The Detroit Red Wings’ late-season struggles haven’t done much for team and fan morale. But it could significantly improve their draft status for the 2022 draft.
After losing 12 of their last 15 games, the Red Wings are now ninth in the NHL draft order. The Buffalo Sabres did the Red Wings a favor Monday night by beating Chicago, 6-5. The Sabres and Blackhawks are both only two points behind the Red Wings in the standings.
What that means is the Detroit Red Wings are only a loss, plus one win by Sabres and the Blackhawks, from picking seventh in the 2022 draft in Montreal on July 7-8. The Blackhawks and Sabres have both played one more game than the Red Wings.
If you are a Red Wings’ fan now turning your attention to the draft, the Red Wings are playing more poorly than any other team near the bottom. Detroit are 2-6-2 in its last 10. Buffalo is 6-2-2 and Chicago is 4-4-2.
This, of course, does not take into account that the Red Wings will participate in the lottery for the top two spots. Based on finishing with the No. 9 pick, according to tankathon, the Red Wings would have a 5.4% chance of winning the No. 1 pick. They would have a 5.8% chance of winning the second pick. They would have a 58.6% chance of staying where they are, and a 27.6% of falling one spot. The Red Wings have a 2.7% chance of falling two spots through the lottery.
If the Detroit Red Wings end up picking No. 7 to No. 9, there will be quality players available. Here is an early look at some possibilities:
David Jiricek, Defenseman, 6-3, PLZEN (Czech), 6-3, 195
He’s the best defenseman in the draft, but he had knee surgery earlier this season. The consensus seems to be that he will land somewhere around No. 7 or No. 8. The Red Wings need young forwards more than young defensemen. But they won’t pass on Jiricek if they think he’s the best player available. Jiricek is a strong two-way defender who can defend with physical force and join the rush.
Jimmy Snuggerud, Right Wing, U.S. NTDP, 6-2, 190
Son of former NHL player Dave Snuggerud. Jimmy is a smart player who has 25 points in 24 USHL games this season. Owns a quick shot release, not timid about driving to the net. Heading to the University of Minnesota.
Cutter Gauthier, Left Wing, U.S. NTDP, 6-3, 190
Was born in Sweden when his father Sean was playing goalie in the Swedish League. Cutter spent some of his youth playing hockey in Michigan for the Compuware and Honeybaked programs. Cutter is a physical player, a strong skater, with scoring ability. TSN’s Craig Button has him ranked No. 4 overall. NHL’s Central Scouting has him No. 6 among North American skaters. Has played some center in the NTDP program.
Cutter Gauthier is a bad, bad man 🦹
— USA Hockey’s NTDP (@USAHockeyNTDP) March 12, 2022
Brad Lambert, Center, Pelicans (Finland), 6-0, 175
One of the fastest players in the draft. His mom is Finnish and his father is former Western Hockey League player Ross Lambert. His uncle is Lane Lambert who was one of Steve Yzerman’s buddies when they played together on the Red Wings. Lane Lambert is now a highly respected assistant coach for the New York Islanders. Brad Lambert has top line skill. Scouts think he will squeeze into the top 10.
Jonathan Lekkerimaki, Right Wing, Djurgarden (Sweden) Jr. , 5-10, 175
This Swedish youngster can shoot the puck. Owns a rocket wrist shot. Dominating at the Swedish Junior level. Scored 20 goals and registered 35 points in 26 games for his junior team. Could be in play for the Red Wings if they end up in the No. 9 or No. 10 range.
Top-end 2022 draft prospect Jonathan Lekkerimaki with the snipe… https://t.co/u9qV0t7y3l
— Ryan Kennedy (@THNRyanKennedy) February 9, 2022
Conor Geekie, Center, Winnipeg (WHL), 6-3, 200
NHL Central Scouting ranks him fourth among North American Skaters. But TSN’s Bob McKenzie ranks him 10th. The Red Wings need centers on their prospect list. This playmaking center has 62 points in 56 games this season. He is the brother of Seattle Kraken player Morgan Geekie. Not everyone is sold on Geekie. The question is whether he skates well enough for the NHL>