The first round of the 2021 NHL Draft is in the books and the Detroit Red Wings have two new players in their system as they selected D Simon Edvinsson at No. 6 and traded up to select G Sebastian Cossa at No. 15.
But did Steve Yzerman make the correct picks in those slots?
According to Scott Wheeler of The Athletic, the Red Wings had a solid draft but they “definitely” would have been better off had they selected two different players.
Here is what Wheeler has to say about the Red Wings’ first-round picks and what Yzerman should have done.
Pick: 6. Simon Edvinsson
My ranking: No. 11 (change: +5)
Pick: 15. Sebastian Cossa
My ranking: No. 19 (change: +4)
I understand the urge to take Edvinsson here, even knowing that the Red Wings pool is relatively loaded with big D prospects with Moritz Seider, Antti Tuomisto, and William Wallinder. He finished at the back end of the top group on my draft board, but he started the year ranked second on my preseason list in September after wowing me in SHL preseason action at the time. I still think the holes are greater for the Red Wings in terms of impact forwards than defensemen, and I think both William Eklund and Dylan Guenther are better prospects even without considering that need, but Edvinsson’s true ceiling is hard to pass on. He’s got unbelievable hands for a 6-foot-4 defenseman, he plays a fearless game with and without the puck, and his length allows him to fill space defensively. The raw tools are there. He’s got work to do on his shot and his decision-making, but the idea of him is really exciting.
The Cossa pick made a ton of sense at 15, even though I’m partial to Wallstedt as the better of the two goalie prospects in this draft. I wondered whether the acquisition of Alex Nedeljkovic would deter the Red Wings from going after a clear need in their pool in net, but there comes a point in any draft where you have to go after your guy and they would have done their homework on Cossa this season well before the Nedeljkovic deal. The Red Wings have also taken and/or acquired a ton of goalie prospects in recent years, but the best of that bunch (Keith Petruzzelli) remains a bit of a long shot. Cossa isn’t.
Do I think they would have been better off with Eklund and Wallstedt with their two picks? Yes. Definitely. But that doesn’t mean you should be too sour about the direction they did go.
Nation, do you agree that Yzerman made the right picks?