Red Wings 2018 draft picks progress report
Checking in on all 10 draft picks
The Detroit Red Wings selected 10 players in seven rounds of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
Here are those draft picks, in order:
- 6th overall -- Filip Zadina (LW)
- 30th overall -- Joe Veleno (C)
- 33rd overall -- Jonatan Berggren (RW)
- 36th overall -- Jared McIsaac (D)
- 67th overall -- Alec Regula (D)
- 81st overall -- Seth Barton (D)
- 84th overall -- Jesper Eliasson (G)
- 98th overall -- Ryan O'Reilly (RW)
- 160th overall -- Victor Brattström (G)
- 191st overall -- Otto Kivenmäki (C)
I'm going to go through this list in reverse order, checking in on what each player has been up to this past year. We can call this a progress report, status update, or whatever -- here we go:
Otto Kivenmäki (C)
Kivenmäki is listed at 5-foot-8, 137 pounds. If he were bigger he probably would have went much higher in the draft. Some have referred to him as the Finnish Johnny Gaudreau due to his diminutive stature (and weight) combined with speed and skill. Gaudreau is 5-foot-9, 150 pounds, and he just scored 36 goals this season for Calgary.
Kivenmäki is 19 now and he just finished his first pro hockey season with his hometown team Porin Ässät, of the Finnish elite league, or Liiga. And, again like Gaudreau, he is being recognized for his puck-handling skills, as FinnProspects noted about his pro debut in September:
"His great puck-handling abilities were still easily noticeable. He made couple of pretty good dekes and gave many really good passes during the game. His read of play was excellent and he played effective checking game in the offensive and neutral zone. Also while Kivenmäki is a small player, he did not shy away from board battles and he went into tight spaces."
He played 34 games for Ässät this season, scoring 2 goals and 14 assists, and that's about all anyone can write about a 191st overall draft pick at this point in his career. The hope is we see Kivenmäki playing in a North American league soon.
Victor Brattström (G)
Brattström, 22, played with Timrå IK of the Swedish Hockey League this year. He has signed on to play for Timrå this upcoming season.
He played 23 games for them this season, posting an .898 save percentage which is near the bottom of the league. Timrå's other goalie, Niklas Svedberg, played 35 games and posted an .889 save percentage as the team finished dead last in the league with a -67 goal differential.
OK, not sure what's going on here, but the stats suggest Brattström is a young goalie on a really bad hockey team, and it gets worse. Timrå won 10 games this season. Just 10 games out of 52. And then they lost the SHL qualifier and were relegated to Sweden's second-tier pro league, HockeyAllsvenskan.
But Brattström signed up to play at least another season with Timrå, who is now competing in the lower league.
Ryan O'Reilly (RW)
Ryan O'Reilly will be forever confused with ... Ryan O'Reilly. But this 19-year-old O'Reilly plays the wing, not center, and also played in the Detroit area in his youth for Little Caesars Bantam Minor AAA.
After a couple of seasons in the USHL, O'Reilly is headed to play for the University of Denver in 2019-20.
This is a prospect Red Wings fans can seriously check in on this year. He is listed at 6-2, 201 pounds with a righthanded shot, giving him the look of a powerful offensive threat. He has had success finding the back of the net in juniors, but now we'll see what he can do in the NCAA where he will be going up against more mature, bigger players.
Denver has become somewhat of a powerhouse in college hockey with three Frozen Four appearances in the past four years. There are more than a dozen Denver hockey alums playing in the NHL right now.
Jesper Eliasson (G)
During the draft, Jesper Eliasson was noted for his size at 6-foot-3. He played juniors in Sweden this year for Växjö where he posted a .919 save percentage in 33 games played.
But most importantly, Eliasson is playing for Sweden’s junior national team and is reportedly set to play in the pros this coming season for Västerviks IK of HockeyAllsvenskan. He appears to be progressing just fine.
The 19-year-old is getting a good chance to play pro hockey, possibly as a starting goalie, so we’ll see how he does at the next level this year.
Seth Barton (D)
Seth Barton, 19, had a strong freshmen year at UMass-Lowell, scoring 10 points in 33 games with a plus-6 rating. He came out of the BCHL where he played for the Trail Smoke Eaters and jumped over to the NCAA.
