The Detroit Red Wings have a chance to really increase the odds of the rebuild being a success with two first round picks in the upcoming 2021 NHL Draft. Detroit was able to acquire a second 1st round pick from the Washington Capitals via a trade for Anthony Mantha. The Wings acquired two picks, one 1st round, one 2nd round as well as Jakub Vrana, and Richard Panik for Mantha back in April. This gives General Manager Steve Yzerman a prime opportunity to address any needs he sees necessary. Young talent like Seider, Raymond, and Veleno already gets the fan base excited for the upcoming seasons, but a solid draft here could really solidify the rebuild and turn the team into a competitor for years to come. In this article I will do my best in guessing where the Red Wings will go in the upcoming draft and build some excitement for the team’s future.
The Detroit Red Wings have the 6th and 22nd overall picks in the first round this upcoming year. The team has twelve total picks for the 2021 NHL Draft. Yzerman acquired picks from Montreal, New York Rangers, Washington Capitals, Edmonton Oilers, and the Tampa Bay Lightning. The team also holds the third round pick of the Las Vegas Golden Knights that was acquired by the previous General Manager Kenny Holland for forward Tomas Tatar back in 2018. It’s fair to say Steve Yzerman has been a busy man since being hired as the GM back on April 19th 2019.
Let’s focus on the two first round picks for the Wings. In my opinion the Wings need to utilize these two picks on players that have the highest ceiling when it comes to potential regardless of position. My eyes stare towards goaltender Jesper Wallstedt from the SHL with pick #6. The Wings already have a solid group of young forwards, and appear to have their blue line solidifying with Moritz Seider joining the team next season. The young goaltender has a ton of potential with only being 18 years of age and coming off a solid season with Lulea HF of the SHL. The young netminder went 12-10-0 on the year with a 2.23 GAA. Detroit has never been shy of taking players from Sweden and Wallstedt would fit that profile. The young goalie stands 6’3” and is 214lbs, within the last decade the mold of NHL goaltenders has become tall, lengthy players who can handle the puck. Wallstedt being only 18 years of age has already grown to fit this new figure. If the Wings do decide to use the 6th overall pick on the Sweedish goaltender, I don’t see him coming stateside for a couple more years as he continues to grow his game in Sweden. However it will be fun to watch him grow, similar to how fans watched Seider play a dominant role in the SHL.
The 22nd overall pick was a little tougher to predict as we all know the draft takes some wild twists and turns throughout day one. A name that continues to come up is Brennan Othmann. This name should ring some bells for fans of the Flint Firebirds as he played for them during the 2019-20 season. The Canadian born player played on loan for EHC Olten of the Swiss League during the pandemic. The young winger played in 34 games for the team tallying 18 points. Othmann has some features that really have made him standout, including a hard shot and a quick release. Brennan, being only 18 years of age himself, will also be a player that you may see spend years either overseas or back in Canada before making a NHL debut regardless of what teams decide to take him. Othmann stands 6’0” and is around 175lbs, so yes he is not Seider but if these Stanley Cup Playoffs have taught us anything, the size of the player is not everything.