30 in 30 Detroit Red Wings

bigjoehighgate

2016-07-12

DRW

Detroit headed into this crucial off season after their 25th consecutive playoff appearance, with a clear plan in place to keep the train moving. Being a bubble team the last three years, with a string of first round playoff exits, GM Ken Holland has had his hands full trying to fix the many holes in his roster and keep his team afloat for a 26th straight playoff run. The Wing’s went defensively heavy in this years draft and attempted to fix their offensive woes through the free agent market. Holland has gotten his squad to the postseason in all 17 years he’s been in Detroit but will be hard-pressed to replicate the same success for 2016-17.

2016 NHL Draft Picks

Dennis Cholowski D (Round 1, pick 20)

With their first round pick Detroit selected defenseman Dennis Cholowski from the Chiliwack Chiefs in the BCHL. Not the most highly touted defensive prospect in this draft, Cholowski provides very enticing potential if developed in the traditional Red Wing fashion. Leading all D with 12 goals and 40 points, he was a vicious offensive threat for the Chiefs and drastically improved his draft stock throughout the season. Possesses clear vision while anchoring the blue line, and is able to thread the needle for difficult back door passes and high percentage plays towards the net. Very comfortable and confident with the puck and uses profound patience to take advantage of the full width of the ice while studying his options in the offensive zone. Committed to play with St. Cloud State next year, he has the potential to compete with likes of Xavier Ouellet and Joe Hicketts for a future roster spot if he can mature physically and build a more complete 2 way game against stronger competition in the NCAA

Givani Smith RW (Round 2, pick 46)

With their second pick and 46th overall, Detroit selected Toronto native Givani Smith. Finishing with 24 goals and 42 points, Smith had a solid campaign with the pitiful Guelph Storm. The 18 year-old Right Winger was able to more efficiently develop his game after moving from a cluttered Barrie Colts roster in 2014-15 to a rebuilding Storm squad that was desperate for offensive help. Loves to play the physical game and is the most recent beneficiary of the Wings trying to toughen up their line up in the future. Projected as a true power forward, Smith offers tenacious play in puck battles and on the forecheck while still possessing some scoring touch. At a very average 6-1, 197 lbs, he has some physical maturing to do, but still plays like a much bigger man, using the body to create space for himself and line mates. After further development in the OHL and Grand Rapids, he slots in perfectly to fill the void of players like Todd Bertuzzi, who add a gritty presence to the roster.

Filip Hronek D (Round 2, pick 53)

An offensively gifted defenseman, Hronek falls into a long line of newly added prospects on the Detroit’s back end. Splitting time between Czech league’s HC Hradec Kralove U20 and men’s team last year, Hronek finished with 24 points in 65 games. His most impressive play came at the World Junior Championships in Finland, where he played a pivotal role on the Czech blue line and finished with two points in five games. With great hockey sense and offensive abilities, he is definitely deemed worthy of one of the Red Wings second round selection, but still needs time to grow into the North American game. Selected 14th overall in the CHL import draft, the Wings will watch Hronek develop his defensive responsibilities close by with the Saginaw Spirit for the 2016-17 season.

Alfons Malmstrom D (Round 4, pick 107)

-Falling outside the top 150 ranked European skaters, Malmstrom could be a big risk, big reward pick for the Red wings with their fourth round selection. Out of five defenseman the Red Wings chose in this years draft, Malmstrom plays a slightly different game than the rest of the bunch. A big 6-2 stay at home D that still has room to fill out over the next few years. He projects as a safer option on the back end compared to the rest of his draft class and could very well be holding down a third line pairing down the road. Had a bit of a rough go in his first scrimmage at development camp in Traverse city over the weekend, making careless pinches at the blue line and having trouble keeping a proper gap in defensive 1-on-1’s. However, once he embraces his role of a defence-first type player, he should emerge as a respectable option in the Red Wings farm system.

Jordan Sambrook D (Round 5, pick 137)

A late blooming defenseman who had a solid year in his first season with the Erie Otters in 2015-16, Sambrook was chosen with the 137 overall pick in the fifth round this year. Jordan provides a solid two way approach to the game and can eat a lot of minutes playing a more conservative style. With the chance to move up the Erie depth chart this season, he should continue to develop into an all-around blue liner and grow into his 6-2 frame.

