Red Wings 2023 Entry Draft Thoughts


I’ve said previously that I’m not a huge draft guy.  There are certainly players who catch my eye and, as such, make me think they’d be someone I’d want on my team if I were running a team.  Especially by the late rounds, though, it’s just too much of a crapshoot to keep my interest for long enough to do all the research.

The Red Wings drafted eleven players over the two days of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.  I’ve got some thoughts on them, with some of those thoughts more serious than others.

Here we go…

First Round

#9 – Nate Danielson – C

This felt like a safe pick with higher-end centers still on the board, but I did like hearing that first-overall pick Connor Bedard said Danielson was the toughest center in the WHL to play against.  The consensus seems to be that Danielson will be a perfectly accepting third-line center behind Dylan Larkin and Marco Kasper and it’s hard not to be frustrated that, this many years into the rebuild, the Wings are using their top pick on a third-liner.  That said, you’ve got to have guys who are hard to play against.

#17 – Axel Sandin Pellikka – D

I do love that, with Danielson and Pellikka combined, the Wings got players who address immediate needs, with a center and a right-handed defenseman.  A Swedish right-handed defenseman, at that.  With Tom Willander off the board already, I’m psyched about this pick.

Second Round

#41 – Trey Augustine – G

I do really like the Michigan State-bound Augustine and there did seem to be a run on goalies starting after Chicago and Arizona both picked netminders, but 41 feels early for this pick.  It’s also interesting because, if Sebastian Cossa is the goalie of the future in Detroit, how does Augustine’s progression overlap with that?  But the Wings’ prospect pipeline in goal is a mess so clearly they wanted to get that sorted out.

#42 – Andrew Gibson – D

Gibson flew under the radar, spending much of last season injured.  It makes me curious if he could have been picked later.

#47 – Brady Cleveland – D

The Red Wings got this pick along with pick #147 in exchange for #43, a deal made with Nashville after the Gibson selection.

Third Round

#73 – Noah Dower Nilsson – LW

The younger brother of Detroit prospect Liam Dower Nilsson.  In the Slack draft discussion, I’d wondered if Detroit might pick him with one of their trio of second round picks.  They got him a round later.  At the very least, it’s a feel-good story.

Fourth Round

#117 – Larry Keenan – D

As I said via Twitter, “Larry Keenan” sounds like sounds like a character in a 1980s sitcom.

Fifth Round

#137 – Jack Phelan – D

If “Larry Keenan” is a 1980s sitcom character, “Jack Phelan” is a crooked cop in a 1980s action movie.  Maybe one played by Anthony Heald.

#147 – Kevin Bicker – LW

I got nothing here.

Sixth Round

#169 – Rudy Guimond – G

Another goalie with a late pick.  He wore jersey #25 with Taft andI’m irrationally bothered by goalies who wear “weird” numbers.

Seventh Round

#201 – Emmitt Finnie – C

If “Larry Keenan” is a 1980s sitcom character and “Jack Phelan” is a crooked cop in a 1980s action movie, “Emmitt Finnie” is the main character of a 1880s short story.  I’ve now almost convinced myself that Mark Twain wrote about this guy.

Clark founded the site that would become DetroitHockey.Net in September of 1996 with no idea what it would lead to. He continues to write for the site and executes the site's design and development.

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