There is another Draft on the way. The Detroit Red Wings will add another group of prospects to their organization next month. Brady Tkachuk is the best case scenario for pick number six.
The Buffalo Sabres won the NHL draft lottery last week. They will select budding Sweedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin with the first overall pick barring a minor miracle. After that, things start to get a little hazier. Over the next couple months, we will be looking at the players that might make up the first wave of the next Detroit Red Wings draft class.
Unlike the NFL, these players are not going to make an immediate impact. Normally they spend one or two more years after their draft in either the CHL, or NCAA. Even then, they join the Grand Rapids Griffins for another year or two before entering the NHL as a rookie. Even most of the top ten picks usually spend one more year at a lower level.
If the Red Wings are looking for an immediate contributor, they may need to move up from the sixth pick in the draft. They have the Vegas Golden Knights first-round draft pick as extra ammunition. They acquired it in the Thomas Tatar trade earlier this year. One player they might consider moving up for is the Boston University left wing Brady Tkachuk. He has earned a ranking no worse than fifth on any of the major prospect lists. He is the number two prospect in the draft according to NHL central scouting.
Tkachuk is already a big guy. At 6’3″ and 196lbs he already has the requisite size to play in the NHL. Unlike a lot of 18-year-olds, he is very aware of how to use his size. Brady’s brother Matthew made an immediate impact for the Calgary Flames. The difference between the two as prospects is that Brady is a bigger, faster, and more offensively gifted version of his older brother.
Tkachuk is an agitator of the first order. He is a tough, gritty, and driven winger with the puckhandling ability to make plays in the hard to reach areas of the ice. He scored eight goals, and 31 points in his freshman season with the Terriers. That doesn’t sound like much to an NHL fan, but the Terriers only played 40 games, and Tkachuk made the NCAA Hockey East All-Rookie team.
Unlike a lot of big players, Tkachuk goes from a stop to full speed in a moment. The new NHL is all about speed. That is not likely to change with players like the Red Wings Dylan Larkin fronting the league’s youth movement. It used to be that a team could bump and grind their way to victories. The Edmonton Oilers proved last season that building a team for size is no longer a recipe for success in the NHL. A big player still needs to be able to keep up.
The Red Wings are just outside the sweet spot for finding immediate impact in the 2018-19 draft. They may need to put in some calls to get a deal done if they’d like to add Tkachuk to their prospect list.