Red Wings News & Rumors: Draft Recap, Free Agency & More

In just under a week, the Detroit Red Wings are in a much different place than they were. They exited the 2021 draft with eight new prospects, and that was after they made moves to acquire immediate help in the form of defenseman Nick Leddy and goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic. Oh, and a couple players from the 2020-21 team received new contracts! Strap yourself in because we have a lot to sift through.

Red Wings 2021 Draft Recap

While you can read a more in-depth look at the picks Detroit made in the first round here, as well as our reactions to the Red Wings’ draft class a whole here, here’s a general overview of what the Red Wings came away with in the 2021 draft:

  • Sixth overall: (D) Simon Edvinsson – big, two-way defender that is rough around the edges but is oozing with potential.
  • 15th overall: (G) Sebastian Cossa – “Goaltender of the Future”, was 17-1-1 with a .941 save-percentage this season with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League.
  • 36th overall: (D) Shai Buium – skilled defender with middle-pairing potential. Needs to work on his footwork.
  • 70th overall: (LW) Carter Mazur – played in the Little Caesars program growing up in Detroit. Has some scoring potential.
  • 114th overall: (C) Red Savage – wore the captain’s ‘C’ as a member of Team USA’s U-18 World Junior team. Projects as a third-liner with some skill.
  • 134th overall: (C) Liam Dower-Nilsson – wore the captain’s ‘C’ as a member of Team Sweden’s U-18 World Junior team. Tenacious player along the lines of fellow Red Wings prospect Albin Grewe.
  • 155th overall: (D) Oscar Plandowski – has upside as a puck-moving defender. Had 17 points through 39 games in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season. Yzerman worked with his father in Tampa Bay.
  • 166th overall: (C) Pasquale Zito – did not play last season due to the pandemic. Had 13 points through 46 games in the Ontario Hockey League during the 2019-20 season.
Sebastian Cossa Edmonton Oil Kings
Sebastian Cossa of the Edmonton Oil Kings (Andy Devlin/Edmonton Oil Kings)

Some interesting things to note about general manager Steve Yzerman’s post-draft press availability:

  • Like they did for Cossa, the Red Wings would have considered trading up to pick goaltender Jesper Wallstedt.
  • “We’re trading second round picks to move up in the first round all day,” Yzerman said about his maneuver to move up.
  • During pre-draft interviews with the team, Cossa asked about former Red Wings goaltender Dominik Hasek and what he did to be so successful as an NHL goaltender. The team also set him up with an interview with Chris Osgood to talk about life as a young goaltender in the NHL.
  • Edvinsson and Dower-Nilsson are apparently best friends and they watched the second day of the draft together. They were both elated when Detroit selected Dower-Nilsson in the fifth round.
  • Yzerman has selected at least one player from Frölunda HC of the SHL in each draft since taking over as GM of the Red Wings.

Other Post-Draft Tidbits

Yzerman’s attention now turns towards free agency and getting his own restricted free agents (RFA) signed. However, his post-draft press availability offered some insight into what might be on the horizon for the Red Wings.

“Right shots are a bit of a concern for us,” Yzerman said regarding his team’s current offense. While he did say that he would look towards some of his own unrestricted free agents (Luke Glendening, Bobby Ryan, Sam Gagner) to fill that need, there are some other free agents he could target including: David Krejci, Paul Stastny, Travis Zajac and Joel Armia.

One player that is not a right-handed shot that Yzerman mentioned was winger prospect Jonatan Berggren (33rd overall, 2018). The Red Wings’ GM said that the plan for him is to play in North America next season, whether it’s in Detroit or Grand Rapids in the American Hockey League. As for 2020 top pick Lucas Raymond, it sounds like Yzerman is more open to leaving him in Sweden if that’s the right place for him. After the fourth pick of the 2020 draft signed an entry-level contract, most people assumed he was destined to make the journey over to North America next season as well. While that may still be what happens, it’s not as much of a sure thing as was previously thought.

Jonatan Berggren Sweden
Jonatan Berggren #17 of the Sweden Nationals skates up ice with the puck against the Finland Nationals during the 2018 Under-18 Five Nations Tournament game at USA Hockey Arena on February 15, 2018 in Plymouth, Michigan. Finland defeated Sweden 5-3. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

Yzerman also stated that he plans on adding “two D” to the lineup in some fashion, although that was before the latest signing was announced….

Marc Staal, Michael Rasmussen Sign

The Red Wings announced on Sunday (7/25) that they re-signed defenseman Marc Staal to a one-year deal with a cap-hit of $2 million.

The move leaves the Red Wings with $37.5 million in cap space with free agency less than a week away. In 56 games this season with Detroit, Staal had three goals and 10 points while also posting a (relatively) impressive plus-minus rating of minus-5. He averaged 18:25 of ice time this season while primarily playing alongside Troy Stecher on the team’s second pairing.

Re-signing Staal likely leaves one more defensive spot open for the Red Wings to plug. As it stands right now, Detroit’s defensive pairs for next season would look something like this:

Danny DeKeyserFilip Hronek
Nick LeddyMoritz Seider
Marc StaalTroy Stecher

22-year-old Gustav Lindstrom – who was protected in the expansion draft – would be the team’s seventh/extra defenseman. Some free agents to keep an eye on include: Jon Merrill, Ryan Murray, Alec Martinez and Mike Reilly.

Prior to the draft, the Red Wings also announced that 22-year-old forward Michael Rasmussen had been re-signed to a three-year deal with a cap-hit of $1.46 million.

The ninth pick of the 2017 draft, Rasmussen finally made his way onto the Red Wings’ roster as a regular this season, appearing in 40 games while putting up 12 points. He averaged 14:48 in ice time this season, and even lined up as the team’s top line center late in the season when captain Dylan Larkin was out with an injury. Rasmussen will still be an RFA at this new deal’s conclusion. This deal also makes him the only player on the team signed beyond the 2022-23 season.

More…

  • The Red Wings will not be holding a development camp for their prospects this season due to logistics within the ongoing pandemic. However, they do plan to return to Traverse City, Michigan for training camp, has has been the custom outside of the pandemic. Details are not yet available.
  • Here’s an analytical projection of how next year’s standings will shake out:

Since the tweet gets cut off here, this has Detroit finishing seventh in the Atlantic Division with 78 points, five ahead of the last-place Ottawa Senators.

ICYMI

  • Our own Tony Wolak appeared on the “Fantasy Hockey Life” podcast a while back to discuss the Red Wings and how they fared this season from a fantasy hockey perspective. They also discussed who listeners should keep an eye on heading into next season. Be sure to look it up wherever you get your podcasts from!
  • Devin Little explained why defenseman Dougie Hamilton is not a fit for the Red Wings.
  • Patrick Brown rationalized Yzerman’s decision to trade up to select Sebastian Cossa at 15th overall.
  • Be sure to catch the next episode of The Hockey Writers’ Grind Line! Watch our latest episode down below!

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