The last few seasons for the Detroit Red Wings have been excellent in terms of drafting success. They’ve had numerous picks and capitalized on the increase of elite skill coming through the draft. Since 2016, the Red Wings have stockpiled prospects that have been steadily making their way through the pipeline and showing promising growth along the way.
Among those recent selections, there are three defensemen that have shown exiting progression during their developmental time. Many of the Red Wings’ prospects are showing encouraging signs of growth and this is by no means an exhaustive list. However, these three could be suiting up for Detroit in the very near future.
Tuomisto’s ability to move the puck is a huge bonus to his overall skillset. Early on in scouting, Detroit wasn’t blown away by the staggering 6-foot-4 defenseman, but as the season moved along, they could see dramatic signs of progression and production. He had 35 points in just 45 games in 2018-19 are no joke for a blueliner. He’s got an edge that the Red Wings desperately need. He’s a very efficient skater but has a tenacity that will fit well in a system trying to redefine itself.
He proved within a very short period of time that he had the ability to adapt to the demands placed on him at a higher level. His numbers speak for themselves, but when it comes to being one of Detroit’s best defensive prospects, its because he has the ability to produce while still improving at an elite level. The Red Wings have a lot of long-term projects, but Tuomisto is not one of them. He has shown patience which, to be honest, he’s going to need a lot of with Detroit.
To this day, I don’t understand why so many were thrown off when Steve Yzerman selected Moritz Seider in 2019. Fast forward to the present day, and pretty much everyone is hopping on the Seider bandwagon — which is understandable.
Seider is one of my favorite Detroit defensive prospects. He’s one of the funniest guys to be around but knows how to hone in his focus as soon as he hits the ice — it’s like a switch being flipped. He’s got obvious talent, poise, and took no time at all to adjust to North American play. His rookie season was spent with the Grand Rapids Griffins, and he quickly became the top-line defenseman in virtually all situations. He’s very strong and intentional.
He’s got a great attitude, which is the biggest reason he’s one of the top in my opinion. He approaches the game with maturity, but when a mistake his made he works tirelessly to fix it. He takes his role seriously and that will fast track him to the NHL.
McIsaac has had a rough go since getting drafted in 2018. He underwent an offseason shoulder surgery that delayed his 2019-20 start until November. Since then, he’s been steadily getting healthy again and making his way through the QMJHL system. After playing almost three full seasons with the Halifax Mooseheads, McIsaac was sent to the Moncton Wildcats to finish out his junior career and will remain for 2020-21.
McIsaac isn’t committed to any university as of now, so the chance that Detroit will have him assigned to Grand Rapids is pretty high following 2020-21. He’s not as much of a two-way player as Seider and Tuomisto, but he knows his role. He isn’t afraid of taking shots and usually puts up good points, but he likes to play a calm and collected game, which is his biggest asset. Heading into a professional career to a team in the middle of a massive overhaul, he’ll need to be calm and patient, which he’s proven capable of.
McIsaac is a little longer term than Seider and Tuomisto, but he has a keen understanding of his game. He’s got a drive to learn and compete for his place on the team that puts him higher on my list than other defensive prospects. It’s not to say the others don’t — he just possess a more consistent urgency.
Detroit’s Defensive Future
Detroit has a pretty good batch of defensemen who have taken the next step already like Filip Hronek and Gustav Lindstrom. Seider, Tuomisto, and McIsaac are proving to fit right in with them, which is bringing to better light the defensive core Detroit is trying to create. Through the last few drafts, the Red Wings have shown a general direction of size, offensive edge, and poise. As their development progresses, these attributes will ideally be magnified and push them further along on the NHL track.
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The Red Wings have drafted well the last three seasons, and of course, there’s many vying for a spot with notable potential. This coming season, coming back from an odd stoppage in play, I believe we’ll see refining among the prospects. I fully expect Seider, Tuomisto, and McIsaac to help push the new standard of defensemen for the Detroit Red Wings.
I am a Detroit Red Wings prospect journalist for Access Hockey MI covering the Grand Rapids Griffins and Toledo Walleye prospect development. Draft analyst for USHL hockey with the Muskegon Lumberjacks.