During the 2021 NHL Draft, the Detroit Red Wings made eight selections. General manager Steve Yzerman was a busy man on draft night, making three draft-day trades in the process. In two of those trades, Yzerman moved up in the first and second round, while also moving down in the fourth round.
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Simon Edvinsson, D, Frolunda-SHL (Round 1, Pick 6)
Sebastian Cossa, G, Edmonton-WHL (Round 1, Pick 15)
Shai Buium, D, Sioux City-USHL (Round 2, Pick 36)
Carter Mazur, LW, Tri-City-USHL (Round 3, Pick 70)
Redmond Savage, C, USA U18-NTDP (Round 4, Pick 114)
Liam Dower Nilsson, C, Frolunda-SHL (Round 5, Pick 134)
Oscar Plandowski, D, Charlottetown-QMJHL (Round 5, Pick 155)
Pasquale Zito, LW, Windsor-OHL (Round 6, Pick 166)
The Red Wings’ trend of selecting players from certain regions continued in 2021. After being one of the most frequent international drafters in the NHL, this draft class only features two players who aren’t from North America. Coincidentally, the two players are both products of the Frolunda system in Sweden’s SHL.
Best Pick: Simon Edvinsson
Edvinsson’s skating prowess and skill in his own zone make him a great stay-at-home defenseman. He also has skill in the offensive zone, but it’s something that will need to continue to be developed. The Red Wings love their defensive-minded defenseman, so Edvinsson could be on his way to playing in the perfect system.
Worst Pick: Pasquale Zito
Zito he didn’t play at all last season, making him the choice for the team’s most underwhelming pick. With the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) suspending play last in 2020-2021, there is no way to tell how much Zito has progressed or regressed. Time will tell if this changes, but for now, Zito ends up in this spot.
Sleeper Pick: Carter Mazur
Last year was a huge breakout year for Mazur. After scoring only 13 points in 47 games during the 2019-20 season, he had 44 points in 47 games in the USHL during the 2020-2021 campaign. That performance certainly turned a few eyebrows, making him a great sleeper candidate. If he can keep up that level of production and find more ways to score, he could be a big addition for Detroit. Not to mention, fans of the Red Wings will adore him, knowing he hails from Detroit, MI.
One of the Red Wings’ biggest needs, which became very apparent after last season, was the necessity for a scoring presence. Yzerman addressed that during the 2021 NHL Draft. Not only does he have several forwards that can score in Mazur, Savage, and Nilsson, but he selected a couple of defensemen who have some scoring touch in Buium and Plandowski. Not to mention, getting their goalie of the future to potentially pair with Alex Nedeljkovic in Cossa will surely provide stability in the crease moving forward. Red Wings fans will have a lot of names to track from this class as the years go by.
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