I’ve seen more than a few “experts” try to convince anyone who would listen that the Detroit Red Wings don’t really draft all that well and were”lucky” when they selected Datsyuk and Zetterburg later in the draft.
There is some argument to be made that there was some luck involved in those two picks but using that logic to suggest the Wings are an average team at the draft is nonsense.
Here’s a wakeup call folks.
Detroit has 15 of their draft picks playing right now and none were chosen higher than No. 19 overall (Kindl). Riley Sheahan (21), Brendan Smith (27), Kronwall (29), Tomas Jurco (35), Justin Abdelkader (42), Tomas Tatar (60), Jimmy Howard (64), Joakim Andersson (88), Johan Franzen (97), Gustav Nyquist (121), Darren Helm (132), Pavel Datsyuk (171) and Henrik Zetterberg (210) are the others. “The leading scorer in the American League is also one of theirs, Teemu Pulkkinen (121),” said a pro scout.
Detroit also has a couple of tremendous young prospects who could make a big impact once they are exposed to the Wings “ripening” process.
Anthony Mantha (2013) and Andreas Athansiou (2012) were draft steals in my opinion and the Wings have developed two defensemen from the 2011 draft who seems to be just about NHL ready…Ryan Sproul and Xavier Oullette.
While a team like the Edmonton Oilers picked David Musil #31 overall, the Wings, who didn’t have a 1st round pick in that draft have 3 players picked later in the second round who have already played in the NHL…Sproul, Ouellette and Tomas Jurco.
That’s not “luck”.
And Mike Babcock…
“This is the best team we’ve had here since ’09,” Babcock said, referencing the last Detroit team to reach the Stanley Cup final. “Not necessarily point-wise, but direction-wise.
“We have more players that are hungry and going in the right direction than we’ve had in a long time.”
Considering the Wings are about to make it 24 consecutive playoff appearances and are on the rise as opposed to declining, it’s no wonder there is a great deal of interest in plucking Babcock from the team.
I would imagine Babcock will want complete control over roster decisions if he is enticed to move on from Detroit so that narrows the teams that might be interested in his services but , given he has been heavily involved in the success of the Wings both in the standings and in development of their draft selections, I think any team that is prepared to clear the decks for him would be making a very smart bet.