Red Wings select defenseman, two forwards in Round 2 of 2020 Draft


By @MichaelCaples –

Even with trading down to acquire more picks, the Red Wings had three picks in the second round of the 2020 NHL Draft Wednesday afternoon, and they traveled the globe to fill the spots.

Detroit selected Swedish defenseman William Wallinder No. 32 overall to kick off Day 2 of the annual selection process, before acquiring fellow Swede Theodor Niederbach, a center, at No. 51 and Texas native Cross Hanas, a left winger, at No. 55.

The Wings originally possessed the No. 45 pick, trading it to Los Angeles for picks No. 51 and 97.

Detroit still has seven picks through Rounds 3-7 – No. 63, No. 65, No. 97, No. 107, No. 125, No. 156 and No. 187.

In Wallinder, the Wings acquire a 6-foot-4 defenseman that is compared to Conn Smythe winner Victor Hedman by NHL Central Scouting. His favorite player growing up is Sharks star Erik Karlsson.

“Big, mobile, two-way defenseman with good passing skills and hockey sense,” NHL Central Scouting says of Wallinder, who recorded 24 points in 37 games with Modo’s top junior team in 2019-2020. “Plays with confidence and authority. Likes to join the offense.”

Wallinder was ranked No. 14 among European skaters in the NHLCS final rankings, while he was ranked No. 20 by TSN’s Craig Button and No. 32 by Future Considerations.

“Wallinder towers over the competition, standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 194 pounds – there’s plenty of room for him to fill out that frame,” From the EliteProspects draft guide, which had him ranked No. 47. “He might be the most technically skilled skater among all defenceman in this draft. He’s a great puck-carrier, eager to lead his team up the ice, and with a great deal of initiative in creative offensive chances.”

Niederbach, the second Swedish forward claimed by Detroit in the 2020 Draft after they took Lucas Raymond at No. 4 overall, checks in at 5-foot-11 and 172 pounds. Skating with Frolunda’s top junior team this fall, he has recorded 15 points in nine games.

After missing an entire year because of surgery to address knee joint issues, Niederbach is an intriguing prospect who may have had a higher draft stock had he competed in 2018-19.

In 2019-2020, he posted 48 points in 40 games with Frolunda, and seven points in eight games at the U18 Worlds.

An EliteProspects article calls him “the best 2020 prospect you’ve never heard of,” while his draft guide write-up gives another favorable review.

“He maintains a detailed mental map of the ice that allows quick decisions and a heightened read on incoming pressure. Defensively, he maintains an above-the-puck posture and suffocates opposition puck-carriers. He’s so dialed in off the puck, capable of making the right reads and knowing when he can switch from his man and give his teammate support.”

Four picks later, the Wings claimed Hanas, who possesses a great hockey name with ‘Cross’ as his first. A 6-foot-1 forward out of Texas, Hanas was ranked No. 58 by EliteProspects, and No. 58 among North American players by NHLCS.

“He’s such a gifted, creative puck-handler,” Hanas’ EliteProspects write-up states. “He doesn’t instinctually look pass, but finds the trailer, cross-slot opportunities, and players behind the net. Hanas keeps his feet moving off the puck and isn’t shy about going to battle on offensive zone puck retrievals. He also uses a dangerous lane-altering spin-pass that should have success at higher levels.”