Again, this is some great progress to see in a prospect. He is now playing for one of the stronger Hockey East programs, so you couldn't ask for much more from an 81st overall draft pick.
By the way, the BCHL is just pumping players into the NCAA. More than 150 BCHL players had college commitments this past season. That's a note to young hockey players who want a scholarship.
Alec Regula (D)
Meanwhile, there's Alec Regula, who looks like a real exciting prospect. This 3rd-round draft pick is listed at 6-4, 205 pounds. He's a righthanded shot defenseman who put up 39 points in 66 games for the OHL’s London Knights this past season, finishing with a plus-32 rating.
The London Knights are the reigning Ontario junior hockey machine, of course, so the fact that Regula was named the team’s “players’ player” this season says all you need to know about his progress.
Exciting indeed. And in case you didn't already know, he is a West Bloomfield Township native who played for Honeybaked, Compuware and Cranbrook school. So it's safe to assume the Red Wings have had them in their sights for a while. Hopefully this works out.
Jared McIsaac (D)
Jared McIsaac ended up being Detroit's highest-drafted defenseman at 36th overall. They immediately signed him to a signed a three-year, entry-level contract.
McIsaac did not disappoint in his third year with the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL this past season. He scored 62 points in 53 games played, earning a plus-33 rating. At one point this spring he had 10 points in 14 playoff games for the Mooseheads.
He's also playing for Canada's national junior team, and you should expect him to be playing with the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins this upcoming season. We may even see him in the preseason at Little Caesars Arena.
This is the type of prospect you can easily get very anxious about. You want to see what he can do at the next level, but you have to remember he's still just 19 years old. He needs to get to that next level now.
Jonatan Berggren (RW)
In September I wrote "Jonatan Berggren just made someone look real silly while simultaneously putting a smile on the face of some Detroit Red Wings scout's face." I was referring to a video from the Champions Hockey League tournament in Europe that shows Berggren walking a defenseman before deking five-hole for a goal.
Berggren, 18, has been playing in the Swedish Hockey League for Skellefteå AIK. That goal primed everyone for could have been a breakout pro campaign for the forward, but his sason was cut short in November due to injury. In fact, he ended up missing the rest of the season due to the injury. He only played in 16 games and recorded three assists.
Last year he scored 10 points in seven games for Sweden at the 2018 World Junior Championship. The injury forced him to miss another opportunity to play for Sweden's national team.
It appears to be a big setback for the 2nd-round pick, so we will have to monitor how things go for him this fall.
Joe Veleno (C)
Remember, Joe Veleno was expected to be selected in the top 15 in last year's draft but he fell all the way to 30th where the Red Wings could not resist taking a top-rated forward.
The 19-year-old put up 104 points (42G, 62A) this season with the Drummondville Voltigeurs in the QMJHL. He is billed as a center in juniors, and that's always a coveted position in the NHL.
Veleno became Steve Yzerman's first official signing as Red Wings GM this spring, not that it was any surprise that he would sign an entry-level deal after such a productive junior season.
Right now, he's progressing fine and he's going to have to prove himself at the pro (AHL) level, and that's where we're at with Veleno.
Filip Zadina (RW)
It's safe to say Filip Zadina's first year of professional hockey was well documented, and it's difficult to believe he wouldn't start this next season with the Red Wings.
He scored 16 goals and 19 assists in 59 games played with the Griffins this season, then 3 points in 5 playoff games.
He appeared in 9 games for the Red Wings toward the end of the season, tallying a goal and 2 assists. It was not an earth-shattering Red Wings debut, but he didn't exactly join the best situation in Detroit either.
He also did not have the strongest showing for the Czech Republic at the World Junior Championship this year. With just an assists in five WJC games, it was a bit of a step back for Zadina, considering he scored 7 goals and an assist for 8 points in seven games in the previous WJC.
Still, Zadina, 19, is being pegged as the player who can make an immediate impact in this upcoming season for the Red Wings. Fans can dream of him playing alongside Dylan Larkin or Andreas Athanasiou, helping bolster the young offense for years to come.
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