Saturday, June 23, 2012

What the Red Wings Draft Picks Should Mean to You

Another draft has come and gone, and the Red Wings have made their choices. We all waited in anticipation as to who the Red Wings would draft. There's almost a manic-cathartic release when your team makes its draft choices. The belief is either A) your team's picks will be immediate solutions to whatever problems are ailing the team or B) your scouting team is full of slack-jawed idiots.
Pictured: The (former) Columbus Blue Jackets scouting team
One thing I've learned about reading stuff over at the The Lions in Winter is just how sharply diverse the perceived needs of the fan base and commentators differ from those held by the team its self. Believe me, I'm no different. I think I have figured out exactly the types of players the Red Wings need to draft/sign in order to be successful. I've laid it out in explicit terms. That being said, the Red Wings could do the exact opposite of everything I said, win 16 Stanley Cups in a row, and prove me wrong wrongity wrong wrong. I would find a way to somehow maintain my robust albeit healthy ego and enjoy the ride anyway, but the fact is that I'm an amateur commentator with opinions.

I mentioned robust ego, so a picture of Kanye West with a teddy bear
birthday cake seemed like an automatic must have
Maybe the Red Wings' draft picks are solutions to their problems: what remains to be seen is whether those solutions will be implemented immediately, in the near future, or 5-7 years down the road. There's going to be a lot of speculation and clairvoyance going on with regards to the Red Wings' draft picks. However, I'm one of the, if not the only Red Wings blog that has "draft pick" in the name. I'm pretty sure that makes me uniquely qualified to talk about these choices. So allow me to share with you the pro's, con's and the x factors that may make or break our 2012 draftees. After the break.

Draft #1: Martin Frk (Furk) - Forward (RW)
Shakespeare reference in a Red Wings blog post? GOT IT! 
Pro: He's unanimously believed to have great goal scoring potential with an impressive wrist shot. He's a hard working, physical power forward who can force his way into scoring chances and has some finesse to his game as well.
Con: He suffered a concussion that hurts his long term health possibilities. There are concerns about his endurance and ability to play the kind of minutes in the NHL that would make him successful, as well as concerns about his lack of defensive and puck control responsibility.
X-Factor: Perhaps has the name most likely to be accidentally turned into an F-Bomb since A Mid Summer's Night Dream.
Prediction: He could become the kind of power forward/slot goal scorer that Red Wings need, or someone could sneeze on him and he'd never recover from the head injury. It's a Furking coin flip.

Draft #2: Jake Paterson - Goalie
Pro: Made a solid showing in the OHL, covers the bottom of the net well and is going to get a lot of time to work with his goaltending idol, Chris Osgood.
Con: He did struggle a bit, only posting a .500% win percentage and a 3.42 GAA. Also, some people see idolizing Chris Osgood as a bad thing
X-Factor: Is libel to give up weak goals due to being distracted by opposing team mates who pester him with questions like, "Which nursery rhyme are you going to use to title your next book?"
Prediction: I think the Red Wings are searching for a solid back up to Jimmy Howard so they don't have a Conklin/MacDonald situation again. Jake Paterson could be that backup, or allow another goaltender to move up from Grand Rapids, knowing that Paterson is a solid choice to shore up the goal tending situation.

Draft #3: Andreas Anthanasiou - Forward (LW)
Pro: He's supposedly one of the, if not the fastest guy in the draft and can score goals. He also fulfills the Red Wings need for at least one guy named Andreas
Con: Apparently, everything I described above is basically all the kid's got. He needs to get bigger and develop a bigger repitoire.
X-Factor: He could end up being that like Mike Vitar in the Mighty Ducks if he's really fast and can't stop.
Prediction: Pavel Bure was really fast and could score a lot of ways. Darren Helm is really fast and really strong, physical and gritty. If this kid is just fast, I don't expect much from him.

Draft #4: Michael McKee - Defense
Pro: Comes in somewhere between 6'4-6'5, about 230 lbs. He's got the size I've been looking for, he hits and takes penalties, so he's the kind of physical force/enforcer the Wings could maybe use. According to the Bruins 2011 Draft Watch he's got a pretty big shot and can make some decent passes.
Con: He's not a Brian Rafalski break out pass kind of defenseman and his overall hockey sense is questionable. This is after he switched from forward to defense.
X-Factor: Plays a mean guitar which could be a big morale booster in the locker room.
Prediction: If he can learn his position better, he sounds like he could make a good 2nd or 3rd defensive pairing, and maybe work the 2nd power play if a spot opened up. Or maybe he could be trade fodder.

Draft #5: James De Haas - Defense
Pro: Put up some good offensive numbers, few penalty minutes and shoots left. Perhaps a Nicklas Lidstrom type defenseman down the road? He's 6'2, 201lbs so he's got a good, respectable size and should be able to hold his own against most NHL forwards.
Con: Another left handed defenseman for the Red Wings. Kronwall, Ericsson, Kindl, Quincey, Smith, Janik, and Exelby (not to mention Michael McKee) all shoot left.
X-Factor: Unless he can really shine above the others, could get lost to the depth-charts. Also, he can be announced to every game with "James is in De Haas!!!!!"
Prediction: As I said before, unless he develops into a huge shining star for the Red Wings, he'll be packaged up in a deal and sent elsewhere. Maybe for the negotiation rights to someone we need.

Draft #6: Rasmus Bodin - Forward (LW)
Pro: Rasmus is 6'5, 212. He averaged almost a point per game, as well as some penalty minutes. A nice big, gritty forward who can score from Sweden - Johan Franzen move over!
Con: My previous statement is the dream, but if it was a more guaranteed shot, I would imagine this kid would go sooner. He could turn into a 3rd/4th line grinder, which isn't bad. But if we drafted him to score goals and he doesn't, he could be another bust. 
X-Factor: Rasmus is just a damned cool name. I don't care who you are. But if that's his only X-factor, and I can't make a good name joke out of it, this guy may or may not Bodin well for the Red Wings. Hey, there we go!
Prediction: The Red Wings have success with drafting Swedes late. I suspect he will start a Khylst sect in Detroit before falling victim to a terrible assassination. This may or may not be based purely on historical speculation about Grigori Rasputin. 

So there you have it. Six draft picks, six summaries and as many jokes based on the names of the people drafted. All in all, despite the Red Wings drafting Kyle Quincey again - only with a 1st round pick instead of the 4th round they spent when they drafted him the first time - they came out pretty well in this year's draft. There are definitely some guys who could become very productive and useful in Grand Rapids and in Detroit. But I also don't think any of these guys will become unyeilding succubi that will drain the Wings' resources or become dead weights around their ankles. Do we have a Datsyuk or Lidstrom in there? Maybe, probably not but maybe. More likely we've got an Ian White or Val Filppula. Either way, ladies and sirs, there's no need to panic.

We still haven't gotten to July 1st when unrestricted free agency starts. That's when you panic.  

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