Following a 25-year run of making the playoffs, the Detroit Red Wings have now missed the postseason for two straight seasons.
In 2017-18, the Red Wings won just 30 games, the fewest in franchise history since the NHL went to an 82-game schedule. After one of their worst seasons in nearly 30 years, the Red Wings will pick in the top-6 for the first time since 1990, when they selected Keith Primeau third overall.
Despite owning the No.6 overall pick, the Red Wings are no strangers to trading down in the draft, so they may not be picking at No.6 on June 22nd. Detroit has done a nice job building up their blueline of the future in the middle rounds recently, taking Vili Saarijarvi in the third-round (2015) and Filip Hronek late in the second (2016).
In four of the last five years, the Red Wings have taken a forward in the first-round of the draft—with the exception being Dennis Cholowski in 2016. Saarijarvi, Hronek and Cholowski all project to be on the Detroit blueline in the near future and they could definitely add another name to that unit in the 2018 draft. Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson and Trevor Daley will come off of the books in the next few years so their will be a roster rollover soon enough.
With the No.6 Overall Pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, the Detroit Red Wings select…
Quinn Hughes — LHD — United States ????????
Hughes was the youngest player in NCAA Division-I in 2018 and the freshman played exceptionally well, finishing third in Michigan Wolverines scoring with 29 points (5G / 24A) in 37 games. Hughes also picked up three assists in seven games while representing the United States at the World Juniors.
Hughes is ranked as the best skater in the 2018 draft and brings with him a great first-pass and offensive game despite his somewhat diminutive stature—5-foot-10, 178 lbs. That size falls right in-line with the type of player the Red Wings have been targeting in recent years:
- Cholowski — 6’0” / 194 lbs.
- Hronek — 6’0” / 170 lbs.
- Saarijarvi — 5’10” / 178 lbs.
Hughes also got to become familiar with Red Wings’ forward Dylan Larkin and head coach Jeff Blashill at the World Championships, where he tallied two assists in 10 games for the U.S.A. Playing in nearby Ann Arbour, the Red Wings probably saw a lot of Hughes this season and he fits exactly what they’re trying to do in the Motor City.
“An elite defensive talent that has mastered the elements of speed and decision-making. He is calculated in his handling of the puck and well-versed in his ability to limit time and space for the opposition without the puck. It’s almost taken for granted, now, that he is a highly skilled offensive player, simply due to his individual ability to carry plays and outfox the opposition in their own end. His creativity and vision is what sets him apart from many other defenders, and he plays that exciting style of hockey that punishes opponents’ mistakes with immediacy. It’s his proactivity through the neutral zone, not just limiting the time and space for the opposition but limiting their options to move the puck up-ice every time he’s on a shift, that makes him so potent. All-in-all, a complete defenceman that understands how to open up a game and take it over.” — Elite Prospects