As it goes, no one really ever knows what Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman will do. In the end, he addressed one of the organization’s biggest needs by taking a center.
The Red Wings took Marco Kasper from Rögle BK of the Swedish Hockey League with the eighth overall pick of the 2022 NHL Draft. During the 2021-22 season, Kasper had 11 points (7-4) in 46 games. He will also play for Austria in the 2022 World Junior Championships.
Kasper indicated that he wasn’t sure if the Red Wings would come calling.
“I think I had a good meeting with them but I didn’t think about that it’s going to be Detroit,” Kasper said. “I didn’t know who it’s going to be. I think it’s really hard to know who team it’s going to be, so I’m just really honored to be part of the Red Wings
The young forward also said he prefers to play at center, which of course goes hand in hand with the Red Wings need. But the major appeal is that Kasper spent time in a professional league. The biggest challenge of playing in the SHL?
“Just playing against men,” Kasper said. “It was tough every game to just really be proficient. Just trying to do the best every game.”
His time with Rögle BK makes Kasper feel more prepared mentally and physically for the next step.
“I like how you have to come every day like ready to play,” Kasper said. “I think against better competition, you have to be in a higher level and I think that that helps all the time.”
Before Detroit even had a chance to choose, the draft was already abuzz about longtime first pick consensus Shane Wright falling to Seattle at number four. Beyond that, Montreal shocked when they made two deals to flip their recently acquired 13th overall pick to Chicago for Kirby Dach.
Yzerman mentioned during his draft press conference on Tuesday that he truly couldn’t worry about what other teams were planning.
“I only know what we’re thinking,” Yzerman said. “I don’t know what other teams are thinking, but we feel pretty good about where we are and we think we’re going to get a good prospect that will help us.”
That prospect is Kasper.
Red Wings Address a Major Need
The big question heading into the draft was the same one always asked: Might Yzerman shock everyone again? With the Kasper pick, it’s not really a surprise as he went back to Sweden, a league that he knows well and has picked from now for the third consecutive year with his first round pick.
MARCO! 👏 pic.twitter.com/hU5gcR9kPZ
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) July 8, 2022
DHN’s Bob Duff wrote about Kasper’s high hockey IQ and how his skating, and athleticism have drawn “high praise.” Interestingly, and similar to years past, Duff notes that many analysts had Kasper at eight as a reach.
The same was said of course about Moritz Seider and everyone knows how that turned out. Kasper fills out a major need for the Red Wings and even with ESPN’s Emily Kaplan following the selection, Yzerman mentioned their hope of him being a top six forward.
“He probably could play all three forward positions, but we drafted him as a centerman,” Yzerman said during the ESPN interview. “We think he has underrated skill and he has thenability to play in our top-six one day. I can’t tell you if it’s next
year or the year after, but we have high hopes for him. We’re very excited with the pick.”
Yzerman didn’t shock like others during the early picks of the draft. But the Detroit Red Wings addressed a major need at center.