NHL Draft: Top Ten Late Round Detroit Red Wings Draft Picks
With the 2011 NHL Entry Draft coming up in a couple of weeks, I thought it would a good idea to write a series of articles on the Detroit Red Wings and their drafting history.
This article looks at the best ever late round draft picks in Wings history. Anyone drafted in the fourth round or later is eligible to be listed here.
#10: Darren Helm
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Drafted: 132nd overall in the 2005 Draft
Career Stats: 180 GP, 23 G, 34 A, 57 P
Maybe one of the fastest skaters in the NHL today, Darren Helm was drafted from the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League. He was a late round pick because of how small he was in his draft year, and he didn't possess the same amount of speed as he has today.
Despite only playing in seven games during his rookie season, Helm was a regular when the play-offs began and played an important role on the 2008 championship team. The same thing occurred in 2009, when Helm only played 16 regular season games but dressed for every play-off game.
Helm took a big step forward in the second half of the season this year, showing an offensive side that many didn't think he had. Considering that he has only played two full NHL seasons, Helm still has the ability to improve on his impressive sophomore season.
#9: Dallas Drake
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Drafted: 116th overall in the 1989 draft
Career Stats: 1009 GP 177 G 300 A 477 P
Dallas Drake played just two seasons for the Detroit Red Wings before being traded to the Winnipeg Jets in 1994.
After playing in Winnipeg, Phoenix, and captaining St. Louis, Drake was re-acquired by the Wings, much to the disappointment of many Wings fans who felt Drake was well past his best.
After a below average regular season, Drake turned it on in the play-offs, winning his first ever Stanley Cup in his final NHL season.
#8: Petr Klima
Drafted: 88th overall (5th round) in the 1983 draft
Career Stats: 786 GP 313 G 260 A 573 P
Drafted late because he hailed from Czechoslovakia, Petr Klima was an elite goal scorer from the get-go, notching 30 or more goals in his first three NHL seasons. Unfortunately, he never made much of an effort on defence and was shipped to Edmonton.
He won the Stanley Cup in 1990 as a member of the Edmonton Oilers and came back to Detroit for a 13-game stint at the end of his career.
#7: Tomas Holmstrom
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Drafted: 257th overall in the 1994 draft
Career Stats: 952 G 232 G 274 A 506 P
With Kris Draper and Chris Osgood unlikely to be re-signed, Tomas Holmstrom and Nicklas Lidstrom will be the last remaining members of the team from the 1997 Stanley Cup Champion squad. Not only that, but Holmstrom will also hit 1,000 games this year if he manages to avoid any serious injuries, which is not a guarantee with the punishment he takes in front of the net.
Holmstrom has been an integral part of the Wings power play for many years now, as he is always the one standing in front to screen the goalie and tip pucks past them. It will be very strange when Holmstrom, who is likely to retire after this next season, is not the one always standing in front on the power play.
#6: Mike Knuble
Drafted: 76th overall (4th round) in the 1991 Draft
Career Stats: 968 GP 268 G 254 A 522 P
Mike Knuble has carved a very respectful career for himself since being drafted by the Wings in 1991. He didn't make his NHL debut until 1996-97 when he was 24 years old. He played three games for the Wings in the play-offs during the 1998 Cup run and was shipped that off-season for the draft pick that the Wings used to draft Tomas Kopecky.
Knuble is still going strong at 38 years of age, and he has scored 20 goals or more in the last eight seasons, all in his 30's.
#5: John Ogrodnick
Drafted: 66th overall (4th overall) in the 1979 draft
Career Stats: 928 GP 402 G 425 A 827 P
A prolific goal scorer for many seasons, Ogrodnick is hurt by his lack of a Stanley Cup title and less than stellar play-off performances.
However, he had 30 goals or more seven times in his career, including a 50 goal season and three 40 goal ones.
He spent eight seasons with the Wings until he was traded to the New York Rangers. He came back to Detroit one more time at the end of his career. He retired at the young age of 33, causing him to miss out on a 500 goal career.
#4: Vladimir Konstantinov
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Drafted: 221st overall in the 1989 draft
Career Stats: 446 GP 47 G 128 A 175 P
Drafted so late because he was born in the Soviet Union, Konstantinov defected from the USSR when he was 24 years of age to come play for the Detroit Red Wings. A rock on defence, Konstantinov punished opposing forwards with crushing hits and also possessed offensive ability.
Tragically, Konstantinov's career was cut short when a car he was riding in after celebrating the 1997 Stanley Cup victory crashed, forcing him into a wheel chair.
#3: Henrik Zetterberg
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Drafted: 210th overall in the 1999 Draft
Career Stats: 586 GP 230 G 325 A 555 P
A premier forward in today's NHL, Zetterberg has been a two way force for the Detroit Red Wings ever since his debut season in 2002-03. Zetterberg has scored 20 goals or more in seven of his eight seasons, missing out on the milestone in his sophomore year due to a broken leg.
Zetterberg was also an integral part of the 2008 Stanley Cup Championship team, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as play-off MVP. His play-off resume is spectacular and his superb two-way play has had him contend for the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the league's best two-way forward.
#2 Pavel Datsyuk
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Drafted: 171st overall in the 1999 Draft
Career Stats: 662 GP 221 G 430 A 651 P
Like Zetterberg, Datsyuk is also a premier two-way forward. He has won the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best two way forward for three years in a row and is in contention for it once again this season. He has turned into a great play-off performer and has played a part in two Stanley Cup victories.
He is the best stick handler in the league today and is a magician when it comes to picking the pocket of unsuspecting puck rushers. Datsyuk is one of the most exciting players to watch in the NHL today.
#1: Sergei Fedorov
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Drafted: 74th overall in the 1989 draft
Career Stats: 1248 GP 483 G 696 A 1179 P
Probably the most talented player to ever put on a Detroit Red Wings uniform, Fedorov was sort of an enigma. He put together an incredible career, winning three Cups, a Hart Memorial Trophy, and two Frank J. Selke Trophies.
His career with the Wings is tainted due to two contract disputes. The first saw him sit out the majority of the 1997-98 season and the second saw him leave Detroit for the Anaheim Ducks. Fedorov was never the same after leaving Detroit, and he returned to play in Russia despite being just 13 goals away from 500.