From 1992-to-2016, the Detroit Red Wings never missed the playoffs and never picked higher than No.15 overall in the NHL Draft.
Now, they have missed the playoffs for three consecutive seasons and will pick inside the top-10 for the third straight year.
The Red Wings have already had a busy offseason and we’re not even into the middle of June. They brought back their former captain Steve Yzerman from the Tampa Bay Lightning to be their new General Manager and former GM Ken Holland left to take a new job with the Edmonton Oilers. Luckily for Yzerman, Holland left the cupboards stocked with good prospects and should help him get back into the playoffs in quick order.
Detroit is probably hoping that Bowen Byram will fall to them to give them an elite blueline prospect, but that likely isn’t going to happen. With so few top-end defensemen in this year’s class, Yzerman will be forced to add to an already impressive group of forward prospects. Over the last four drafts, Holland selected four forwards who have already cracked the Red Wings’ lineup or could do so as soon as next season:
- — 2015: Evgeny Svechnikov (No.19 Pick)
- — 2017: Michael Rasmussen (No.9 Pick)
- — 2018: Filip Zadina (No.6 Pick)
- — 2018: Joe Veleno (No.30 Pick)
Not to mention three defensemen that are also NHL-ready:
- — 2016: Dennis Cholowski (No.20 Pick)
- — 2016: Filip Hronek (No.53 Pick)
- — 2018: Jared McIsaac (No.36 Pick)
The shelves are stocked for Yzerman and he has two picks in the top-35 of this year’s draft to put his stamp on the Red Wings’ prospect pool.
With the No.6 Overall Pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, the Detroit Red Wings select…
Vasili Podkolzin — RW — Russia 🇷🇺
Podkolzin is one of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s draft. Early in the season he seemed like the consensus No.3 overall pick but has slipped a little over the course of the season. Whether that is due to his play or teams fearing that he may stay in Russia (or both), Podkolzin will absolutely go in the top-10 and Detroit seems like the most logical landing spot.
The Red Wings organization has always been linked to Russian talent and their new GM has never shied away from taking Russians in the NHL Draft:
- — 2011: Vladislav Namestnikov, Nikita Kucherov & Nikita Nesterov
- — 2012: Andrei Vasilevskiy & Nikita Gusev
- — 2016: Oleg Sosunov
- — 2017: Alexander Volkov & Alexei Lipanov
- — 2018: Dmitri Semykin
Another red flag for Podkolzin is his skating. He is rated as a below-average skater but does everything else so well that it doesn’t seem to matter. Podkolzin has great hands, a great shot, and great vision but it’s his work ethic that sets him apart. When he has the puck, Podkolzin is constantly driving the middle and taking the puck to high-danger areas. When he doesn’t have the puck he is in hard on the forecheck and working to get it.
Podkolzin bounced between the MHL (Russia’s top junior league) and the VHL (second tier pro league behind KHL) and put up decent numbers as a 17-year-old. He had eight points (6G / 2A) in 12 MHL games and five points (2G / 3A) in 14 VHL games while seeing limited ice-time. While representing Russia, he had four points (1G / 3A) in seven games as the captain of their U18 World Juniors team and three assists in seven games at the U20 World Juniors.
SKA St. Petersburg, which is the richest team in the KHL, has Podkolzin under contract through the 2021 season. He plans to play out the duration of that contract and many believe that he will come to the NHL after that. However, whenever you are dealing with a SKA and their deep pockets, it can be difficult to get a player to come to North America.
He’s a complete winger with all the qualities that you want in a player. He’s competitive and smart, he can score and make plays and he kills penalties. He has some of the things that Pavel Datsyuk had – strong on the puck and maneuvres the puck in tight and you can’t get it away from him. He’s got that uncanny ability to open up the puck for great opportunities. — Craig Button (TSN.ca)
I see a forward with high-end skill, high-end vision, a high-end shot, an elite compete level and physicality, all despite iffy skating, I think he has the potential to be a top-line power winger in the NHL. — Corey Pronman (The Athletic)
- #7 — HockeyProspect.com
- #4 — Future Considerations
- #6 — ISS Hockey
- #2 — NHL Central Scouting (EU Skaters)
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