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Red Wings Draper Admits Second Day Of NHL Draft Bit Of A Crap Shoot

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Detroit Red Wings director of amateur scouting Kris Draper thinks Day 2 of the NHL entry draft will bring some surprises

The people who earn a living assessing talent for NHL teams admit that this season is proving to be unique in terms of doing their job and that means it’s entirely possibly that some future NHL stars might slip through the cracks into the later rounds of the NHL entry draft.

That’s exactly what may happen in some instances,” Detroit Red Wings director of amateur scoring Kris Draper said. 

COVID-19 wiped out the entire OHL season. The virus shortened the WHL season and impacted both the NCAA and QMJHL campaigns. Several young prospects headed to Europe just to get a chance to get some action on the ice.

Others didn’t play at all this season, including Wyatt Johnston, who was selected 23rd overall in the first round of the Dallas Stars.

In today’s game, no stone goes unturned in the pursuit of hockey talent. The days of someone like Pavel Datsyuk slipping to 171st overall on draft day are long gone. Well, they were until COVID-19 entered the discussion.

Harder to Gauge Talent

As the draft resumes with Round 2 at 11am ET on Saturday, Draper acknowledged that picking players into the later rounds will be somewhat more of a challenge this year.

“For the most part, we’ve seen the majority of the players but there’s certainly some players that we have to rely on our area scouts and the belief that they have in the prospects on some of the names that are going to be called,” Draper said. “We have a body of work on them for sure. Is it as much as a normal draft? Absolutely not.

“Especially some of the Ontario players. They didn’t play nearly as much. Even going to the Western Hockey League, some only played 25 games.”

Scouts will be required in some instances to rely upon reports filed on players from their underage seasons. Draper admitted that many of those players have undergone significant physical changes over the past year.

“Obviously on some of them you have to go back on video to watch how they played last year,” Draper said. “I’ve got to be honest. There’s some prospects we talked to that didn’t play this year that put on anywhere from 16 to 22 to 23 pounds. All they’ve done is train. They’ve been home, they’re eating properly, they’re getting to the gym.

“It’s intriguing when you start talking to these prospects. You see how they were in their underage year as 16-year-old players. Now all of a sudden they’re 18, putting on that much weight and getting that much stronger.”

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