Before the NHL draft on June 28-29, Detroit Hockey Now will review nine different players who have a chance to be selected ninth overall by the Detroit Red Wings. Today’s first installment looks at Swedish defenseman Axel Sandin-Pellikka.
Position: Right defenseman; Hgt./Wgt: 5-11/180
Playing style: Offensive-minded puck mover and power play point man
NHL Central Scouting Ranking: Seventh among international skaters.
League: Skelleftea, Swedish Hockey League
Red Line Report, an independent scouting service that has been around for three decades, ranks Sandin-Pellia has the No. 6 prospect overall. The publication states that he has more up-side than any other available defenseman. He’s an exceptionally elusive skater, sharp passer, creative in his puck decisions, highly competitive. You can bet Detroit top European scout Hakan Andersson has a good read on him. Probably Nick Lidstrom and Niklas Kronwall do as well. Every NHL team is looking for more right-shot defensive prospects and this is one that could end up on your top pairing. He has already played 22 games in the SHL and didn’t look out of place, even though he just turned 18 in March. Sandin-Pellikka battles as a one-on-one defender. Red Line compares him to Rasmus Dahlin.
Why the Red Wings Might Select Him
The Red Wings have some quality young defensemen. Plus, Detroit GM Steve Yzerman had said, more than once, you take the best player, regardless of position, in the first round. You don’t know what your team will look like when the draft pick is ready to play. The Red Wings do need young right-shot defensemen. Imagine a Detroit defense three years from now with Simon Edvinsson, William Wallinder and Albert Johansson as left side defensemen with Moritz Seider and Sandin-Pellikka on the right side.
Why the Red Wings Might Not Select Him
The Red Wings might have some scoring forwards rated ahead of Sandin-Pellikka. What if Matvei Michkov falls? Or Ryan Leonard. Do the Red Wings have slick center Oliver Moore ranked ahead of Sandin Pellikka? How do the Red Wings feel about Tage Thompson-style forward Matthew Wood? Sandin-Pellikka could be ranked No. 10 or later on Detroit’s list. Seems more likely they will end up with a forward only because there are several quality forwards available.