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NHL Draft Guru Likes Red Wings Prospect Pool; Uncertain About 2022 Picks

Byron Bader of HockeyProspecting.com assesses the 2022 Draft of the Detroit Red Wings

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Dylan James, Red Wings prospect
Draft consultant Byron Bader likes Dylan James, but isn't as sold on some of the Red Wings' other 2022 draft picks.

Byron Bader is a big fan of the deep pool of talent within the Detroit Red Wings organization.

“Their big strength is just the depth of the system,” said NHL Draft consultant Bader, founder of HockeyProspecting.com. “They have a ton of players in the system that have sort of NHLer potential, you could call it. And some star potential as well.”

Bader isn’t as certain about the depth of prospects who were Detroit’s selections in the 2022 NHL entry draft.

“In terms of their picks, their first three picks were okay, pretty decent value,” Bader assesses. “Then after that, it seemed like they got just a lot of low probability guys.

“Even a guy like (Marco) Kasper, who they took eighth overall. There were a lot of players at that point that show a lot better in my analytical models. When they take Kasper, there was so many players still there. There was (Matthew) Savoie, (Denton) Mateychuk, (Danila) Yurov, all these guys with super high NHLer probability and also star potential that were sitting there.”

Bader isn’t completely against the players selected by Detroit. In fact, he sees significant positives in forward Dylan James, the first player chosen in the second round by the Red Wings.

“He was good value in terms of the second round,” Bader said. “He’s got pretty decent production. That one I didn’t mind as much and I think he kind of adds to their forwards they have.

“He was a decent pick there for sure.”

Did Red Wings Reach Too Often?

It’s beyond James when Bader begins to start questioning the selection process of the Red Wings.

“Every pick after that, they just kind of took guys that weren’t the highest value I would say,” Bader said. “Especially after the second round, it really dropped off in terms of how I look at the data and how it comes out to me.

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“At each pick, by my work there was a lot more value on the table. It seems like they probably could’ve taken some higher value there and maybe missed out.”

Should Yzerman Get Benefit Of The Doubt?

Of course, the one caveat that must be noted here is that Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman displays a knack for going away from the form charts. And it can’t be debated that following this formula has proven to be working out for him more often than not.

“Yzerman has been really successful at that, especially with (Moritz) Seider going way off the board (at sixth overall in 2019),” Bader readily acknowledges. “The gasp in the crowd when he went and that one turned into a Calder winner, so he does tend to win out on some of these picks, especially when he goes to Europe, that maybe don’t look quite as promising.”

Red Wings Reaching For The Stars

Forward Dmitri Buchelnikov (52nd overall) was rated 47th among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting at midseason, but had dropped right out of the final rankings. Defenseman Anton Johansson (105th) and forward Owen Mehlenbacher (201st) were also unranked.

Among North American skaters, forward Amadeus Lombardi (113th) was slotted into the 94th ranking, while defenseman Tnius Mathurin (137th) was at 126th. Interestingly, Detroit’s final pick, forward Brennan Ali (212th), slid down the list. He was rated 83rd entering the draft.

As for the other European selections, forward Maximilian Kilpinen (129th) was ranked 61st overall.

Based on his track record on draft day, should Yzerman be given a mulligan for not following the crowd and going his own way with his team’s selections? One thing’s for certain – Stevie Y isn’t looking for anyone’s approval of his choices.

“We’ll see down the road if Yzerman hit big with some sort of unknown guys that maybe he took higher than other people would’ve estimated,” Bader said. “I guess you can only go to the well so many times. Maybe one or two of them will work out.

“The data suggests that not a lot of those players do work out.”

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