No consensus on player Wings will draft with No. 15 pick
The Detroit Red Wings don't get high draft picks very often. They will pick 15th overall Friday night in Philadelphia, their highest since 1991, but there's no consensus about whom the Wings might take.
"Skills are very good but when you combine that with a determination that is excellent, you get a player who can make a difference and Kevin does," McKenzie said. "Plays where it matters and has the ability to deliver and unnerve opponents."
Kyle Woodlief of Red Line Report has the Wings taking right wing David Pastrnak of Sodertalje. Pastrnak is a Czech Republic native playing in Sweden.
NHL.com's three mock drafts all have the Wings taking different players.
Adam Kimelman believes the Wings are looking at the blue line and will select defenseman Jack Dougherty from the U.S. under-18 team.
"Red Wings have added youth and skill to their forward group the past few years," Kimelman wrote. "Now is the time to focus on smart, skilled defensemen."
NHL.com's Mike Morreale agreed with Kimelman on picking a defenseman, but they differed on which one.
Morreale has the Wings taking Julius Honka from Swift Current.
"Played a key role for Finland at the 2014 World Junior Championship," Morreale said. "Excelled in his first North American season with 16 goals and 56 points in 62 games; good awareness and excels on the power play."
But NHL.com's Steven Hoffner believes the Wings will take another forward, Adrian Kempe, a right wing from Modo Jr.
"The big, smooth-skating forward would fill a need up front for an aging forward group," Hoffner said.
Rotoworld.com's Michael Finewax has the Wings taking left wing Brendan Perlini from Niagara.
We want passionate, hard-working players who won't stop at anything to get into the National Hockey League.
"The second-best skater in the draft along with the third-best shot, according to McKeen's, Perlini had 34 goals and 71 points for Niagara of the OHL," Finewax said. "Every team is looking for a goal scorer and Perlini could be the best of this bunch. He had trouble in the playoffs as he is not a physical player and he still needs to work on his defensive game."
Of course, much depends on which players go with the first 14 picks, but the Wings' director of amateur scouting, Tyler Wright, likes the position the Wings are in.
"We're confident we're going to get a good player at 15," Wright told Mlive.com. "Whether it's a forward or defenseman, we'll take the best player available.
"We just got to get good players. We want passionate, hard-working players who won't stop at anything to get into the National Hockey League. Passion and character are big to me."
For many years, because the Wings were picking so late in the first round, they opted for smaller, skilled players like Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Teemu Pulkkinen.
But that has changed a bit in the last several drafts.
Riley Sheahan (2010) is 6-2, 212 pounds; Tomas Jurco (2011) is 6-2, 193; Martin Frk (2012) is 6-foot, 193; and Anthony Mantha (2013) is 6-4, 190.
"You can still have smaller players, but you have to surround them with bigger players," Wright told Mlive.com. "Size is something we definitely will take into consideration."
One certainty in every Wings draft is that they will take a player from Sweden.
Some of that is likely to do with Hakan Andersson, the Wings' director of European scouting, who is based in Stockholm.
Wright seemed to dismiss that a bit.
"Passports are really irrelevant," Wright told Mlive.com. "We have to be visionaries. We have to start projecting who's going to be the best player four to five years down the road. The Red Wings have done a tremendous job developing players once you get them in the system."
However, the last time the Wings did not take a player from Sweden was 1992, the year they drafted Darren McCarty in the second round.
The Wings do not have a second-round pick as they traded it to the Nashville Predators along with prospect Calle Jarnkrok for David Legwand at the trade deadline.
In addition to 15, the Wings have picks 76, 106, 136, 166, 196 and 201.
The draft starts at 7 p.m. Friday on the NBC Sports Network.