Some years, the Detroit Red Wings hit it out of the park on draft day. In 1983, they selected Steve Yzerman. In 1971, it was Marcel Dionne.
Other years, they look as though they laid off their entire scouting staff. Consider 1992 (Curtis Bowen) and 1988 (Kory Kocur), first-round picks who never played an NHL game.
Over the years, the Red Wings have made their share of good, bad and indifferent draft choices. And then there’s been some selections which are best described as unique. Like these picks:
The Red Wings Were The First NHL Team To Draft Someone Who Played For Them
The NHL Draft was born on June 5, 1963. Detroit picked second overall and selected St. Michael’s Buzzers right-winger Peter Mahovlich.
— Classic Hockey Co. (@ClassicHockeyCo) July 2, 2019
On December 28, 1965, Mahovlich made his NHL debut at Boston Garden. He drew an assist on the only goal during Detroit’s 1-0 victory. Mahovlich became the first NHL draft choice to play in the league.
The Red Wings Were The First NHL Team To Trade A Draft Pick
Making a run at the Stanley Cup during the 1965-66 season, Detroit GM Sid Abel ended up engineering a blockbuster deal with the Boston Bruins. On February 16, 1966, Abel dealt defenseman Gary Doak and forwards Bill Lesuk and Ron Murphy, along with future considerations, to the Bruins for defenseman Leo Boivin and forward Dean Prentice.
The late Steve Atkinson was born on this date in 1948. The expansion-era Sabre combined a quick shot with stellar defensive play. pic.twitter.com/4022YeAjWU
— O-Pee-Chee Stars (@opeecheestars) October 17, 2017
The future considerations turned out to be forward Steve Atkinson, Detroit’s first pick in the 1966 NHL Draft. Atkinson became the first NHL draft pick to be traded.
The Red Wings Were The First NHL Team To Draft An NCAA Player
With the 17th overall pick of the 1967 NHL Draft, Detroit selected Michigan Tech forward Al Karlander. He was the first NCAA player chosen in an NHL Draft.
Did you know? Husky Al Karlander, taken by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2nd round of the 1967 amateur draft, was the first US college hockey player selected in an NHL draft. #TriviaTuesday #mtuhky #hockeyhttps://t.co/gWkfNV2luf
— Michigan Tech (@michigantech) May 14, 2019
Karlander played four season with the Wings, posting back-to-back 15-goal seasons in 1970-71 and 1971-72.
The Red Wings Drafted Two Of Slap Shot’s Hanson Brothers
Detroit was putting on the foil big-time during the 1975 NHL Draft. With the 131st pick, their choice was Marquette Iron Rangers forward Steve Carlson. At the 176th selection, the Wings chose St. Paul Vulcans defenseman Dave Hanson.
On December 6, 1978, the @LAKings acquired center Steve Carlson from the Detroit Red Wings for Steve Short. Carlson scored 9 goals and 21 points in 59 games with the #LAKings, and also made his Hollywood debut in 1977, starring as one of the @Hanson_Brothers in "Slap Shot." pic.twitter.com/Q9kAqhXOvh
— The Kingstorian (@Kingstorian) December 6, 2019
Hockey fans who are also film buffs will instantly identify them as two-thirds of the carousing Hanson Brothers from the 1977 cult classic Slap Shot. Both would play in the NHL. Hanson skated in 11 games with the Red Wings during the 1978-79 season.
The Red Wings Drafted Two Current NHL Referees
The Wings have called out their share of future whistle blowers on draft day. Two current NHL officials were selected by Detroit during the NHL entry draft.
With the 148th choice of the 1986 Draft, Detroit chose Oshawa Generals defenseman Dean Morton. Morton played one game for the Wings in 1989-90 and scored a goal. After his pro career ended in 1993, he turned to officiating and made the NHL in 2000. Morton, 53, has worked the whistle in over 900 NHL games.
WES McCAULEY 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/dG4l6UkFKI
— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) January 28, 2018
With the 150th choice of the 1990 NHL entry draft, Detroit selected Michigan State defenseman Wes McAuley. After a four-season pro career, McAuley, the son of former NHL referee John McAuley, opted to follow his father’s footsteps.
McAuley became an NHL referee in 2001. He’s officiated over 1,000 NHL games, including eight Stanley Cup finals.