As the 2009 draft commenced on June 27, my thoughts were that the Detroit Red Wings had an amazing draft. They got two great players with the second-round picks they had, and they rounded out their prospect pool with some good players.
Pictured above are new Detroit Red Wings Landon Ferraro (left) and World Junior Championship star Tomas Tatar.
First Round, 32nd Overall:
Landon Ferraro—C, Red Deer (WHL). 5'11", 168 lbs.
The son of former NHL star Ray Ferraro, Landon was expected to go in the first round, but he fell to the Detroit Red Wings, and I couldn't be happier. Landon played for an abysmal team in Red Deer and still scored 37 goals while playing with a bunch of scrubs.
He factored into the majority of Red Deer goals, and next year will be playing with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who is the best 15 year-old in the country and managed over a point per game in his five-game trial. Expect Ferraro to near the 50-goal plateau next season.
Strengths: His skating is a huge asset and he has an amazing work ethic. His shot is NHL-caliber already and he has one of the quickest releases in the WHL. He is not afraid to go into the corners despite his size.
Weaknesses: His size is a concern and like most young players he needs to improve on the defensive side of the game. Fortunately, you can teach a player to play defensively, Ferraro`s offensive game is what can`t be taught.
Potential: Scoring line center
Second Round, 60th Overall:
Tomas Tatar—C, Zvolen HKm (Slovak). 5'11", 176 lbs.
Tomas Tatar first got the hockey worlds attention with his incredible World Junior Championship performance, leading Team Slovakia to a fourth-place finish and a higher rank then the United States
Many see him as being a few years away from making an NHL impact, and he may come over next year to play in the Canadian Hockey League.
Strengths: Like Ferraro, Tatar has an incredible shot and extremely quick release. He also has great hockey sense and is always in the right spot to score goals. He is defensively responsible and plays on the PP and PK.
Weaknesses: He is also a small player and must put on some weight to make an impact with the Wings. His foot speed isn't the best, but he can accelerate fast and I can't see it being to much of a problem for him.
Potential: Scoring line center
Third Round, 70th Overall:
Andrej Nestrasil—C, Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL). 6'2", 200 lbs.
Another player who played on a weak team, Nestrasil came over from the Czech Republic to play in the QMJHL. He showed flashes of brilliance this year, but was also benched in December for a lack of work ethic.
Strengths: Has great size and a goal scorer's touch. Another player with great hands and a nose for the net. He is also not afraid to get physical with the opposing players.
Weaknesses: He has slow foot speed because he has a large upper body, but his legs are extremely thin. His technique is good though so expect him to get faster once he works on his legs this summer.
Potential: Scoring line center
Third Round, 90th Overall:
Gleason Fournier—D, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL). 6'0", 176 lbs.
Fournier is supposed to be an offensive defensemen but only scored three goals this year in the wide open QMJHL. The talent is there, but he is a huge project that needs to improve on many areas of the game. At the very least, he is probably four years away or more.
Strengths: Has extreme offensive potential and is a good power-play quarterback. He can move the puck quickly and can make great outlet passes to his forwards.
Weaknesses: Not very good in his own zone and is pushed around easily. His shot needs improvement and he needs to put on more weight.
He also has trouble making the right decisions with the puck and doesn`t have very good hockey sense.
Potential: Power play quarterback/third pairing defensemen
Fifth Round, 150th Overall:
Nick Jensen—D, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL). 6'1", 187 lbs.
Another offensive defensemen, Jensen also has a reliable defensive side to his game as well. He will continue to play with the Gamblers next year and will head to St. Cloud State University for the 2010-11 season. He seems to be at least as good as the defensemen we picked two rounds earlier.
Nick's dad, Jeff Jensen, was a 10th round pick of the Colorado Rockies in the 1978 NHL Amateur Draft.
Strengths: Already has a pretty decent two way game that will improve with age. He also has a nice, effortless stride and is a good puck handler.
Weaknesses: Needs to be more offensively involved. He also could put on more strength and his lack of competition for next year is troubling.
Potential: Fourth/fifth defensemen
Sixth Round, 180th Overall:
Mitchell Callahan—RW, Kelowna Rockets (WHL). 5'11", 175 lbs.
A tough as nails kid from California, Callahan backs down from no one and is the exact opposite of the entire Wings team in that he loves to fight and agitate. Callahan never stops working and could reach the 20-goal, 200 PIM plateau next season.
Strengths: A pretty good skater who has a never quit attitude. Callahan fought everybody this year, from the 20-year old veterans to the 16-year old rookies and he always fights when challenged, there is none of this talking stuff as far as he is concerned. He can also chip in offensively and is also a decent penalty killer.
Weaknesses: Another guy who needs to put on weight and there is worry that he won't be able to play his grinding style against the big men of the NHL unless he does add more muscle to his frame.
Potential: Third line grinder who can chip in offensively
Seventh Round, 210th Overall:
Adam Almqvist—D, HV 71 J20 (Swe-Jr). 5'10", 169 lbs
A Detroit Red Wings draft just isn't complete without selecting a player from Sweden. Some believe that this could be another late round gem by the Wings Swedish based scout, Hakan Andersson.
Almqvist is seen as another huge project and is likely five years away from making an NHL impact, something along the lines like Jonathon Ericsson, who the Wings drafted last overall in the 2002 draft and is just now making a significant NHL impact.
Strengths: Under the radar player, his two way game is very good and he possesses amazing hockey sense. He also can make great outlet passes and knows the game very well for a player his age.
Weaknesses: Another player with an obvious size issue, Almqvist did add 20 pounds during the season, so that is very encouraging. He also needs to work on his skating some more and should add more upper-body strength this summer.
Potential: Power play quarterback/fourth or fifth defensemen