Red Wings 2022 Draft Preview: Targets, Strategy & More

Now that the Stanley Cup Final is over, the Detroit Red Wings are back in action, with the 2022 NHL Draft quickly approaching.

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Steve Yzerman, Kris Draper, and Detroit’s scouting staff have been hard at work preparing for another opportunity to bolster the organization’s rebuild. They’ll enter the 2022 draft with 10 picks, including:

So what will the Red Wings do at this year’s draft in Montreal? Let’s dive into the 2022 draft class, Detroit’s draft slots, and more to find out.

2022 Red Wings Offseason Overview

Red Wings’ Prospect Pipeline

A more detailed overview of Detroit’s organizational depth and prospect pipeline can be found here.

As you can imagine, high-end talent to build around is essential. Last year, the Red Wings were able to add cornerstone pieces in Simon Edvinsson and Sebastian Cossa to address clear positional needs – left defense and goalie, respectively.

Simon Edvinsson of the Detroit Red Wings
Simon Edvinsson is Detroit’s clear No. 1 prospect. (The Hockey Writers)

Behind them on Detroit’s depth chart are prospects like Jonatan Berggren, Carter Mazur, Theodor Niederbach, Elmer Soderblom, Albert Johansson, William Wallinder, and Shai Buium who all project to be contributors at the NHL level. They’re not going to be difference-makers, but valuable role players instead.

Missing from the group of players listed above: right-handed defensemen and top-six centers. The Red Wings have a dire need at these two positions, with center being the higher priority at the moment.

Related: Red Wings 2022 Draft Coverage

Now that we’ve established Detroit’s needs, let’s dive into potential solutions that can be had at this year’s draft.

Red Wings’ Options at No. 8

Like I did last year, we’ll focus on prospects who could be available at No. 8. Some could be chosen ahead of Detroit’s draft slot, but who exactly is up for debate.

At this point, I can safely project Shane Wright, Juraj Slafkovsky, Logan Cooley, Simon Nemec, David Jiricek to be selected before Yzerman steps to the podium. With those prospects removed from consideration, here’s how I would rank the next-best players available based on their potential and fit within Detroit’s prospect pipeline.

Draft Board:

  1. C/LW Cutter Gauthier
  2. C Matthew Savoie
  3. C/RW Brad Lambert
  4. C Marco Kasper
  5. RW Joakim Kemell

To reiterate, a couple players listed above will likely be gone by the time Detroit makes their pick. There’s a solid chance Gauthier is one of them. But if he’s available at No. 8, the Boston College-bound center would instantly solve a clear organizational need.

Potential Detroit Red Wings draft pick Cutter Gauthier
Cutter Gauthier would be a steal at No. 8 if he is still available. (The Hockey Writers)

Another center who would be a great fit is Matthew Savoie, who torched the WHL this past season with the Winnipeg Ice. His top-notch skill, high compete level, and strong hockey IQ fit in with Yzerman’s vision for Detroit’s future. In my opinion, Savoie is the most likely choice at No. 8. Brad Lambert would be my preferred choice, though.

Whether the Red Wings select Gauthier, Savoie, Lambert, or Marco Kasper, they’ll have added a talented center to a prospect pipeline desperately in need of one.

Related: Red Wings’ No. 8 Pick: Matthew Savoie vs. Brad Lambert

Detroit’s Second Round Targets

In the second round, the Red Wings have two selections in quick succession – No. 40 and No. 52. Because of this, I combined the draft boards for the two picks and highlighted 10 players to consider early in Day 2 of the draft. 

Draft Board:

  1. LW Ivan Miroshnichenko
  2. LD Lian Bischel
  3. C Owen Beck
  4. C Filip Bystedt
  5. C Noah Ostlund
  6. C Luca Del Bel Belluz
  7. RW Jagger Firkus
  8. RD Ryan Chesley
  9. RD Mattias Havelid
  10. LD Calle Odelius

Now, there’s a very good chance that both Ivan Miroshnichenko and Lian Bischel will have been selected at this point, but stranger things have happened. If either fall in the draft, the Red Wings should absolutely snap them up – in the second round or by combining picks and trading back into the first round.

But if Miroshnichenko and Bischel are off the board, Detroit does have a handful of other options, especially up front. Owen Beck, Filip Bystedt, Noah Ostlund, and Luca Del Bel Belluz would further bolster the organization’s depth at center. Bystedt, in particular, has intriguing hockey sense to go with his 6-foot-3 frame.

