It's that time of year again.
On Sunday, the Detroit Red Wings will once again convene in their "war room" to plot the future of the hockey team after a productive draft in 2012 brought the team a great deal of size and speed.
Martin Frk was the team's first selection at 49th overall in the 2012 draft. Originally a highly touted prospect going into the draft, his draft stock fell, and the Wings were more than happy to take the Memorial Cup Champion. They also added speedy wing Andreas Athanasiou and tough-man Mike McKee.
This year's draft, which is being held at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., is expected to become one of the deepest draft classes seen since the 2003-2005 NHL drafts.
At the 18th overall pick, Detroit has many options to consider. GM Kenny Holland could possibly try and swing a trade to move up in the draft; he has expendable assets on the roster that would be of interest, most notably Valtteri Filppula.
Holland has also been known to move down from the first round to acquire more draft picks in the later rounds. But with so many projected stars available for the Wings, it seems unlikely. The likely solution is that they stand pat at the No. 18 overall pick.
In total, the Red Wings select 18th in all seven rounds this season. With those seven picks, here are my projected selections for the draft taking place this Sunday.
Round 1, Pick 18
Kerby Rychel, Left Wing/Windsor (OHL): There are two things that the Red Wings need: a forward with size and a two-way player capable of chipping in 30 goals. Insert the services of Kerby Rychel. The six-foot-one power forward has become the workhorse for the Spitfires. Not only has he posted consecutive 40-goal seasons in Windsor, but he also backs up his play; he had 148 PIM in two seasons. He is also coming home, as he played Midget Major hockey with Belle Tire and is a California native.
Round 2, Pick 18
J.T. Compher, Center/U.S. National Team: He may not light up the lamp, but J.T. Compher's competitive level is something that Mike Babcock would love to have. A Michigan recruit in the fall, Compher spent the past two seasons with the National Development Program, which has produced many high-end prospects in the past few drafts. He is capable of lighting up the score sheet (51 points in 53 games), but with his solid work ethic and two-way nature, he pans out to be a perfect grinding center that is instrumental on the penalty kill.
Round 3, Pick 18
Eric Roy, Defense/Brandon (WHL): After addressing their size with their first two selections, Detroit going with a project on defense in Roy can happen. The Red Wings have a development staff that can hammer out Roy's inconsistencies. At Brandon, he has posted strong offensive numbers and is a good skater. He won't need to fill out much, as he stands at 6'3" and 187, but he will need to work on playing under pressure.
Round 4, Pick 18
Anton Cederholm, Defenseman/Rogle Jr. (Sweden): The chances of this Swede panning out in a crowded defensive group is tough, but it helps to be around so many Swedes. Known more for his defensive capabilities, Cederholm is a stay-at-home defenseman that plays his position the right way. He can play out his career in his home country before coming over to North America.
Round 5, Pick 18
Timotej Sille, Right Wing/Skalica-Jr. (Slovakia): The biggest question with this prospect will be if he can add on some weight. Since he has moved up through the ranks with Skalica, his offensive numbers have taken off. He is also one of the younger prospects, as he just turned 18 years old on June 22. Sille can take time to ripen in Slovakia.
Round 6, Pick 18
Patrik Bartosak, Goalie/Red Deer (WHL): Playing on a dominant Red Deer team has its advantages. The Czech-born goalie was sensational in his first full season of work, starting 55 games and having a save percentage of 0.935. He also had five shutouts. Bartosak is the cousin to former NHL pro Radek Bonk.
Round 7, Pick 18
Ryan Kujawinski, Center/Kingston (OHL): This crafty center has been under the watchful eye of former Leafs great Doug Gilmour. From there, his offensive game has grown. While he may be the best skater out there, he is still a promising second line player who can also move over to the wing. He has good size and could be ready sooner than later. But the Red Wings will let this 18-year-old complete his career in the OHL before moving up to the ECHL or AHL.
Stay tuned all this weekend for more updates from our B/R writers on selections, mock drafts and much more.