After waiting for almost a year, the event that most Red Wing fans have been waiting for has finally come and gone: the 2020 NHL Draft. General manager Steve Yzerman has been a busy man over the last few days – no more so than during the elongated second day of the draft. But the action began well before the first pick of the draft was announced….
Let’s dive in!
The Red Wings came out of the 2020 Draft with 12 new prospects -– led, of course, by the fourth overall selection: Lucas Raymond. Here’s what the pundits and scouts are saying about some of their notable draftees.
Corey Pronman of The Athletic on Raymond: “His skill level is right at the top of the draft with Lafreniere, he’s a game-breaker with his hands and playmaking…he becomes an extremely important part of the Wings’ rebuild and someone who could run their first power play with time.” (from ‘2020 NHL Draft Round 1 full analysis: What we learned’ – The Athletic – 10/6/20)
Craig Button on Raymond: “He’s incredibly confident holding the puck in traffic with opponents closing in on him or even on him. When it looks like an opponent has him negated, you don’t because he’s always able to have his hands free and get the puck into positions where he can make a play.”
Matt Cosman on William Wallinder: “…what makes Wallinder stand out, in particular, is his ability to accelerate and make plays at a high pace for such a big body…He also has deceptively quick hands with the puck, and boasts a heavy shot with a powerful release.”
EliteProspects on Theodor Niederbach: “He’s so dialed in off the puck, capable of making the right reads and knowing when he can switch from his man and give his teammate support.”
Greg Boysen on Cross Hanas: “He struggles to produce on a consistent basis and has some selfish tendencies on the ice. Hanas has displayed some nice play-making abilities with his passing and vision, but there are times when he puts the blinders on and tries to do it all himself.”
Bill Placzek (DraftSite) on Jan Bednar: “Enormous Czech goaltender who has shown athleticism and the ability to snuff high percentage shots. For the most part, he lets the plays come to him. Has an active stick and will advance pucks and actively handle them using his stick and paddle.”
You can read our thoughts on the Red Wings’ 2020 draft class here.
Abdelkader Bought Out
The Red Wings announced that they placed winger Justin Abdelkader on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a buyout.
Drafted 42nd overall in the 2005 NHL Draft, Abdelkader began something of a “Michigan-movement” across the Red Wings’ roster, as the team made a concerted effort to add players from the state. The native of Muskegon, Michigan, found his greatest success alongside Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk as the “piano puller” during the early part of the last decade. Because of this success, he signed a seven-year extension in 2015 that carried a $4.25 million cap hit. That deal quickly became one of the league’s worst.
With just three points in 49 games this season, while under the watch of a new GM, this was probably a foregone conclusion. The Red Wings are trying to get younger, and the veterans they have need to produce in order to maintain their place in the lineup. We’ll see if Abdelkader ends up with another team when free agency opens up on Oct. 9.
He has 252 points through 739 regular-season games in the NHL.
Qualifying Offers Sent Out
Oct. 7 was also the deadline for teams to send out qualifying offers to retain the negotiating rights for their restricted free agents (RFA). Among the players not qualified by the team were defenseman Madison Bowey, as well as forwards Christoffer Ehn and Brendan Perlini.
Former Red Wing Andreas Athanasiou was also not qualified after an unsuccessful stint with the Edmonton Oilers. The Red Wings acquired two second-round picks from the Oilers in exchange for the speedy forward at the trade deadline. He, along with all other RFAs who did not receive a qualifying offer, are set to become unrestricted free agents on Oct. 9.
- Yzerman was recently exposed to someone with COVID-19 and had to partake in the draft remotely. The team released the following statement:
- During his post-draft press availability, Yzerman noted that 20-year-old Filip Zadina looks ready to become a “full-time NHLer.” The sixth pick of the 2018 draft, the young sniper performed well in 28 games this past season, recording 15 points along the way.
- In Kris Draper’s first draft as the Red Wings’ Director of Amateur Scouting, he drafted his son, Kienan, in the seventh round. Fans can only hope that Kienan eventually meets up with Brendan Lemieux, son of Claude Lemieux….
- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced a tentative start date for the 2020-21 season: Jan. 1.
- The Red Wings assigned two former first-round picks to play overseas:
Of note in the case of Seider is that he and Rögle are scheduled to play Raymond and Frölunda on October 22. The future of the Red Wings will be on full display that night!
Latest From THW:
- Ian McNaughton took a look at four goalies the Red Wings could target for their vacancy in the crease.
- Devin Little gave the rundown on Raymond and how he fits into the Red Wings’ long-term plans.
- Plus plenty of draft-related content across all 31* teams
*sorry, Seattle Kraken fans.
Now that the draft is over, the attention now shifts towards free agency. Stay tuned to The Hockey Writers as the NHL offseason continues.
I am a Western Michigan University alum whose passion for hockey knows no limits. Dr. Pepper enthusiast. Catch me and my fellow Red Wings writers’ YouTube show “The Hockey Writers Grind Line” which drops every Saturday.