Unlike past years, Ken Holland and the Detroit Red Wings changed philosophies so-to-speak when approaching this year’s draft class.
Instead of taking smaller skill players, the Red Wings opted to stock their minor league talent pool with bigger bodies.
After not having a pick in the first round the Wings selected six players on the second day of the NHL Draft from the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
“I’d say the last two years have been the biggest drafts we’ve had (size of players),” said assistant general manager Jim Nill, who calls the shots at the draft. “We know we got to get bigger. It’s the new wave of the game.
“If there’s a high skill guy there, you’re always going to take him. You come to a point, too, where you need to add some size.”
Here’s an overall look at what the Wings did at the Draft on Saturday…
Position: Center/right wing
Last season: Halifax (Quebec League); 34 games, 16 goals, 13 assists
Last season: Saginaw (Ontario League); 18-18-3, .904 save percentage, 3.42 goals-against average
Bottom line: After a slow start to the season, Patterson played himself into the starting role last year as things progressed. Patterson was a Red Wings fan growing up who was also a big fan of Chris Osgood. In light of that Patterson has also been compared to Osgood in the sense that he’s pretty low-key but still skilled.
Position: Left wing
Last season: London (Ontario League); 63 games, 22 goals, 15 assists
Bottom line: Prior to this past season, Athanasiou was considered to be first round selection. However an inconsistent season dropped the still very talented Athanasiou to the fourth round. With that said and with the proper motivation Athanasiou could prove to be a big offensive weapon with the ability to score plenty of goals.
Last season: Lincoln (United States Hockey League); 59 games, two goals, 17 assists
Bottom line: McKee, who will play for Western Michigan next season may throw people off due to his size and the amount of penalty minutes he’s racked up (237). Despite all of that though he does have good skating ability and a good shot for the point. The projection on his right now is a third pairing on the defense.
James De Haas
Last season: Toronto Lakeshore (Ontario Junior Hockey League); 45 games, 10 goals, 19 assists
Position: Left wing
Last season: Östersunds IK (Swedish junior league); 20 games, three goals, seven assists
Bottom line: A possible sleeper, Bodin has the potential to become a very imposing player down the line. He has tremendous strength, reach and mobility but is very raw, especially when it comes to handling the puck.
Like always Wings fans, don’t expect to see any of these players in the Winged Wheel for about another 4-5 years. But based off the magic Ken Holland and the Wings’ scouting team has done in the past, don’t be surprised if some of these guys are household names in the NHL at some point in their careers.
Ref: NHL.com, Detroit News, Mlive.com