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  • Writer's pictureGarth Wickham

Five Targets For the Red Wings at 9th Overall

Canada v Slovakia: Quarterfinals - 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Another year, another draft lottery disappointment in Detroit.

On Monday night, the NHL draft lottery was held in the NHL Network's New Jersey Studios. It was revealed that the Chicago Blackhawks would move up two spots and have the opportunity to draft a franchise cornerstone in Connor Bedard mere months after the Kane/Toews era.

The Red Wings will select ninth overall in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, the same position they selected Michael Rasmussen in 2017. While adding Connor Bedard or Adam Fantilli would have been a critical piece for Detroit to return to contention, many intriguing players will still be on the board when the Red Wings are on the board.

Using public experts' rankings and TSN's Bob McKenzie's ranking, where he polls ten different NHL scouts, here are five players that could be in range with Detroit's first of two picks in the first round of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.

Ryan Leonard


Pronman: 13th

Wheeler: 11th

McKenzie: 7th

Elite Prospects: 7th

Leonard has been a quick riser over the past few months, scoring 51 goals and 94 points in 57 games on one of the best lines the USNTDP has seen and scored the gold-medal winning goal at the World U18 Championships. Leonard plays a high-tempo game with plenty of skill and isn't afraid to engage physically.

The 5 '11, 190-pound right-winger is committed to Boston College next season along with his current linemates Will Smith and Gabe Perreault. Leonard would bring a scoring element that Detroit's prospect pool desperately lacks and fits the mold of what the Red Wings amateur scouting team has valued since Steve Yzerman took over.

Oliver Moore


Daily Faceoff: 9th

Pronman: 19th

Wheeler: 7th

McKenzie: Outside Top-12

Elite Prospects: 6th

Hidden behind one of the best draft-eligible lines we have seen, Oliver Moore has gone under the radar with the USNTDP this season. The 5 '11 University of Minnesota commit scored 31 goals and 77 points in 61 games this season, which was fourth with the program.

Moore's draft year is not too dissimilar to Dylan Larkin's. Larkin was behind a high-end first line that included Jack Eichel up the middle and wasn't able to get those top offensive minutes. Moore never really got a look on the top line or the top power-play unit this season, forcing him to become more of a line driver. Moore is regarded as one of, if not the best, skater in the 2023 class. The Red Wings still have a need for a top-six center, and one with Moore's profile is enticing.

Dalibor Dvorsky


Daily Faceoff: 11th

Pronman: 8th

Wheeler: 9th

McKenzie: 6th

Elite Prospects: 17th

A divisive prospect who has been ranked up-and-down public draft boards all season. Dvorsky is a competitive two-way center who has risen his stock significantly with his dominant World U18 Championship performance, scoring eight goals and 13 points for Slovakia, helping them finish fourth in the tournament.

Playing with AIK in the HockeyAllsvenskan, Dvorsky appeared in 38 games, scoring six goals and eight assists, while also adding ten goals and 11 assists in ten J20 appearances. Dvorsky's shot is among the top in the draft class and can finish plays all over the offensive zone. The Red Wings desperately need offense on the roster and in the system, and Dvorsky would fit the bill.

Brayden Yager


Daily Faceoff: 21st

Pronman: 16th

Wheeler: 14th

McKenzie: Outside Top-12

Brayden Yager has all the tools to be a guaranteed top-ten pick, but after finishing this season with fewer goals than last season, there are questions as to what his ceiling is. In 67 games this season with Moose Jaw, Yager scored 28 goals and 50 assists, which ranked second on the Warriors.

What has helped Yager's stock was his WHL playoff performance, where he scored six goals and 16 points in ten games before the Winnipeg Ice knocked the Warriors out. Yager plays with speed and has a lethal release that rivals the top players in the draft. With compete and being a right-handed center who can shoot, Yager fills a need in Detroit's pipeline.

Zach Benson


Daily Faceoff: 7th

Pronman: 17th

Wheeler: 6th

Elite Prospects: 5th

While it seemed at one point that Zach Benson was a surefire top-five pick in this year's draft, the performances of others such as Will Smith and Ryan Leonard, there's a reality where he is available at ninth.

Benson was arguably the best player on one of the best teams in the WHL, a Winnipeg team that includes Matt Savoie and Conor Geekie, who was drafted in the top-15 last year. In 60 games, Benson led the Ice in scoring 36 goals and 98 points.

While being 5'9 and 160 pounds, Benson was one of the best defensive forwards in the WHL, as he was relied on heavily late in games and on the penalty kill. Benson possesses elite skills that, outside of Lucas Raymond, the Red Wings organization doesn't have. The Red Wings drafted Raymond fourth overall in 2020, who had a very similar profile to Benson both in stature and playing style.

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