Detroit Red Wings 2014 NHL Draft Picks: Grades, Results and Analysis
The 2013-14 NHL season was a tough one for the Detroit Red Wings. They managed to keep their stunning playoff streak alive, but it took just about everything the organization had to get there. Injuries kept the team in shambles throughout the campaign, and if it weren't for the heroics of Gustav Nyquist, the Red Wings might have missed the postseason for the first time in more than two decades.
Due to these complications, general manager Ken Holland made a first-round selection much earlier than usual. Detroit had the 15th overall pick with the chance to snag an impact player in the upper half of the first round.
Overall, the Red Wings will made seven selections in the 2014 draft (barring any trades or movement). Holland traded away the team's second-round choice to the Nashville Predators as part of the David Legwand trade.
The Red Wings are generally considered one of the stronger drafting teams in the NHL. Here is an in-depth analysis of all seven picks made by the Wings in this year's NHL draft.
Round 1, Pick 15: Dylan Larkin, C, U.S. National Under-18 Team
The Detroit Red Wings made a splash with their 15th-overall selection, grabbing hometown boy Dylan Larkin in the middle of the first round. The 6'0", 190-pound center is noted for his strong two-way play and was projected by many to go higher than he did.
While it's always possible that a kid won't pan out, it's tough to see Detroit doing much better than they diod with this selection. Larkin fits in with the organization wonderfully, and already plays Red Wings hockey.
He'll be given plenty of time to continue his development, but fans of Darren Helm are going to love Larkin.
He spent time in the USHL developmental program over the last two years, and has impressed scouts with his intelligence and intangibles. It's rare to grab a projected top-six center this deep in the draft, but Ken Holland and the Red Wings did just that.
Round 3, Pick 76: Dominic Turgeon, C, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
The "family lines" storyline continued to thread itself in and out of the second and third rounds of the 2014 NHL draft on day two. Detroit took Dominic Turgeon with the 76th-overall selection, and he's the son of former NHLer Pierre Turgeon.
Don't expect the latest incarnation of the Turgeon family to produce points by the boatload. He's still a player that possesses a high high hockey IQ, fitting Holland's tendency to select physically underdeveloped but intelligent forwards at the draft.
There are some questions about the 6'1", 196 pounder's ability to skate at the next level, but that's an issue that can be solved with some work in the training room and with coaches over the next few years.
Turgeon really came on as the 2013-14 campaign wore on, gaining more confidence and showing flashes of the kind of player he could evolve into. Not necessarily a top-six talent, but a potential third line pivot that can play in all three zones regardless of the situation.
Round 4, Pick 106: Christoffer Ehn, C, Frolunda Jr (Sweden-Jr)
It was only a matter of time before Holland and his drafting team went back to the good ol' Swedish well for a defensive-minded center. In what's become a yearly ritual for the Red Wings, they snagged a solid forward in the latter rounds that might not have been on everyone's radar.
Responsibility with the puck is a hallmark of Christoffer Ehn's game. He suited up for a pair of games in Sweden's top league and didn't look particularly out of place during that short call up.
He stands at 6'2" and weighs in at 180 pounds, so the big frame is there for Ehn to develop into another great checking forward in Detroit's remarkably deep system.
Round 5, Pick 136: Chase Perry, Goalie, Wenatchee USHL
The Red Wings added some goaltending depth to their organization when they selected Chase Perry with the 136th pick in the draft.
Perry has good size at 6'2" and 191 pounds. His strengths include his lateral movement and the way he plays his angles.
Last season, with Wenatchee of the USHL, Perry finished with a 15-12-6 record, a 2.34 GAA and a .905 save percentage.
Central scouting ranked him as the 8th best North American goalie available in this year's draft.
Perry will be playing for Colorado College next season.
Like most goalies, he will need plenty of time to develop before reaching the NHL.
--update by Brad Kurtzberg--
Round 6, Pick 166: Julius Vahatalo, LW, TPS Jr. (Finland)
Red Wings' general manager Ken Holland went big when he selected Finnish forward Julius Vahatalo with the 166th pick in this year's NHL draft.
Vahatalo is 6'5" and weighs 191 pounds so he obviously needs to add some bulk to compete in the NHL.
He was eligible to be drafted last season but was passed up as an 18-year-old. His play and size improved, however, so the Red Wings took a flier on him.
This past season, Vahatalo scored 18 goals and 39 points in 33 games playing for the TPS junior club in Finland. His strong play earned him a brief promotion to TPS.
Vahatalo has two more years left on his contract with TPS, so don't expect him in North America any time soon. He needs to work on his skating a bit and put on some more muscle, but he has the potential to develop into a prospect.
--update by Brad Kurtzberg--
Round 7, Pick 196: Axel Holmstrom, Center, Skelleftea (Jr), Sweden
The Red Wings continued their run on Europeans when they used the 196th pick in the NHL draft to select Axel Holmstrom. He is not related to Wings' forward Tomas Holmstrom.
At 6'0", 198 pounds, Holmstrom has good size for someone just turning 18.
Last season while playing for Skelleftea's junior club in Sweden, Holmstrom scored 15 goals and 38 points in 33 games. He played well enough to earn a brief promotion to the big club.
His work ethic and dedication to the game are among Holmstrom's biggest strengths. He played with William Nylander, the first-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and they made effective linemates. While he has nowhere near Nylander's abilities, there is some upside to his offensive game.
Expect Holmstrom to stay in Sweden for at least another year.
--Update by Brad Kurtzberg--
Round 7, Pick 201: Alexander Kadeykin, Center, Mytischi (Russia)
The Red Wings selected center Alexander Kadeykin with the 201st selection of the NHL draft.
Kadeykin split the season between Mytischi's junior team and their KHL club. The 20-year-old was a good player on a mediocre team but still finished with a plus-17 rating.
He scored eight goals and 23 points in 54 games for the big club while adding 14 goals and 43 points in 26 games while playing in juniors.
Scouts like Kadeykin's hands and his size at 6'4". To make the jump to the NHL, he'd have to improve his skating and become more consistent.
Kadeykin is a worthwhile gamble in the seventh round.
--update by Brad Kurtzberg--