The Detroit Red Wings went for offense and defense with their picks in the first round of Wednesday’s NHL Draft in Nashville.
With their first pick, Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman took center Nate Danielson, a 6-2 center who played for Brandon of the WHL last season.
The pick adds a center to the team’s roster, which was a position of need, and Danielson told reporters he wasn’t surprised to be selected.
“To hear my name actually called by Steve Yzerman, I didn’t really believe it at first,” Danielson said.
. A strong interview t the combine earlier this month had given him an idea the Wings were interested. “I definitely thought it, but it doesn’t feel real until it actually happens.”
Danielson led the Brandon Wheat Kings with 33 goals and 45 assists last season.
With their second first-round pick at No. 17, which came in the Filip Hronek deal from Vancouver, the Wings picked Swedish defenseman Axel Sandin Pellikka.
Sandin Pellikka played for Skelleftea of the Swedish Hockey League. He’s an offensive defenseman whose playmaking ability, shot and mobility, among other things, made him a top prospect.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling, a sigh of relief,” Sandin Pellikka said. “Just getting up to hug my parents, my siblings, it’s un incredible feeling. I’m so happy to be a part of the Detroit Red Wings.”
Like Danielson, Sandin Pellikka said he had an inkling the Red Wings were interested after conversations at the combine.
“Yzerman, he talked to me a lot. And also their Swedish scouts, I talked a lot to them, ” he said, “so I had a feeling when they were coming up to pick and I am very happy they picked me.”
The rest of the NHL draft will be held Thursday. The Red Wings have three consecutive picks in the second round (No. 41, 42, 43), third round (No. 79), fourth round (No. 117), fifth round (No. 137), sixth round (No. 169) and seventh round (No. 201), All this assumes there won’t be any trades.