Wings draft centers, lots of centers, on second day of draft

When Red Wings director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright said, "You can’t have enough centermen," he wasn’t kidding.

After taking Waterford, Mich. native Dylan Larkin, a center, in the first round, the Wings took four more centers on the second day of the draft.

The Wings did not have a second-round pick but moved up in the third round to take center Dominic Turgeon, the son of former NHL player Pierre Turgeon, with the third pick, 63rd overall.

The Columbus Blue Jackets received the Wings’ No. 76 and a 2015 third-round pick for 63.

In the fourth round, the Wings took Swedish center Christoffer Ehn with the 106th overall pick.

In the fifth round, the Wings veered away from centermen to take a goaltender, Chase Perry, with the 136th pick.

In the sixth round, the Wings took Finnish left wing Julius Vahatalo with the 166th pick.

In the seventh round, the Wings selected Swedish center Axel Holmstrom (no relation to former Wing Tomas Holmstrom) with the 196th pick.

Also in the seventh round, the Wings took Russian center Alexander Kadeykin with the 201st overall pick.

Pierre Turgeon, who was the first overall pick in 1987 by Buffalo, joined his son in Philadelphia for the draft. 

Wings take Michigan native Dylan Larkin in first round of draft

Pierre played 1,294 games for the Sabres, New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche.

Pierre was known for his offense, scoring 515 goals and 812 assists in his career. 

"I guess we’re pretty different," Dominic told reporters in Philadelphia. "He was a highly offensive player in the NHL. I feel that right now my game is very strong defensively. But I feel as time goes on my offensive game is going to really jump."

Dominic had 10 goals, 21 assists and was plus-18 in 65 games with the Portland Winterhawks this past season.

Born in Quebec but raised in Colorado, Dominic didn’t really favor one team growing up.

"I was always a fan of my dad’s team," Dominic said. "That was really big for me. He was always my idol; wherever he was playing was always my favorite team at the time."

Just because Pierre never played for the Wings doesn’t mean Dominic doesn’t know a lot about them.

"I know they are an unbelievable organization," Dominic said. "I couldn’t be more happy with where I went and I know they develop really well.

"I’ve always obviously liked watched Pavel Datsyuk. He’s an unbelievable player and I love the way he plays the game. He’s so smart."

Wright said the Wings would have taken Turgeon if they had a second-round pick and were happy to be able to move up in the third to take him.

The Wings liked the fact that Turgeon has NHL bloodlines.

"You can tell by the way he plays, he’s got great hockey sense, played on a team where he kind of got moved back because of a lot of older and high-skilled guys who are moving on now," Wright told reporters in Philadelphia. "He’s going to inherit a little bit of a bigger role next year and we hope his scoring ability will show. But we’re really excited about getting him where we did."

The Wings have taken a player from Sweden in every draft since 1993 and this year was no exception.

Hakan Andersson, the Wings director of European scouting, was also in Philadelphia for the draft, and spoke about Ehn, the fourth-round pick.

"The coaches were thrilled with the potential," Andersson told reporters in Philadelphia. "Good hockey sense, always looking around to make plays but has a lot of work to do. He’s lean. He’s 6-3. He’s a tall kid, needs to fill in. I got good hopes for him. He’s got some raw stuff you can’t really teach."

Ehn, 18, had four goals and seven assists in 45 games with Frolunda Jr. and eight goals and 10 assists in 15 games with Sweden’s Under-18 team.

Ehn will attend the Wings’ development camp in Traverse City early next month.

Like Larkin, fifth-round pick Perry is heading to college next year. The Minnesota native will attend Colorado College.

"Goaltenders need to develop, they need to be coached," Wright said. "He’s a big kid, an athletic kid, so hopefully we can start molding these guys in the right direction."

In 35 games with Wenatchee of the NAHL last season, Perry had a 2.34 goals-against average and .905 save percentage.

The Wings’ sixth-rounder, Vahatalo, was spotted by the Wings’ Finnish scout, Ari Vouri.

"He’s 6-foot-5, biggest of them all," Andersson said. "He was injured quite a bit. Played for TPS in Finnish league, that’s where Ari Vouri lives. He knows him very well. He was injured and came back and played well for them. They put him up on the men’s team, too. I saw him a couple of games. Very big, skates well. Very lean also. Has 2-3 years hard work just to fill out to normal size for a 6-foot-5 guy but has ability. He was a real point-producing junior before he got injured, over a point per game. We’re hoping if he comes back from that we might have a guy there."

Vahatalo, 19, had 18 points and 21 assists in 33 games with TPS Jr. and three goals in 18 games with TPS.

The Wings took another Swede with the first of their two seventh-round picks, Holmstrom.

"He’s a centerman, a really hard worker," Andersson said. "He’s a 6-foot guy but weighs 195 pounds, he’s really committed to training and has good hockey sense. He played center for Sweden under-18 team. Played with (William) Nylander. They found some chemistry. He has some point-producing ability and really works hard. He has a chance to make the world junior team."

Holmstrom had 15 goals and 23 assists in 33 games with Skelleftea Jr.

The Wings’ second seventh-round pick, Kadeykin, turns 21 in October.

"He’s a 93-born playing in the KHL," Wright said. "A big-body guy who had a real good year. Nikolai (Vakourov), our Russian scout, really liked him and thought he’d be a great pick and a great steal for the seventh round. He was there for us so we took him."

Kadeykin had eight goals and 15 assists in 54 games with Mytischi and 14 goals and 29 assists in 26 games for Mytischi Jr.

"They were a poor team this year, didn’t make the playoffs in the KHL, but as a 20-year old I think he was their first or second-line center and he was plus-17, which is good," Andersson said. "He’s a big guy, too. 6-foot-4 and has some hands. Has a little work on the skating but his skating is good enough to play in the KHL as a 20-year old, so it’s not all bad."

Although many believed the Wings would try to add more defensemen to the system, they ended up not drafting a single one, instead opting for centers.

"We always take the best player," Andersson said. "If we end up with eight defensemen, if they’re just good enough, we can trade a few of them for other assets. Calle Jarnkrok was a good prospect for us, we traded him because we needed urgent help. We looked down our lineup before this draft and we were a little bit thin at center.

"We have a bunch of guys that if one pans out, we might have a centerman for (Anthony) Mantha one day. That’s what we’re hoping. We’ll see. Draft a bunch of guys and then hope."


Round 1, No. 15: C Dylan Larkin, 6’0", 190 lbs., USA U-18 (USHL)

Round 3, No. 63: C Dominic Turgeon, 6’1", 198 lbs., Portland (WHL)

Round 4, No. 106: C Christoffer Ehn, 6’3", 181 lbs., Frolunda Jr. (Sweden)

Round 5, No. 136: G Chase Perry, 6’2", 189 lbs., Wenatchee (NAHL)

Round 6, No. 166: LW Julius Vahatalo, 6’5", 191 lbs., TPS Jr. (Finland)

Round 7, No. 196: C Axel Holmstrom, 6’0", 198 lbs., Skelleftea Jr. (Sweden)

Round 7, No. 201: C Alexander Kadeykin, 6’3", 213 lbs., Mytischi (Russia)