When he was a youngster, Carter Mazur learned the game from a former NHLer. Former Detroit Red Wings center Kris Draper was his coach with the Little Caesars youth hockey program operated by the Ilitch family, owners of the Red Wings.
Saturday, Draper, in his current role as director of amateur scouting for the Wings, welcomed Mazur into the fold. The Wings selected the left-winger from Jackson, Michigan with the 70th pick of the NHL entry draft.
“It’s honestly crazy that it comes full circle in a way,” Mazur said. “It’s just crazy that he was my coach and now he’s the one drafting me, it’s just surreal.
Dreams come true. Read this from @Carter_Mazur, age 8. Now the Michigan native is the newest @DetroitRedWings @NHL Draft pick. (Photo courtesy: Mazur Family.) @NHLNetwork pic.twitter.com/PDyvtfpamT
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 24, 2021
“I can’t really put it into words but it’s awesome that I’m a part of what he’s trying to build in Detroit.”
Mark Seidel, director of the North American Independent Central Scouting Bureau, views Mazur has a high-character person who projects as a bottom-six forward at the NHL level. Mazur was captain of Tri-City (USHL) last season.
“He went through last year’s draft without being selected,”Seidel said. “I don’t think he ever scores a lot but the Wings must think he can become a bottom-six guy.”
Mazur’s own scouting report would suggest that he’s a 200-foot player. “I’m better when I’m playing physical and heavy on players, as well as when I’m attacking the net and scoring down low,” Mazur said.
Off To Denver
He’ll be heading to Denver University in the fall. The Wings are assembling quite the prospect pipeline in the Colorado Avalanche’s backyard. Mazur will be joining defensemen Antti Tuomisto (35-2019) and Shai Buium (36-2021) on the roster of the Pioneers.
The Wings made their third trade of the draft during the fourth round. This time, though, they moved down the board by virtue of the deal. Detroit sent pick 102 to the Vegas Golden Knights for picks 114 and 155.
With the 114th pick, they tabbed a familiar name in USNTDP U18 center/left wing Red Savage, the son of Brian Savage, a five-time 20-goal scorer during his NHL career.
“It’s pretty nice to have all the connections that my dad has,” Savage said. “He’s a pretty people-pleasing guy and has a lot of friends around the whole hockey scene. We’re pretty good friends with the Drapers and a lot of people connected to the Red Wings.
We don't know what's better, Red Savage's name, or the Red Wings bucket hat he's rocking during his first presser 🔥
— BarDown (@BarDown) July 24, 2021
“I’m really excited to be drafted by this organization, excited to hopeful be able to put on the Red Wings jersey one day.”
Dan Stewart of Draft Prospects Hockey views Savage as a player capable of slotting in anywhere up and down the four forward lines. “He’s intelligent, driven, hard-working, sticking his nose in the action, gritty, excellent skater, quick first step, uses his body and quickness to battle, drives the net and knows what to do once he gets there,” Stewart said. “He has a dangerous shot in tight, hunts the puck and is highly effective on the forecheck. Just a strong two-way competitor.”
At 134rd overall, the Wings selected Liam Dower Nilsson, a center from Sweden’s Vastra Frolunda juniors. “He’s very smart defensively and can shut down the other teams top players,” Seidel said.
Nilsson didn’t debate his scouting report.
“I would say that I’m a competitive center who loves to win and hates to lose,” Nilsson said. “My strong area of the game is in the offensive zone, around the net, being sneaky with passes and also with my shot.
“I’m a leader on the ice and off the ice, too. I love to (make) my teammates better and win games.”
Ten picks afer Nilsson the Wings chose Charlottetown (QMJHL) defenseman Oscar Plandowski. He’s the son of Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Darryl Plandowski. The elder Plandowski worked with Wings GM Steve Yzerman in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.
Detroit closed out its draft list by tabbing Windsor (OHL) left wing Pasquale Zito. Like many Ontario players, Zito went without playing last season when the OHL was unable to launch its campaign due to COVID-19.