Red Wings of Tomorrow is assessing every prospect in the Detroit Red Wings system and what they are projecting to be in the future. We’ll be looking at the strengths and weaknesses of their game, as well as what the future holds for them as they advance through the Detroit organization. Today, we look at left wing Dylan James
Position: Left Wing
How Acquired: 40th overall pick (second round) in the 2022 NHL Draft
2021-22 Stats: (GP-G-A-Pts) 62-28-33-61 (for Sioux City Musketeers, USHL)
Contract Status: Unsigned
Anticipated 2022-23 Team: North Dakota (NCHC)
United States Hockey Rookie of Year. Picked in the second round by the Detroit Red Wings. Named as a late addition to the Canadian National Junior Team.
Red Line Report Chief Scout Kyle Woodlief said James was the “fastest riser on our list in the season’s second half.”
Calgary native James will take plenty of momentum into North Dakota next season.
This is what Red Line Report’s assessment of Dylan James’ season: “Came on like gangbusters down the stretch. One of the keys to the Sioux’s shocking run to the championship…Second half offensive production was off the chart.”
Red Wings Draft USHL 2022 Rookie of the Year Dylan James https://t.co/mAre02RzmC
— Kevin Allen (@ByKevinAllen) July 8, 2022
Red Line Report is into its third decade of evaluating players and the independent scouting review sees James as a “big-game” performer, similar in style to Ondrej Palat.” It’s interesting to note that Yzerman was Tampa Bay’s GM when the team drafted Palat.
He’s a high energy player who can help a team in a variety of ways. He is first and foremost a creative player. In the playoffs, James scored five goals and put up eight points in 10 games.
Estimated Time of Arrival in Detroit
Dylan James already brings a professional approach to his game. He views himself as a two-way forward.
“I like to take pride in my defense,” James said. “My offense comes from that. I’m usually on the defensive side of the puck, whenever I can be. My speed is my best asset. I use it to forecheck and limit the D’s time and space. I love doing that.”
He already understands the complexity of making an NHL roster.
“Obviously,” he said, “when you get drafted it’s pretty exciting moment but you also gotta realize there’s a lot of people who got drafted three years before you and they’re also trying to make the team, too,” he said.
That level of maturity plays well with NHL decision makers. Half of the battle is understanding what needs to be accomplished to get there. James seems to know where he needs to go.
The Red Wings will know more after his first season at North Dakota. That’s a quality program. He will have earn his ice time and will compete against good teams. Presumably, he will play multiple seasons there.
But in the back of your mind, you have to wonder whether it’s possible his game will grow exponentially like it did this season.