Filip Larsson G (Round 6, pick 167)

He second of three Swedish selections for 2016, the Wings grabbed their only Goalie of the draft 167th overall in the sixth round. Posting average numbers of 3.86 GAA and .872 Save Percentage last year for Djurgardens IF U20, he seems like a real gamble, but then again goalies can be hard to predict. Will definitely need a long journey of development in the Swedish leagues before he crosses over to play in North America, but will still be on the radar down the road.

Mattias Elfstrom LW (Round 7, pick 197)

Another far off the board pick, with the 197 overall selection, Detroit grabbed Swedish forward Mattias Elfstrom. The Stockholm native had a breakout year with the Malmo Redhawks in the Swedish Hockey League and could the latest diamond in the rough the Hakon Andersson and the rest of the Red Wings European scouting staff is able to recover deep into the draft. Should he continue to fill out, possess good size to play a hard forechecking game, similar to fellow countryman Johan Franzen.

Development Camp Invites:

Chase Berger LW -Penn State (NCAA)

Mike Borkowski LW -Colgate (NCAA)

Justin Brazeau LW -North Bay (OHL)

Kyle Criscuolo C -Harvard (NCAA)

Jeff de Wit LW -Red Deer (WHL)

Alex Globke C -Lake Superior State (NCAA)

Luke Kirwan C -Windsor/ Flint (OHL)

Griffen Molino RW -Western Michigan (NCAA)

Mathew Santos C -North Bay (OHL)

Dylan Coghlan D -Tri-City (WHL)

Patrick McCarron D -Cornell (NCAA)

Stephen Dhillon G -Niagara (OHL)

Conner Hicks G -Hamilton (OHL)

Development Camp Notes

Bertuzzi, Tyler

Tyler Bertuzzi Came out flying in development camp with intentions of thrusting himself into the final roster this September. The 21-year-old Left Winger had his experience on display as he victimized some of the younger prospects in this years camp. Finishing with 12 goals, 30 points and 133 PIM last season with Grand Rapids, he may be another option to add a physical presence to the team next year.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">favorite highlight from the weekend: Tyler Bertuzzi abusing Dylan Sadowy at Wings prospects camp <a href="https://t.co/46EAlvrFHw">pic.twitter.com/46EAlvrFHw</a></p>&mdash; Zach Berridge (@ZachBerridge) <a href="https://twitter.com/ZachBerridge/status/752293510808637440">July 11, 2016</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

Dylan Sadowy

The quiet acquisition of Saginaw Spirit Left Winger Dylan Sadowy may already be showing signs of dividends. Cashing in for three goals in Saturday’s development camp scrimmage, Sadowy looked to be the best offensive threat amongst the young prospects. The former third round pick (81st overall) of the San Jose Sharks was picked up by the Wings this May and promptly signed to a three year entry level deal. Look for him to have strong year in Grand Rapids for the 2016-17 season with potential of pushing his way into Detroit’s roster within the next three years

Off Season

Detroit was uncharacteristically busy this offseason in the free agent market. After craftily moving Pavel Datsyuk’s $7.5 million cap hit to the Arizona Coyotes, Ken Holland was in the hunt for some of the summer’s biggest names including Steven Stamkos. Though they didn’t land the big fish, Holland still made several eye catching moves signing Frans Neilson for 6 years, $31.5 Million overall, as well as Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott to one year deals for $2.6 Million and $800,000 respectively.

This still leaves Petr Mrazek, Danny Dekeyser and Teemu Pulkkinen in RFA status without contracts and only about $4 Million in cap space to sign the three. Something suggests Holland isn’t finished making moves to shake up his roster, and might have something else up his sleeve between now and the beginning of training camp. The other question is where young pieces like Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou will wind up this fall with many other prospects nipping at their heels to land a roster spot and other established NHLer’s like Steve Ott and Darren Helm already holding down spaces in the bottom six.

Another major mess Ken Holland has to deal with is his situation in the crease for the upcoming season. With two clearly capable starting goaltenders in Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek, the Wing’s simply can’t afford to keep both players after Mrazek signs his first non-entry level deal. One can assume that Howard will be aggressively shopped this summer to shed another $5.2 Million of cap space and potentially make room for up and comer Jared Coreau. Coreau has quietly put up some impressive numbers backstopping the Grand Rapids Griffens over the last two years and earned himself a new deal worth $1.2 Million that will keep in with the club until 2017-18. Look for him to be the dark horse on the roster and possibly usurp the starting job in the crease in the near future much like Mrazek did to Howard. – Jospeh Highgate

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