Once again, the Detroit Red Wings will select sixth in the NHL Draft. Wednesday night’s NHL Draft Lottery confirmed Detroit’s draft slot, with the Buffalo Sabres choosing first and the expansion Seattle Kraken landing the second-overall pick.
Previously, the Red Wings landed the sixth-overall choice in the 2018 and 2019 drafts, where they selected Filip Zadina and Moritz Seider, respectively.
But unlike those years, the 2021 draft class has several players contending for the top few picks, rather than a couple elite prospects towering over everyone else. With some luck, Steve Yzerman will be able to select a player he would have considered at No.1 or No. 2 had the Red Wings won one of those draft slots.
With that being said, let’s dive into what could happen at No. 6.
Related: 2021 NHL Draft Guide
Detroit’s Options at No. 6
Since there hasn’t been much of a consensus on how to rank the top 10 players in this year’s draft class, there’s a good chance that a cornerstone prospect could fall to the Red Wings.
To illustrate this, let’s take a look at the sixth-ranked player from a variety of draft boards:
- Matthew Zator (THW): LD Owen Power
- Andrew Forbes (THW): LD Luke Hughes
- Peter Baracchini (THW): RD Brandt Clarke
- Bob McKenzie (TSN): RD Brandt Clarke
- Corey Pronman (The Athletic): C Chaz Lucius (from ‘2021 NHL Draft prospect ranking: Dylan Guenther rises in Corey Pronman’s updated ranking’ – The Athletic – 3/29/21)
- Scott Wheeler (The Athletic): LD Simon Edvinsson (from ‘Wheeler: Top 64 prospects for the 2021 NHL Draft at midseason’ – The Athletic – 3/3/21)
- Josh Bell (Sporting News): LD Owen Power
- Sam Cosentino (Sportsnet): C Kent Johnson
- Mike Morreale (NHL.com): LD Simon Edvinsson
Of the players listed above, Simon Edvinsson could be a logical pick for the Red Wings at No. 6. This assumes that Owen Power, Luke Hughes, and Matt Beniers are all off the board by the time Yzerman makes his choice.
For starters, Edvinsson plays for Frölunda in the SHL – the same team Red Wings prospects Lucas Raymond, Elmer Söderblom, and Theodor Niederbach skated with this season. Detroit’s scouting staff surely has a big book on the defenseman at this point.
In addition to the familiarity with Edvinsson, the blueliner possesses an intriguing skill set that the Red Wings would certainly value. His mobility and playmaking abilities are among the best in this year’s draft class. Plus, he’s great on the rush and breaks up plays well when defending.
“His skating is among the most technically sound of the 2021 NHL Draft, as he shows good posture when performing crossovers and wastes very little energy with his strides,” noted THW’s Hadi K. when reviewing the 2021 draft class’ best puck-moving defensemen.
If the Red Wings indeed choose Edvinsson sixth overall, he would be an outstanding D partner for Moritz Seider. The two elite defensemen could then anchor Detroit’s blue line for at least a decade – starting as soon as the 2022-23 season.
If Edvinsson is not available, Power, Hughes, William Eklund, Dylan Guenther, and Kent Johnson would be great picks as well. This year’s draft is truly wide open.
On the bright side, the Red Wings didn’t drop in the draft order after some bad bounces the past few years. Instead, they’ll pick sixth and take the best player available on their draft board.
Because this year’s draft class has a handful of very good players at the top—rather than one or two elite players—there’s no telling how the first five picks will play out. Edvinsson could be Detroit’s top option at No. 6 – he could also be taken earlier in the draft. Either way, the Red Wings stand to gain an outstanding prospect to add to their pipeline.