No team in professional sports does a better job utilizing veteran leadership in grooming young talent than the Detroit Red Wings.
For the first time in years the preeminent leadership that has defined countless postseason runs could be in jeopardy. The cornerstone of the organization, defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, has not yet decided to retire or continue his prolific career in Detroit. The departure of Lidstrom would leave a massive void at the blue line.
I constructed my projections based on two scenarios.
Detroit’s first scenario with the 24th overall selection in the first round is to take the best player available.
The second scenario is directly correlated to Nicklas Lidstroms’s decision to stay or retire. If Lidstrom leaves, and the defenseman I have projected is available to Detroit, they will select him. If Lidstrom goes they will take a forward and address filling Lidstrom’s position through free agency.
These are what I believe to be the top five prospects in the 2011 NHL Draft available to the Detroit Red Wings with the 24th overall selection.