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Red Wings have long-shot hope of picking No. 1, more likely to draft No. 6-8

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Michigan defenseman Owen Power projects to be theNo. 1 pick to Buffalo in the 2021 NHL draft

The Detroit Red Wings’ third consecutive poor season will only earn them a 7.6% chance of winning the No. 1 pick in tonight’s NHL draft lottery.

Based on the odds, the Red Wings have a 73.8% chance of picking at No. 6 or No. 7. The breakdown: Detroit has a 7.8% shot at picking second, a 30% chance of picking at No. 6 and 43.8% chance of drafting at No. 7. The Red Wings also have a 10.9% probability of finishing eighth.

The lottery will be televised in the U.S. on NBC Sports Network and NHL Network Wednesday starting at 7 p.m.. The expansion Seattle Kraken will enter the lottery the draft at No. 3 and they have a 20.5% of earning the No. 1, which is expected to be University of Michigan defenseman Owen Power.

Three Michigan players could land in Top 10

Michigan centers Matthew Berniers and Kent Johnson are also highly rated. But unless the Red Wings pick first or second, it’s probable that Powers and Berniers will be gone when they select. Johnson (nine goals and 27 points in 26 games this season) could be available.

“(Johnson) has versatility, fast hands, and can control the puck and the play,” said Sportsology draft expert Russ Cohen.

The Red Wings are historically drawn to Swedish talent.  Speedy winger William Eklund projects to land in the No. 6-9 range.

“He has outstanding offensive instincts,” said Kyle Woodlief, chief scout for Redline Report, an independent scouting review.  “Constantly in motion; keeps his feet moving and challenges defenders with energy and desire.  Mid-season Covid bout cost him several weeks, but couldn’t keep him down long.”

Mike Sillinger’s son could end up a Detroit pick

Another potential intriguing pick for the Red Wings is Cole Sillinger,  a 6-foot center from Sioux Falls in the United State Hockey League. He netted 24 goals and 46 points in 31 games for Sioux Falls. Cole’s father, Mike Sillinger, was a Red Wings’ first round pick in 1989.

“Colie is a dual U.S./Canadian citizen was able to leave the WHL for the USHL in late December and wasted little time dominating the league.” Woodlief said.  “Dynamic player is a bull on skates, thick and extremely strong on his feet, able to drive through contact and get to the net at will. He loves to initiate physical contact and has the hands and shot to score at any level.  The puck comes off his blade like a missile.”

Other players projected to go in that No. 6-9 range: Center Mason McTavish (Peterborough, Ontario Hockey League) and defenseman Brandt Clarke, a Canadian who played in Slovakia this season.

Woodlief called McTavish “a powerful horse” who wins every battle. “He’s the safest Top 10 pick in this draft,” Woodlief said. “He’s the best faceoff man we’ve seen coming out of junior (hockey) in the last decade.”

Woodlief said Clarke is the most skilled offensive defenseman available in this draft.

Red Wings’ fall in 2020 triggers change in rules

The draft lottery was changed this season. The Red Wings’ fall from No. 1 to No. 4 last season could be viewed as the final straw that pushed the NHL toward change.  The Red Wings had the NHL’s worst record by far last season and it seem unfair to many that they ended up falling three spots.

This year a team can only fall two spots: the Buffalo Sabres have the worst record and they have a 31.6% chance at picking No. 1 or No. 2 . The Red Wings have the fifth-worst record, but are starting at No. 6 because of the Kraken’s arrival.

Also new this season: teams cannot win the lottery more than twice in a five-year period. Wins before this season don’t count.

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