Who will the Detroit Red Wings select when they are on the clock with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft?
Well, according to Detroit Free Press writer Helene St. James, Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman will select F Kent Johnson out of the University of Michigan.
Here is what St. James has to say about Johnson.
The buzz: Johnson’s creativity was on full display his last year in the British Columbia Hockey League (2019-20) when he recorded 41 goals and 60 assists in 52 games, boosting his points-per-game average from 0.80 to to 1.94. He adapted well to the more physical style of play in the NCAA, even as he switched from center to wing. Johnson played with Matty Beniers, anoither top-ranked 2021 draft prospect, and senior forward Luke Morgan to form a potent line.
Why he makes sense: Johnson is a talented forward who mostly played center until he got to Michigan, when he showed his adeptness at playing left wing. He’s got sky-high hockey IQ, able to find linemates with passes that others wouldn’t even think of. (In that regard, he should remind Wings fans of Thomas Vanek, who in his brief stints with the team showed a dazzling capacity for finding lanes. Of course, it helps when there’s someone who can finish on those scoring chances.) Under Michigan coach Mel Pearson, Johnson nourished his offensive skills while also honing his forechecking. He’s a smooth skater, adept on breakouts, and fearless with the puck. Like everyone else his age, he needs to gain strength, but as he matures into his body, he projects to be a two-way, top-six forward.
Nation, how would you like this pick?