The Detroit Red Wings are continuing to prepare for the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, with Thursday quickly approaching. The team has the no. 8 overall pick in the draft and will have plenty of talent to choose from. One thing is certain; they need to go get themselves a forward.
Something is wrong if the Detroit Red Wings do not use the eighth overall pick on a forward. They need to grab the forward that they believe is the best in the class, still available at eight. This might mean going off script and selecting someone who may not be as high on the rankings.
Fans will remember that the initial reaction to drafting Moritz Seider was not pretty. There was a lot of doubt surrounding him, especially with some of the players they left on the draft board. But, looking back, the Red Wings were the genius team who went lower on the draft rankings to get their guy.
Seider just took home a Calder Trophy award, and the Red Wings have to be more than happy with the performance that he has put on to this point. In the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, could the team be looking to grab someone who might be ranked lower in the draft rankings?
Here are three players the Detroit Red Wings should consider selecting ranked lower than eight.
The Detroit Red Wings need a forward, so for that reason, I opted to go with three forwards who are ranked lower than the Red Wings slot at eight on most boards that deserve a look. It's not to say that the Red Wings should ignore the talent ranked above eight who might fall, but these are three players to consider drafting.
This would make for a Seider situation all over again, selecting someone ranked much lower than the team's slot. That being said, let's dive into the three options.
The Detroit Red Wings need to consider Rieger Lorenz.
While his name alone is an elite one, the Detroit Red Wings should consider going to get this Alberta product. Rieger Lorenz is ranked in the mid-teens and sits at 17th on this ESPN ranking that will be used as a reference. He's a left-handed shooting center who stands 6-foot-2, weighing in at 194 pounds.
Lorenz is fresh off of a 60-game performance with the Okotoks Oilers of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL). He managed 38 goals and 47 assists for 85 total points on the season. It was quite the performance from the forward who would pack a nice punch in the Red Wing offense if the scoring can transfer over. He's a Denver commit, so he could be sent there to polish off his skills before being given an entry-level deal.
He's got the potential to be a scoring threat in the offense with quick-moving abilities and a nice shot to pair with it. The Red Wings might consider grabbing the AJHL standout at eight if his tools do grade out well, according to the Red Wings scouting staff.
The Detroit Red Wings need to consider Jagger Firkus.
Jagger Firkus, another All-Name team nominee, is someone the Detroit Red Wings could see jump up the draft board. Firkus is a product of the OHL, playing for Moose Jaw. While Firkus is a little higher in the rankings, being ranked 12th according to the ESPN article linked above, he's someone that the Red Wings might be in on.
Firkus is a right-handed shot and is versatile, being able to play any three forward positions. The knock-on Firkus is that he is 5-foot-10 and weighs just 154-pounds. He had an exceptional season with the Moose Jaw Warriors, picking up 36 goals and 44 assists for 80 total points over 66 games played.
If the Red Wings are really up on Matthew Savoie, then the team should consider going after Firkus at eight if Savoie is off the board. Firkus is a smaller buy who can make things happen offensively, and the Red Wings need to add to the offense.
Even if he's smaller, the scoring and offensive benefit are what the Red Wings need to be focused on come draft day. He's someone the team needs to have on their shortlist on draft day.
Detroit Red Wings cannot count out Frank Nazar.
While it's a bit of a reach, the Detroit Red Wings should be up on Frank Nazar. Ranked a little higher, being at 21st on the ESPN article from above, taking Nazar may be a long shot, but there's potential. He might be someone the Red Wings have on their list to trade down for, but it's hard not to like the offensive skillset here.
Nazar is another undersized forward with offensive prowess. He's a 5-foot-10, 181-pound frame, which is still more than capable of being a true offensive threat in the NHL. Nazar is coming off of a stint with the United State National Team Development Program (USNTDP), where he shined.
The center/winger has a right-handed shot and is committed to play for the University of Michigan in 2022-23. Nazar logged 56 games with the Development Program team, adding 28 goals and 42 assists for 70 total points. He also managed 15 goals and 20 assists for 35 points over 24 games against USHL teams.
Last but not least, he tallied three goals and six assists for nine total points with the U.S. National Team at the World Junior Championships. He may be smaller, but Nazar can make things happen, and the Red Wings need play-making offensive forwards.
It may be too much of a stretch at eighth overall, but there's a lot to like with Nazar.