By now, you have probably read one of a few articles penned that illustrates Red Wings’ General Manager Ken Holland’s possible interest in moving the 6th overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. This, of course, is a topic we seem to always hit every offseason just weeks away from the draft — is it worth the risk to move up or down?
I say it every year, and I’ll say it again — moving up is almost always too expensive. The only player I’m moving up to get is Rasmus Dahlin, and the Buffalo Sabres aren’t nearly dumb enough to pull the trigger on that. This will not be a debate that I take part in.
However you look at it, the Red Wings are set to have a really good player fall into their laps at 6th overall. Whether it’s a forward, or a defenseman, it could be one of the following:
- Quinn Hughes (D)
- Adam Boqvist (D)
- Oliver Wahlstrom (F)
- Evan Bouchard (D)
The Red Wings have been long searching for a blue-chip defenseman who they could restore a struggling blue line with. Perhaps not immediately, but in the foreseeable future. Ken Holland has two 1st-round picks to work with, and when you take it into consideration, the 2nd-round pick from Ottawa (via NYR) could be considered another late first. If they’re open to moving down in the draft, it had better be a home run deal.
Now, what defines a home run deal? Moving into the top-10 should come at a premium cost for any team. The 6th pick should return multiple picks or high end prospects. One deal that comes to mind that could be palatable would be trading 6th overall and the Vegas 1st round pick to the New York Islanders for the 10th and 11th picks in the 1st round. Even then, it would really depend on who is falling down the draft order for me to be comfortable pulling the trigger.
The Athletic says the Red Wings have shown a lot of interest in Jesperi Kotkaniemi, the 17-year-old centerman playing for Ässät in Liiga. Perhaps they see an opportunity where they could get both Kotkaniemi and another promising defenseman like Bode Wilde, Ty Smith, or Noah Dobson. A haul like that could warrant a bold move, but a bold move can only come with a calculated risk.
The Red Wings can afford to take some risks like this, I think. It’s hard to see if they will get a ready-made NHL player at 6th overall, but what will players like Hughes, Boqvist, Bouchard, and Wahlstrom develop into? That’s the risk you take. Personally, I think it’s always worth having more picks, but the organization already has a heap of picks in this draft. Trading out of the top-10 should only come if you’re swinging for the fences.
Another interesting thought is trading 6th overall along with a high 2nd round pick with the Chicago Blackhawks for 8th overall and 27th overall. This move could potentially net you three picks in the top 31. Are teams willing to make these moves? It’s hard to say, but there’s no doubt that the idea has to be out there. A move with Chicago on that level could bring you a haul of Isaac Lundestrom, Ty Smith, and the flexibility to take a high-risk chance on a player like Ryan Merkley.
So, at face value, it’s easy to say “just stick with what you’ve got, and play it safe.” I’m totally fine with that.. But the thought of turning 6th overall into a haul of 1st round picks is something you simply have to consider. If I’m a bettin’ man, I’d say my money is on Ken Holland listening to offers, but keeping his cards close to the chest.
All that being said, the Red Wings need another blue chip prospect to add to the cupboard, but taking quantity while still having quality in mind is a move they should be willing to think about.