The 2017 NHL Draft is over. Now it’s time to see how the teams did.
Of course it’s too early to declare true winners and losers. Everything is relative. But we will pinpoint three teams that made you go hmmmm. Whether it was reaching for a player at an unusual spot or some other noteworthy thing, these three teams caught our attention for the wrong reason.
Teams That Made You Go Hmmmm
Detroit Red Wings
With the league trending towards smaller and faster players with skill, the Red Wings would have benefited from selecting a player in that mold. So what do they do? They draft 6-foot-5 Michael Rasmussen.
I’m not saying Rasmussen is a bad player. This is more about the thinking behind making this pick. What made this more perplexing was that they passed on better players in Gabriel Vilardi and Owen Tippett.
It was clear the Red Wings needed a center. But picking someone who had just 15 even strength points last season just didn’t make a lot of sense. They then follow that up by taking Gustav Lindstrom from Sweden in the second round. Based on consensus rankings, this pick was a reach.
In a season where Detroit couldn’t afford to miss on an early prospect, they left better players on the board. Perhaps they have a plan. Perhaps their picks will work out. But leaving more dynamic talents out there is not a good look. It makes you go hmmm.
New York Rangers
The Rangers trade away Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta to the Arizona Coyotes. They get a player back in Anthony DeAngelo who goes to his third team already in his career. Some have questioned his character. But he still has upside as an offensive defenseman. The Rangers also received the seventh-overall pick.
It was clear they had a center in mind. Vilardi and others were available for the taking. So what do they do? They draft Lias Andersson with the seventh pick. Again, he could end up as a good player. But with other players available, this was a curious move, especially considering they traded to get into this situation. This was a move that made me go hmmmm.
Many expected the Avalanche to part ways with Matt Duchene. Not only has that not happened, now reports have surfaced that the team could keep him next season.
Although the Avalanche had a strong draft given their first two picks in Cale Makar and Conor Timmins, the Duchene situation is the bigger story at the moment. According to Pierre LeBrun, GM Joe Sakic was not impressed with the offers he got for Duchene. That’s fine if the right deal is not available. But given the need for a potential fresh start for both sides, seeing this drag on could prove costly over the long run.
Maybe both sides can put last season behind them and focus on the future trying to help the Avalanche turn their fortunes around. But this story will drag on until it’s over. Nobody wants that. Perhaps something happens when free agency opens. But if Duchene remains with the Avalanche, that will make you go hmmmm.
What other teams made moves that made you go hmmmm? Feel free to leave your comments below.
I am a fully credentialed writer who covers the Columbus Blue Jackets, Cleveland Monsters and Erie Otters as well as the Ontario Hockey League and NHL Draft. The 2021-22 season will mark eight seasons with the Hockey Writers. I am also the site’s Credentials Manager.