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Wings Eyeing Defense as NHL Draft Begins Tonight


The dust will have barely settled on last night’s NBA draft (and Jim Riggleman’s hangover will have barely subsided) when the National Hockey League moves to the forefront this evening with the first round of their Entry Draft.

The Detroit Red Wings are still a week away from finding out of former all-star Jaromir Jagr will be joining the club and are coming off a conference semi-final exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Because of the annual success of the team, they typically pick low in the draft. This year is no exception as the Wings own the 24th overall selection.

Conventional wisdom is to take the best available talent at that spot, but with the Wings’ lack of depth on the blue line, but Assistant GM Jim Nill would love to see a defenseman join the organization.

"“Numbers-wise in the organization, you’d prefer a defenseman. You can never have enough defensemen. It’s a tough position to play.”"

According to Nill, it’s difficult to project which players might still be on the board when the Wings make their first pick tonight. “After the first 10 picks it’s wide open,” Nill said. “From 20 to 50 there’s a lot of the same (quality of) players.”

The writers at NHL.com seem to agree with Nill’s take on the depth of the draft as well. Four of their experts posted mock drafts recently and each had the Wings selecting a different player. Two of the four pegged defensemen, however, with one possibility being that Joseph Morrow, a defenseman with Portland of the Western Hockey League, might be the pick at 24. The other three writers each had Morrow going in the late-teens.

Mike Morreale said Morrow “Could be the steal of the first round; tough, smart and good recognition,” while projecting him as the number 17 pick to Montreal. Steven Hoffner agreed, called him a “Great puck-moving, offensive-minded blueliner. Could be a steal late in first round.”

The other defenseman projected as a possibility was Swedish blueliner Oscar Klefbom, whom Deven Persaud described as “boom or bust”, but Morreale was much higher on Klefbom, projecting him to go at number 13 to Carolina and offering a brief scouting report of “good puck mover, cannon shot, pin-point passing.” Neither of the other two writers projected Klefbom as a first-round selection, however.

The first round of the draft will be televised on Versus beginning at 7 pm.

John Parent is the Senior Editor at Motor City Bengals and MLB Director for the Fansided Network. Make sure to follow him on twitter @JohnParent_MCB.