom will be gone and Zetterberg and Datsyuk will soon find themselves on the other end of their primes. Who will replace them?
The wings are set to compete for a long time, and the fans hardly have anything to complain about. However, their top players are aging. I just don't see many players under 25 in the system who can become stars. Eventually, they are going to have to inject the organization with some top young talent, even if it means trading away some current top veterans within the next 2-3 seasons. One possibility is that the wings will continue drafting for quality depth players and hope to acquire their stars through free agency, but that can be expensive and isn't their M.O. Either way, the next few seasons should be interesting.
Thanks for reading, hopefully that was what you guys were looking for.