Some general managers and draft experts have called the 2023 NHL draft one of the deepest in recent years. But that’s not Steve Yzerman style.
He doesn’t jump on bandwagons or gush about drafts. But if you listen carefully, he is clear when he sees a good opportunity to help his rebuilding efforts. This draft is one of those opportunities.
“At least in the first round,” Yzerman said, “we’re very optimistic and we’re excited about the options we think we’ll have at that point.”
Going into the May 8 NHL draft lottery, the Red Wings own the No. 9 pick and also the New York Islanders’ No. 17 pick. Yzerman received the Islanders’ pick from the Canucks in the deal that sent defenseman Filip Hronek to Vancouver. The Canucks acquired the pick from the Islanders in the Bo Horvat swap. Should the Islanders reach the conference final in these playoffs, the pick would be the last four picks in the first round. The Islanders currently trail 3-2 in the best-of-seven series against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Red Wings can move up from the No. 9 pick if they win the lottery. They have a five percent chance of winning the No. 1 pick where they would take dynamic scorer Connor Bedard. The Red Wings have a 5.2% shot of winning the lottery for the No. 2 pick. The projected No. 2 pick is University of Michigan forward Adam Fantilli who won the Hobey Baker Trophy this season as college hockey’s top player. He scored 30 goals in 36 games.
The Athletic: 100 goals. That's how many Connor Bedard scored in his draft year, an incredible – almost incomprehensible – feat. Our Scott Wheeler @scottcwheeler digs into the data of how Bedard buried 100.https://t.co/yWZLBFJYXi pic.twitter.com/uKPIFnlRY7
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) April 19, 2023
“Maybe we get some luck in the lottery, maybe not,” Yzerman said. “But regardless we have ideas who we’re gonna pick if we stay close to where we’re at today.”
Odds Favor Detroit Drafting 9th
The odds are with the Red Wings staying right where they are. According to tankathon.com, the Red Wings have a 64.4% chance of picking ninth and a 23.5% of picking 10th with their own pick. There’s a 1.7% chance of pick at No. 11 if two non-playoff teams ahead of them in the standings win the two lotteries. (Teams can only move up 10 spots. So only bottom 11 can end up at No. 1).
Here is a quick look at some of the players ranked near the No. 9 pick, or have been mentioned as possible Red Wings’ picks at No. 9:
Center Oliver Moore (Team USA)
Some say he is the best skater in the draft. At worst, he’s among the best skaters. His skating reminds some scouts of Dylan Larkin. Some mock drafts have Oliver landing in the top seven, but others have him going around No. 10. He’s a nifty puck-handler. Moore makes those around him better. He has 73 points in 59 games for the U.S. National Team Development Program.
Right Wing Eduard Sale (HC Kometa Brno, Czechia)
Several mock drafts have Sale (6-2, 180) landing in Detroit. He scored seven goals and added seven assists playing in the Czech professional league this season. Sale put up six points in seven games at the World Junior Championships. His hockey IQ and vision are his best assets. Quality passer. TSN Scouting Insider Craig Button has him ranked in his top five.
Center Dalibor Dvorsky (AIK, Sweden 2)
He’s a Slovak playing in Sweden’s second division league. Central scouting has him as the No. 3-ranked European player for this year’s draft. Dvorsky is 6-1 and plays a quality two-way game. He can distribute the puck, and he can fire it. Dvorsky has been solid at the World Junior Championships the past two seasons.
Forward Ryan Leonard (Team USA)
The Massachusetts native scored 50 goals in 55 games for the U.S. National Team Development Program. Leonard can play all three forward positions. He is headed to Boston College. “He can play any offensive position but he’s probably a wing,” said Russ Cohen, a scouting insider for Sirius Radio. “Has good speed but it’s his gritty mentality that sets him apart. He’s a physical specimen, he takes puck battles personally, his words, and knows how to make space on the ice. Leonard will go to the net as well as scoring with that heavy wrist shot goal as well. I guarantee he will give the best interview. And that could resonate as well.”
Center Nate Danielson (Brandon, Western Hockey League)
He’s a 6-2 center who registered 78 points in 68 games. The NHL Central Scouting Bureau ranked him 13th in its mid-term rankings and had him at seven in their final rankings