“There are times you watch [Bystedt] and get really excited about his pro potential when he’s skating pucks up with speed and creating chances. I don’t think his puck play is overly impressive, but he shows enough sense to find lanes to make plays and be a secondary contributor to an NHL line.”

–Corey Pronman, The Athletic (from ‘NHL Draft 2022 top 127 prospects: Juraj Slafkovsky leads Corey Pronman’s list’ – The Athletic – 5/31/22)

On defense, Ryan Chesley and Mattias Havelid would be nice snags in the second round. Both shoot the puck very well, but also play a strong, two-way game. Havelid is smaller in stature, though his skating and tenacity make up for his lack of size.

Related: 2022 NHL Draft Guide

The Red Wings should aim to come away with two forwards and one defenseman after their first three picks, provided none of their selections are traded. In general, the organization needs more talent up front. That said, they shouldn’t neglect defense completely and ideally should draft the best player available.

Prospects to Target in the Third Round

Moving into the third round, the Red Wings should choose the next-best player remaining on their board – regardless of position. I’ve added a few more names below that could be available at No. 73.

Draft Board:

  1. Players still available from the second round draft board
  2. C/LW Ludwig Persson
  3. RW Jordan Dumais
  4. RW Cruz Lucius
  5. C Fraser Minten
  6. RD Ludvig Jansson
  7. RD Michael Fisher
  8. C Matthew Poitras
  9. LW Adam Sykora
  10. RD Kasper Kulonummi 

When you reach the middle rounds, it’s best to select prospects with one or two elite traits, but are otherwise average or below average when you look at their collective profile. The thinking here is that you can teach certain traits and develop these players into potential NHL contributors.

For example, Ludwig Persson and Jordan Dumais have strong hockey IQ in the offensive zone. Cruz Lucius has a lethal shot. Michael Fisher is an excellent skater. That said, these players all have areas that they’ll need to refine before they get a shot at the NHL level.

Of the bunch, it would be nice to see the Red Wings select Persson. He came up through the same Frolunda pipeline that produced Lucas Raymond, Simon Edvinsson, Elmer Soderblom, Theodor Niederbach, and Liam Dower Nilsson. Chances are, Detroit’s scouting staff is familiar with his game and see the value he could bring to the organization.

Red Wings Targets for the Fourth Round & Beyond

Again, draft and develop is the theme here. Prospects can be molded into well-rounded players with proper development. 

For example, Soderblom was a sixth-round pick in 2019 who was very raw his draft year. But over the past three seasons, Detroit’s overseas personnel and Frolunda’s coaching staff have developed the hulking winger into a player who is ready to compete for an NHL job.

Elmer Soderblom Detroit Red Wings
Who is the next Elmer Soderblom? (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

With that being said, I’ve listed the names of 10 players the Red Wings should consider in the fourth round and beyond. These prospects have one or two above-average traits, but are otherwise in need of significant development over the next few years.

Draft Board:

  • Players still available from the third round draft board
  • C Tim Almgren
  • G Hugo Havelid
  • LD Tyson Jugnauth
  • LW Theo Keilin
  • LD David Moravec
  • LD Filip Nordberg
  • C Topi Ronni
  • C Cole Spicer
  • RW Fabian Wagner
  • C Jeremy Wilmer

Of the 10 prospects listed above, I want to call out one in particular: Hugo Havelid. The 5-foot-10 netminder will be passed over due to his size, but is definitely worth a late-round flier. 

He plays a mature game and has won at all levels. Of note, Havelid was absolutely stellar for Sweden at the U18 World Junior Championship this spring. 

The Red Wings should strongly consider stockpiling goalies, even if Sebastian Cossa is entrenched as the goalie of the future. It’s the most difficult position to develop, and thus the most valuable from a supply and demand perspective. So if Havelid pans out, his value will far surpass the late-round pick used to acquire him.

Final Word

It’s clear Yzerman likes to play chess at the draft. In three years, he has traded up twice and moved back four times. He also dealt a 2020 fifth in exchange for a 2022 fourth, then moved Detroit’s 2021 seventh rounder for an extra seventh-round pick in 2020.

Expect more of the same this year – jockeying for position throughout the draft. With 10 picks, the Red Wings have plenty of ammunition to move around if needed.

Whether Detroit makes all 10 selections, more, or less, the organization needs to maximize the value of each pick. Doing so will allow the franchise to emerge from their rebuild that much sooner.