Inside the Article:
In what seems to be a broken record that Detroit Red Wings fans have to listen to every spring, their team got absolutely zero luck when it came to the National Hockey League Draft Lottery. They once again were unable to move up in the Lottery, having to settle for the 9th overall selection. Meanwhile, the Chicago Blackhawks now have the opportunity to select phenom forward Connor Bedard, coincidently (or not, in the minds of some) in the same offseason in which Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are no longer part of the team. But that's a topic for another day.
Why It Matters – Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman has made four Round 1 Draft selections so far
Since returning to the Red Wings in April of 2019 to take over as general manager from Ken Holland, Yzerman has made four Round 1 draft selections. Let's take a look at where they rank in terms of success so far – and we have them in the order they were taken.
2019 Round 1 Selection: D Moritz Seider
The obvious and so far most-successful Yzerman Round 1 Draft selection to date, Moritz Seider, was seen as a bit of a reach by analysts and even fans when the announcement was made that even had the young German defenseman himself stunned.
However, Seider immediately made an impact on the Red Wings upon his NHL debut in the 2021-22 season, playing with the poise of a seasoned veteran and giving Detroit their first true bonafide No. 1 defenseman since the great Nicklas Lidstrom. He would become Detroit's first Calder Trophy winner since the mid-1960s.
2020 Round 1 Selection: F Lucas Raymond
Fans can be excused for not having done much research on Swedish forward Lucas Raymond, as it was naturally assumed by most that because they finished the 2019-20 season with by far the worst NHL record that they'd land the top pick and draft Quebec Major Junior Hockey League forward Alexis Lafrienere (who hasn't exactly lived up to expectations while playing with the New York Rangers).
However, Detroit would inexplicably fall to 4th in the Draft Lottery and would use the pick on the aforementioned Raymond, who would provide an immediate scoring punch with 23 goals his rookie season. While his production would dip in his second year in the NHL, Detroit still has faith that Raymond will rebound from the dreaded “sophomore slump” and continue his development into a consistent offensive performer.
2021 Round 1 Selection: D Simon Edvinsson
Already having had luck with Swedes in their system in years past, the Red Wings took Swedish blue liner Simon Edvinsson with the 6th overall pick in 2021. After one year playing with Frölunda HC in his native Sweden, Edvinsson would make the jump to North America in 2022-23 by suiting up for the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins.
He would also make his NHL debut for the Red Wings, playing in nine games and showing flashes that he has the tools to play at the top level. Look for him to earn a full-time roster spot next season.
2022 Round 1 Selection: F Marco Kasper
Once again receiving absolutely no luck in the NHL Draft Lottery, the Red Wings would make Austrian forward Marco Kasper their top selection with the No. 8 overall pick.
After scoring eight goals in 52 games with Rögle BK of the SHL, Kasper earned his first NHL call-up by Detroit last month for his first and only professional game in North America to date. He enjoyed a feisty outing against the Maple Leafs, during which he suffered a broken kneecap. His estimated recovery time was listed as approximately six weeks. He'll compete for a roster spot when the team gathers for Training Camp in northern Michigan this fall.
Yzerman's Tampa Bay Lightning Round 1 Draft Picks
Yzerman also brought several key players to the Tampa Bay Lightning during his tenure as their general manager from 2010 to 2018. How do they rank?
2012 Round 1 Selection: G Andrei Vasilevskiy
Oh, what could have been. Yzerman would fleece the Red Wings by sending defenseman Kyle Quincey, whom the Lightning had just acquired from the Colorado Avalanche, back to Detroit, where he was initially drafted in exchange for a first-round draft pick in 2012 and prospect Sébastien Piché. Yzerman used that first-round pick to take Russian goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who has gone on to become one of the best players in hockey at the position with two Stanley Cup rings, the Conn Smythe Trophy, the Vezina Trophy, and five NHL All-Star game appearances.
2013 Round 1 Selection: F Jonathan Drouin
The selection of Drouin came with plenty of upsides. Still, thanks to a multitude of injury woes as well as perceived attitude issues, Yzerman would swing a significant trade in June of 2017 by sending him to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, who has gone on to be one of Tampa's most valuable players.
2011 Round 1 Selection: F Vladislav Namestnikov
If this name sounds familiar to Red Wings fans, there's a good reason. He would spend a season and a half with the Red Wings, scoring 21 goals in 113 regular season games before being dealt at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline.
But before his reunion with Yzerman in Detroit, the latter brought him to the NHL with Tampa Bay's Round 1 pick in the 2011 NHL Draft. The Russian forward would play three and a half years for the Lightning before being dealt to the New York Rangers in 2018. He would then play stints with the Ottawa Senators and Colorado Avalanche before signing with Detroit in 2020.
In 630 career NHL games, Namestnikov has scored a total of 261 points.
2010 Round 1 Selection: F Brett Connolly
Yzerman's first draft pick as general manager of the Lightning was defensive-minded forward Brett Connolly from the WHL's Prince George Cougars. After scoring 18 goals over parts of four years with the Lightning, Connolly would be dealt to the Boston Bruins and later sign a free agent deal with the Washington Capitals, with whom he would win the 2018 Stanley Cup.
2014 Round 1 Selection: D Tony DeAngelo
No stranger to controversy in recent years that included a fight with his own teammate in the dressing room, DeAngelo was taken by the Lightning and Yzerman with the 19th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. However, he would only see action with Tampa's AHL affiliate Syracuse Crunch, where he ran afoul of the team due to reported behavioral issues and poor defensive play.
He's bounced around the NHL since then, suiting up for the Arizona Coyotes, New York Rangers, Carolina Hurricanes, and currently, the Philadelphia Flyers. In 340 career games, he's scored 199 points.
2017 Round 1 Selection: D Cal Foote
Taken with the 17th overall pick in 2017, Foote is the son of former Colorado Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote. Now with the Nashville Predators after being dealt at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline, Foote has appeared in 141 career games, scoring 19 points.
2016 Round 1 Selection: F Brett Howden
Howden, who was taken with the 27th overall selection in 2016, never saw action with the Lightning. He would be traded to the New York Rangers (along with Vladislav Namestnikov) as part of the package that landed them former New York captain Ryan McDonagh.
He's currently with the Vegas Golden Knights and has a total of 82 points in 279 NHL games played.
2012 Round 1 Selection: D Slater Koekkoek
Taken with the 12th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, the physical blue liner would play parts of five seasons with the Lightning before eventually sliding on the depth chart and being dealt to the Chicago Blackhawks. He's currently with the Edmonton Oilers organization but has not played since the 2021-22 season in order to deal with mental health issues that include anxiety.
Wrapping It Up: The Red Wings will select 9th in the 2023 NHL Draft
It's a frustrating reality that the Red Wings haven't drafted any higher than 3rd overall since selecting Keith Primeau in 1990.
However, some of the best players in team history were taken well into their respective Drafts, and there's no reason to believe Detroit's brain trust can't find another diamond in the rough this time around.