Detroit Red Wings: Washington being eliminated early helps draft position

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The Anthony Mantha trade to the Washington Capitals is the gift that keeps on giving.  Not only did the Detroit Red Wings potentially land the better player in the deal, that first-round pick general manager Steve Yzerman landed in the deal just got more appealing.

Washington being eliminated from playoff contention in just five games by the Boston Bruins helps the Red Wings second of two first-round draft picks in the 2021 NHL Entry Level Draft.

It’s clear the Detroit Red Wings are focused on continuing to add as much draft capital as possible not only in 2021 but also in future NHL drafts.

Jakub Vrana scored 19 goals totaling 36 points in 50 games this past season, splitting his time between the Capitals and Red Wings.  This after recording 25 goals and 52 points in 62 games in 2020 for Washington.

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In an article written by Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press, it’s pointed out that the Washington Capitals failing to advance in the postseason and not winning their division during the regular season, will start being assigned draft position at 17th overall based on the regular-season point totals.

Helene points out that if every other team with fewer points is eliminated from the playoffs, the Detroit Red Wings via the Washington Capitals will be slotted to pick no worse than 24th overall in 2021.

The Detroit Red Wings appear poised to have two picks in the top-24 of the 2021 NHL Draft after the Boston Bruins eliminated Washington.

The Detroit Red Wings currently hold the keys to the 6th overall pick. Still, they will have an opportunity for some much-needed lottery luck for once after seemingly losing ground year after year in the NHL lottery.

I’m usually optimistic, but after seeing the playoff-bound, New York Rangers win the NHL lottery in 2020 when the Detroit Red Wings had the best odds and had been by far the worst team in hockey, I’ll never be convinced that Rangers ping-pong ball wasn’t weighted.

Alexis Lafreniere had been the highest touted first overall pick coming out since Auston Matthews, and landing in the Big Apple benefits the league from a marketing standpoint better than anywhere else in the league.

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It also comes a year after the league signed a new TV deal with ESPN as the current NBC agreement expires at season’s end, and I can’t help but wonder if that played a role.