Red Wings Draft Lottery Payout: Jackpot or Jack Squat

When it comes to the 2018 NHL Draft, the Detroit Red Wings need to be more prepared than a doomsday bunker-dweller up to their nose in canned goods. After all, this is the most important draft in a generation. The Red Wings will pick four times in the first 36 selections, including a lottery pick where they’ll pick no lower than eighth.

That top-eight pick will have a legitimate shot to play with the Red Wings next season as the team rebuilds. Detroit’s likeliest approach would be to take the best available player since their depth up front and on defense are in equal need of help. Either way, having a true gamebreaker on the roster will do wonders for the fading franchise.

With the draft lottery set to take place in just over a week, let’s have some fun with Detroit’s all-important first pick.

Mock Draft Methodology

Using’s simulator, I’ll determine the draft order and reveal Detroit’s first draft slot. Then, I’ll conduct a mock draft up to the Red Wings’ pick to show which players will be off the board by the time Detroit makes their selection. Finally, Detroit’s pick will be announced with analysis on that player.

But wait! There’s more!

Since the lottery is, well, a lottery, I’ll run this exercise five times to show how things can change drastically with slight alterations to draft order. Having the fifth-best odds to receive the first-overall pick is helpful, but as we’ve seen with the Vegas Golden Knights’ success this season, odds don’t matter much in the end.

Red Wings Mock Draft #1

With the first simulation, the Red Wings dropped to sixth-overall thanks to a six-spot jump by the New York Rangers.

Mock Draft #1 Selections

  1. Buffalo – Rasmus Dahlin
  2. New York – Andrei Svechnikov
  3. Arizona – Filip Zadina
  4. Ottawa – Adam Boqvist
  5. Montreal – Brady Tkachuk
  6. Detroit – Quinn Hughes


Would anyone be surprised if Ken Holland brought in another player with Michigan connections? Born in Florida, Quinn Hughes is a dynamic, offensive defenseman who just completed his freshman season at the University of Michigan. There, Hughes utilized his top-notch vision and excellent playmaking abilities to control games as one of the best players on the ice, including Michigan’s appearance in the NCAA Championship Game.

Quinn Hughes University of Michigan
Quinn Hughes would be a solid draft pick for the Detroit Red Wings. (University of Michigan Photography)

As a 17-year-old freshman, Hughes led Wolverines defensemen with 29 points in 37 games – not far off from Zach Werenski’s pace just two years prior. With Filip Hronek, Joe Hicketts, and Vili Saarijarvi already in the pipeline, another smaller defenseman may not be the best choice, but Hughes’ skill set is one that just cannot be passed up at Detroit’s draft spot. Besides, he handled himself well against larger players in his own end and was constantly able to move the puck forward.

Red Wings Mock Draft #2

Much better! The second draft order simulation gave Detroit the first-overall selection in the 2018 NHL Draft. There’s no detailed analysis needed here – Rasmus Dahlin will be chosen first, regardless of who picks. With Dahlin, the Red Wings would have a cornerstone defenseman capable of playing all situations and someone who’s already drawn comparisons to Erik Karlsson. The young, Swedish defenseman would likely start next year with the Red Wings and blossom into a superstar by season’s end.

Red Wings Mock Draft #3

The only worse scenario than the third mock draft would be if three teams below the Red Wings vaulted into the top three draft slots. Both New York teams have six percent odds of landing the first-overall selection, with the Islanders’ two lottery picks combining for that percentage.

Picking seventh would still give the Red Wings a quality player, with a few forwards and defensemen to choose from.

Mock Draft #3 Selections

  1. New York R. – Rasmus Dahlin
  2. New York I. – Andrei Svechnikov
  3. Montreal – Filip Zadina
  4. Buffalo – Brady Tkachuk
  5. Ottawa – Adam Boqvist
  6. Arizona – Quinn Hughes
  7. Detroit – Noah Dobson


With the seventh-overall selection, the Red Wings would have a few options. Evan Bouchard, Noah Dobson, and Oliver Wahlstrom would all be quality picks who could add value right away. Dobson, though, would be the best choice here.

Noah Dobson Acadie-Bathurst Titan
Acadie-Bathurst Titan defenseman Noah Dobson (Shawn Davidson/QMJHL)

The Canadian defenseman is a quality, all-around blueliner capable of playing all situations at the NHL level. He has great fundamentals and is a rock defensively. His offense is up to par as well, as evidenced by his 69 points in 67 OHL games last season. Elite Prospects’ Curtis Joe had this to say about his offensive abilities:

Offensively, he utilizes his keen sense of awareness to be in the right spot at the right time, every time. Soft hands and a deadly shot accentuate his ability to get creative, on occasion.

Red Wings Mock Draft #4

With the fourth simulation, the top five draft slots did not change at all, meaning Detroit would pick fifth.

Mock Draft #4 Selections

  1. Buffalo – Rasmus Dahlin
  2. Ottawa – Andrei Svechnikov
  3. Arizona – Filip Zadina
  4. Montreal – Brady Tkachuk
  5. Detroit – Adam Boqvist


He may not be Dahlin, but Adam Boqvist is a great consolation prize for teams seeking a top defenseman in the draft. The other Swedish defenseman is also an offensive dynamo and fluid skater. Boqvist’s strong offensive instincts allowed him to dominate Sweden’s under-20 league this past season with 14 goals and 24 points in 25 games.

Adam Boqvist, Sweden U18
Potential Detroit Red Wings draft pick Adam Boqvist. (Photo courtesy Ján Súkup)

Like Hughes and Dahlin, Boqvist has the vision, speed, and passing skills to dictate play and constantly serve as a threat on the ice. In addition, the blueliner has the skill set to effectively quarterback Detroit’s power play with his right-handed shot and excellent playmaking.

Red Wings Mock Draft #5

Drafting third is not technically hitting the jackpot, but the Red Wings would be quite fortunate if the draft lottery ping pong balls played out this way – even if rival Chicago picks right before them.

Mock Draft #5 Selections

  1. Buffalo – Rasmus Dahlin
  2. Chicago – Andrei Svechnikov
  3. Detroit – Filip Zadina


While a defenseman would be nice, Filip Zadina’s game-breaking ability just cannot be passed up at No. 3. This past season, the Czech winger led the Halifax Mooseheads with 44 goals in just 57 games, plus another five goals and 12 points in nine postseason games. In addition, Zadina dominated in his second World Junior Championships this past December with seven goals and eight points in seven games for the Czechs.

Filip Zadina Halifax Mooseheads
Filip Zadina of the Halifax Mooseheads (courtesy

As you can see, Zadina’s offensive talents are off the charts. He has good size, making him a threat in all facets of the attack, plus explosive skating to boot. Some even consider Zadina to be a better forward prospect than Andrei Svechnikov – brother of Detroit’s Evgeny Svechnikov. Either way, Detroit would be lucky to receive the third-overall pick and be able to choose one of Svechnikov or Zadina.

Related: 3 Potential Red Wings Draft Strategies

Final Word

As predicted, this exercise showed the wide range of scenarios that could happen at the draft. Once the lottery has been completed and the Red Wings know where they’ll pick, they can start planning all contingencies from knowing the draft order. At that point, they’ll consider whether trading up, trading back, or standing pat would make the most sense for the rebuilding franchise.