The 2023 NHL Draft is this Wednesday, the 28th, and Thursday, the 29th, from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. The Detroit Red Wings will have, at the moment, 10 selections in this draft. Most of the emphasis will be on the two first round picks. The question is which needs do they have entering the draft?
Detroit Red Wings lack depth at these positions
Aside from captain Dylan Larkin, the Red Wings do not have a lot of depth scoring at the center position. This goes for the main roster and throughout the organization. This is an important draft for the Red Wings as they need to build within the organization a position they lack. With their first pick in the first round, ninth overall, Detroit has a choice over some prime time players to fill this void. A player who is a good two-way player that can also fill the void of a scoring center.
MY pick for the Red Wings is Oliver Moore, previously of the USNTDP. Moore is a 5-foot-11 and 176 pound center who can get stronger from the Red Wings athletic trainers. A speedy, 200-foot player, he could easily slide into a scoring center spot sooner than later. Moore creates passing lanes in the offensive zone, anticipates the play well, is a good playmaker, and has a good shot selection. During the 2022-2023 season for the U.S. National U18 team, Moore scored 75 points on 31 goals and 44 assists in 61 games. He had 26 penalty minutes and was an amazing +42. Moore could be the big boost at the center position if he is still there at the number nine spot.
Detroit has many left-handed defensemen throughout the organization and, at the time, does not look as if it is a position of need. The right side does not have the same promise and it is a position that could use an upgrade. Detroit also has a pick at 17 in the first round and they could use that pick on a right-handed defenseman. MY pick for the Red Wings at the 17th pick is defenseman Tom Wallinder. He is a 6-foot-1 and 179 pound defenseman who could replace the offense lost by Filip Hornek, who was traded to the Vancouver Canucks last season.
Wallinder is a good puck mover who has a quick release from the point. He can pinch in the offensive zone and still get back in time to break up a play. He is a feisty player who is a good gap closer in the defensive end and can fill the void on the second power play unit. Last season for the Rogle BK J20, Wallinder played 39 games and recorded four goals and 21 assists for 25 points, also had 22 penalty minutes. Again, if he is still there at 17, Detroit might want to take him before it is too late.
In teh 2023-2024 season, Ville Husso will be between the pipes for the Detroit Red Wings as the starter. In the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins, both Sebastian Cossa and John Lethemon will make some starts as they continue to grow as goaltenders and rise up the goaltending ranks. Aside from Lethemon and Cossa, Detroit does not have much in their pipeline for goaltending.
From the second round on, the Red Wings will have eight picks, as it currently stands. They would be wise to take a goaltender or two. One of those goaltenders could be Adam Gajan. The 6-foot-3 and 176 pound Gajan could be a nice building block for the Red Wings in the near future. He gets in front of the puck with quickness, plays his angles well, is agile from post to post, but he can give up some bad rebounds. Gajan may be a project that the Red Wings may be willing to work with . He is a goaltender with upside and could be rising up the rankings of Detroit prospects rather quickly. In the 2022/2023 season, he played for the Chippewa Steel of the NAHL. IN 34 games played, Gajan posted a 19-12-1 record with a 2.57 GAA and a .917 save percentage with one shutout.
The Detroit Red Wings have a chance to stock the pipeline in the 2023 NHL draft. This draft is filled with young , gifted forwards that could help the Red Wings and their organizational depth. This draft is one of the better ones for forward depth and there are many players ho could make a difference in Detroit’s system.