The first round of the NHL entry draft is to take place on Thursday, July 7 in Montreal. At 8th overall, the Detroit Red Wings will be making their first-round selection. Based on talking to scouts, GMs and other hockey people, as well as studying the mock drafts of top NHL draft experts, Detroit Hockey Now is looking at players who could potentially be Detroit’s selection. Today, we look at USA U-18 center/wing Frank Nazar.
Some players on USA’s Under-18 team registered more goals and others posted more assists, but Frank Nazar II did lead his team in one unofficial category.
“In the two years, he’s probably the guy who turned the most heads,” said John Vanbiesbrouck, USA Hockey’s Director of Hockey Operations.
Nazar offers a bit of magic, an extra layer of fireworks, and a “wow” factor that always caught scouts’ attention
“He didn’t come in with a lot of acclaim but he’s a guy who proves he’s gifted beyond any player,” Vanbiesbrouck said. “He has a lot of compete in him. Wins a lot of races. He gets a lot of breakaways.”
Frank Nazar was introduced to hockey by his father, Frank, who used to own a parking garage in downtown Detroit where people going to @DetroitRedWings games would park. That was the start of the @USAHockeyNTDP forward's Red Wings fandom. #NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/gxAwddy9te
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 2, 2022
Nazar netted 28 goals and blended in 42 assists for 70 points in 56 games. That left him third on the team in points.
“I could see him going in the top 10 in the draft,” Vanbiesbrouck said. “How many right-shot centers are available in this draft? They are hard to come by.”
Why Might The Red Wings Select Nazar?
Nazar is a Michigan native. He’s one of the most gifted players available in the draft. Offensively, he makes plays that can’t be taught. His sense of anticipation is uncanny.
“I see a lot of Michael Peca in him,” Vanbiesbrouck said. “That’s saying something. I’ve always liked the Michael Peca type player. The leader. Key guy. Does anything you wanted him to.”
Peca played 864 NHL games and could match-up with the NHL’s best.
Nazar is also headed to the University of Michigan. That’s where Detroit captain Dylan Larkin went and that worked out well for the Red Wings.
"Just using my high compete and my skills to help that team win each night… that's something I'm going to try to bring to whatever team drafts me."
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) July 5, 2022
Why Won’t The Red Wings Select Nazar?
Even if Nazar is ranked No. 8 on Detroit’s draft rankings, it seems plausible that a player ahead of Nazar will also be available when Detroit picks.
Jonathan Lekkerimaki was unbelievable at the U-18 World tournament and he could be available at No. 8. Big forward Cutter Gauthier might be available. Nothing has leaked out of the Detroit camp. However, it seems like the Red Wings would be interested in center Marco Kasper.
GM Steve Yzerman said he will make the first-round pick on the basis of ability and not positional need. But it is not a secret that the Red Wings are looking to add some bigger skilled forwards. Nazar is 5-foot-10, 175 pounds.