Detroit Red Wings Get Prime Assets in Round 1 of 2023 NHL Draft

Detroit Red Wings, 2023 NHL Draft. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Detroit Red Wings, 2023 NHL Draft. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Red Wings selected two prime players in round one of the 2023 NHL Draft.

Forward Nate Danielson was picked ninth, while defenseman Axel Sandin Pellikka was chosen with the 17th pick. These two prospects help the Red Wings in two areas of need and could quickly rise up the charts in preparation for their NHL debuts.

The Red Wings selected Danielson and Sandin Pellikka in the first round.

Nate Danielson

Danielson was a bit of a surprise but gives Detroit a much-needed scoring center. The 6-foot-1 and 187-pound Danielson is from Red Deer, Alberta and looks like a prototypical pick for general manager Steve Yzerman.

Early indications are that he will slot into the second center slot for a deep center position that also includes captain Dylan Larkin and prospect Marco Kaspar.

Danielson gives the Detroit Red Wings a right-handed shot that will come into play due to Detroit having an abundance of left-shot forwards. Although he was ranked anywhere from as high as seven to as low as 32, Danielson was picked a bit earlier than maybe most expected.

However, he fits the mold of a Red Wings forward. Plenty of speed, plays a 200-foot game, high compete level, he gives Detroit a second scoring option at center behind Larkin. He plays a feisty game, has an accurate shot, and is a smooth skater.

Danielson’s brother, Noah, also plays hockey, and his brother will be attending the University of Western Ontario for the 2023/2024 hockey season.

Playing for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League (WHL) in 2022-2023, he played in 68 games, recording 33 goals and 45 assists for 78 points and 38 penalty minutes.

That sounds like low production for a ninth-overall pick, but Brandon was not very good last season and the offensive production around him was low. His point-per-game average was spectacular considering what he had around him.

In three years in the WHL, he totaled 59 goals and 91 assists for 150 points in 145 games for a 1.03 points-per-game average.

Axel Sandin Pellikka

In one of the biggest surprises of the first round, Sandin Pellikka fell to number 17 and right into the Red Wings’ hands. The 17th pick was acquired from Detroit in the trade that sent defenseman Filip Hronek to the Vancouver Canucks.

Ironically, Sandin Pellikka could be the one to replace Hronek on the Detroit Red Wings roster.

A 5-foot-11 and 181-pound defenseman from Gallivare, Sweden,  Sandin Pellikka is a bit undersized, but he makes up for it with his offensive abilities and his skating. A potential power play quarterback on the first unit, he is a scoring threat whenever he touches the puck.

His defensive game allows him to pinch in the offensive zone whenever he pleases. His defensive game is sound, and he plays with a gritty style. He closes gaps at the blue line, plays a physical style, and plays a hard game along the boards.

In the 2022/2023 season, Sandin Pellika played for three teams: Skelleftea AIK J18 in the J18 Nationell, Skelleftea AIK J20 in the J20 Nationell, and in Skelleftea AIK in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL).

His totals include 53 games played, registering 18 goals and 23 assists for 41 points, a +17, and 64 penalty minutes.

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He will not be a Moritz Seider clone, but they do have similar styles when it comes to the game of hockey. Sandin Pellikka also helps in the shortage of right-handed defensemen in the Detroit Red Wings organization.