The Detroit Red Wings’ draft strategy changed this year. Instead of going for smaller players with skill, they used their six picks and went for size at the 2012 NHL Draft in Pittsburgh. The end result saw the Red Wings taking players 6’0″ and taller, but seeing how these future Red Wing player will develop, we’ll see in 5-7 years.
Even though the Red Wings traded their first-round pick in this year’s draft to the Tampa Bay Lightning (which they used to select Russian goaltender Andrei Vasilevski), they used their second round selection on Martin Frk of the Halifax Mooseheads in the QMJHL early Saturday morning.
Frk, the 49th overall selection, was top-10 material around this time last year, but missed almost half the 2011-12 season with a concussion. When he’s on the ice, the 6’0″, 204-lb. forward from Bochov, Czech Republic, is a very skilled forward that has a knack for the net. In 34 games with the Mooseheads, Frk scored 16 goals and added 13 assists. Frk wears #91 because his favorite player was former Red Wing great Sergei Fedorov.
In the third round, the Red Wings didn’t look far to grab a goalie as they took Jake Paterson of the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit, who was selected 80th overall. A native of Mississauga, Ontario, Paterson, who’s listed at 6’2″, 183 lbs., posted an 18-18-3 record with a 3.42 goals against average, a .904 save percentage and one shutout. Don’t let his numbers fool you, Paterson played better toward the end of the season. Paterson recently participated in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence Goaltending Camp.
With the 110th selection, the Red Wings took in the fourth round Andreas Athanasiou of the London Knights. In 63 games with the OHL Champions last season, 6’0″, 179 lbs forward from Mississauga, posted Justin Verlander-like numbers with 22-15-37 in 63 games. He’s been described as a skilled forward who was first-round material, but according to some scouts, he underachieved. Like most of the players that were draft-eligible, he’s only 18 and he still has time to develop.
With the Red Wings going for skilled forwards and goaltending with their first three picks, but they chose size and brawn on the blueline in the next two rounds when they selected Michael McKee of the Lincoln Stars of the USHL with the 140th pick. Listed at 6’4″, 232 lbs., the Newmarket, Ontario native spent 237 penalty-minutes and found the net twice with 17 assists in 59 games with the Stars last season. McKee will be playing his college hockey at Western Michigan next season.
In the sixth round, the Red Wings used the 170th pick to select defenseman James de Haas of the Toronto Lakeshore (Ontario Junior Hockey League) . Listed at 6’2″, 197 lbs., the native of Mississauga scored 10 goals and 19 assists in 45 games.
To close out their draft, the Red Wings used the 200th pick on 6’7″, 204-lb. left winger Rasmus Bodin of Ostersunds IK in Sweden. In 29 games in the J-18 Elite Division, Bodin scored nine goals and added 17 assists in 29 games and went to Division 1 where he had three goals and seven assists in 20 games.
Other Red Wing News: The team has agreed to terms with Swiss forward Damien Brunner for a one-year, two-way contract for 2012-13, but it will be made official on July 1. Brunner is listed at 5′ 11″, 180 lbs and has drawn interest from several NHL teams, including the Red Wings. Brunner led his league in scoring with 24 goals and 36 assists in 45 games for Zug. Red Wings’ head coach, Mike Babcock, projects Brunner, a right-hand shooter (which is rare among Red Wing forwards), as a top-six forward right away and sees him logging minutes on the power play.
June 10: Red Wings trade D Brad Stuart to the San Jose Sharks for a conditional seventh-round in the 2014 NHL Draft and F Andrew Murray
June 19: F Darren Helm signed a four-year, $8.5 million contract extension with the Red Wings
About the Author: Alex lives in Hockeytown, USA. He is a huge Red Wings fan going back to the 1985-86 season when they were dead last with 40 points. He has seen the transition from the 'Dead Wings' to one of the top franchises in sports. You can also follow him at twitter.com/alexmuscat73.