What’s The Grind Line? Apart from the once-famous line of Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, and either Joe Kocur or Darren McCarty, The Grind Line is also The Hockey Writers’ weekly column about the Detroit Red Wings. Rachel Anderson and Tony Wolak are the muckers who makeup THW’s forechecking unit and sound off on Red Wings topics.
Red Wings fans just need to make it through the work week. On Friday, general manager Steve Yzerman will step to the podium and select a franchise cornerstone player at the 2019 NHL Draft.
Way back in April when Ken Holland was still the general manager, The Hockey Writers’ Red Wings coverage team shared our preferred picks for the sixth-overall selection. Now, with the combine, player interviews, and scouting meetings in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to revisit Detroit’s optimal choice at No. 6 – arguably one of the hardest draft slots to peg a prospect to this year.
Related: Red Wings’ 2019 Prospect Update
Which player do you think the Red Wings will select? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Tony Wolak: Trevor Zegras
Previously, I was hoping Alex Turcotte would slide to the Red Wings at No. 6, but that’s looking unlikely at this point. Nonetheless, Trevor Zegras is an excellent consolation prize if Detroit prefers to take a forward in the first round.
Zegras has No. 1 center written all over him and boasts outstanding vision, passing skills, and hockey IQ – he’s one of the best passers in the entire draft. Pairing the pivot with Filip Zadina would be deadly, especially on the power play.
“The Draft Analyst” Steve Kournianos is particularly high on Zegras, suggesting in his latest mock that the center could even be snapped up by Los Angeles with fifth-overall pick.
Zegras is a phenomenal playmaker with strong balance and the desire to make every shift count. He spent parts of the season playing alongside [Jack] Hughes, and at times it was Zegras who drove possession.
If that skill set doesn’t make your heart beat faster, I suggest you check yourself into the nearest hospital.
Related: NHL Draft Guide | 2019 Edition
Rachel Anderson: Trevor Zegras
Though my previous selection of Egor Afanasyev still remains pretty high on my wish list, Zegras has moved to the top. He’s got a fantastic hockey mind and has a proven understanding of the offensive game.
From Yzerman’s recent press conference, he’s going to be drafting the highest skilled player that fits the team model. He wants a highly competitive player that will be willing to fight for their place on the roster, and Zegras fits that model.
He will need a few seasons of development, but he has a very strong foundation in terms of understanding the game and execution. Though development of the team as a whole will take time, adding a piece like Zegras will boost their prospect pipeline’s offensive edge. He will help encourage the competitive atmosphere that Yzerman is looking to create.
Insights from Around The Hockey Writers
Sometimes you can get too close to a decision and it’s helpful to bring in outside expertise. We asked our fellow THW team members which player they thought the Red Wings should draft sixth-overall. Here’s their input:
- Mark Scheig: Trevor Zegras. “His creativity is a perfect fit for what Detroit is looking for.”
- Dayton Reimer: Dylan Cozens. “Complete package player, and he’s got great size.”
- Larry Fisher: Vasili Podkolzin. “Podkolzin will be worth the wait and Yzerman has time on his side in taking the GM reins there with a rebuild in mind.”
- Lauren Burg: Vasili Podkolzin.