NHL Draft: Grading the Red Wings Draft Choices

The Detroit Red Wings selected nine players in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. The seven-round draft concluded on Friday afternoon in Montreal, QC. Here is a look at the grades for each player selected by Detroit.

Round 1

Marco Kasper, Rogle BK (SHL)

Marco Kasper (8th overall, C, Rogle BK, SHL)

Marco Kasper is a big (6’2″) physical center who can also play the wing. NHL Central Scouting had Kasper as the 5th ranked EU Skater in the draft. This season, Kasper played 46 regular-season games for Rogle BK (SHL), scoring seven goals, four assists, 11 points, and a -10 rating. In 13 playoff games, Kasper scored three goals, three assists, six points, and had a +4 rating. Kasper will likely return to Rogle next year, where he will play with fellow Detroit prospects William Wallinder and Theodor Niederbach. All three players will likely move to North America for the 2023-2024 season. Detroit Kasper’s rights until June 2026.

Grade: A

Round 2

Dylan James, Sioux City (USHL)

Dylan James (40th overall, LW, Sioux City, USHL)

Dylan James is a mature player who plays the game with confidence. NHL Central Scouting had James as the 37th ranked North American Skater in the draft. James played 62 regular-season games for Sioux City (USHL) this season, scoring 28 goals, 33 assists, 61 points, and a +18 rating. In 10 playoff games, James scored five goals, three assists, eight points, and had a +8 rating. James will turn 19 in October and is expected to play as a freshman at the University of North Dakota next year. Detroit owns his rights until June 2026.

Grade: A

Dmitri Buchelnikov (52nd overall, LW, SKA 1946 St. Petersburg, MHL)

Dmitri Buchelnikov is a speedy winger who is an offense-first forward. NHL Central Scouting did not have Buchelnikov ranked this year. This season, Buchelnikov placed 2nd in scoring in the entire MHL (the junior league in Russia). In 56 regular-season games, Buchelnikov scored 41 goals, 34 assists, 75 points, and had a +33 rating. In nine playoff games, he scored nine goals, five assists, 14 points, and had a +9 rating. It has yet to be determined where Buchelnikov will play next season. If he develops, Buchelnikov could end up being the steal of the second round of the draft.

Grade: B

Round 4

Anton Johansson, Leksands IF, J20 Nationell

Anton Johansson (105th overall, RD, Leksands IF, J20 Nationell)

Anton Johansson is a big (6’4″) right-shot defenseman who played at four different levels in the Leksands organization in Sweden last year. NHL Central Scouting had Johansson as the 68th ranked EU skater in the draft. In 53 regular-season games, including four in the SHL, Johansson scored 13 goals, 19 assists, 32 points, and had a +8 rating. In 10 playoff games, including two in the SHL, Johansson scored one goal, five assists, six points, and had a +4 rating. Johansson is expected to start next season playing in the J20 Nationell. Detroit owns his rights until June 2026.

Grade: B+

Amadeus Lombardi (113th overall, C, Flint, OHL)

Amadeus Lombardi is a smaller player who doesn’t mind getting involved physically. NHL Central Scouting had Lombardi as the 94th ranked North American Skater. Lombardi’s draft stock may have slipped because he is already 19 and missed all last season due to the pandemic. In 67 regular-season games, Lombardi scored 18 goals, 41 assists, 59 points, and had a +9 rating. In 19 playoff games, he scored seven goals, eight assists, 15 points, and had a -4 rating. Lombardi placed 2nd in scoring for his Flint (OHL) team this year. Lombardi is expected to return to Flint for his final season next year. Detroit owns his rights until June 2024.

Grade: B

Maximilian Kilpinen (129th overall, C/LW, Orebro HK J20 Nationell)

Maximilian Kilpinen has good size (6’1″) and has the ability to score at the junior level. NHL Central Scouting had Kilpinen as the 61st ranked skater in the EU. Kilpinen played at three different levels in the Orebro HK organization last year. In 38 regular-season games at the three levels, Kilpinen scored 21 goals, 22 assists, 43 points, and a +12 rating. In 10 playoff games at the J18 and J20 Nationell levels, Kilpinen scored five goals, eight assists, 13 points, and had a +8 rating. Kilpinen is expected to play full-time in the J20 Nationell next year. Detroit owns his rights until June 2026.

Grade: B

Round 5

Tnias Mathurin, North Bay (OHL)

Tnias Mathurin (137th overall, LD, North Bay, OHL)

Tnias Mathurin is a big (6’3″) defensive defenseman who played in North Bay (OHL) last year. NHL Central Scouting had Mathurin as the 126th ranked North American Skater. In his rookie season in the OHL, Mathurin played 44 regular-season games, scoring three goals, 12 assists, 15 points, and a +17 rating. In 13 playoff games, he chipped in with four assists and had a +3 rating. Mathurin is expected to go back and play his sophomore season in the OHL next year. Detroit owns his rights until June 2024.

Grade: B

Round 7

Owen Mehlenbacher, Muskegon (USHL)

Owen Mehlenbacher (216th overall, C, Muskegon, USHL)

Owen Mehlenbacher is a big (6″2″) smooth-skating center that can play both ends of the ice. In his second season in Muskegon (USHL), Mehlenbacher played 56 regular-season games, scoring 17 goals, 25 assists, 42 points, and a +12 rating. In nine playoff games, he scored four goals, four assists, eight points, and had a -4 rating. NHL Central Scouting did not have Mehlenbacher ranked this year. Mehlenbacher is expected to play his freshman year at the University of Wisconsin (NCAA) next year. Detroit owns his rights until June 2026.

Grade: C

Brennan Ali (212th overall, C, Avon Old Farms School, USHS-Prep)

Brennan Ali is a big (6’1″) center who slipped to the 7th round of the draft. NHL Central Scouting had Ali as the 83rd-ranked North American Skater. Ali played on three teams last year. In 27 games at Avon Old Farms, Ali was second in scoring with 15 goals, 19 assists, and 34 points. Ali also played two games with the U.S. National U18 team, picking up one assist. Ali also played nine games with Lincoln (USHL), picking up two assists. Ali is expected to play his freshman year at Notre Dame University next year. Detroit owns his rights until June 2026.

Grade: C+

Final Thoughts

Drafting 18-year-old hockey players is a bit of a crap shoot. Players develop at different rates at different times during their playing careers. Detroit general manager Steve Yzerman made nine picks in seven rounds of this year’s draft. Only time will tell how this draft will rate compared to other years, but one thing is sure, the Detroit scouting team, along with Steve Yzerman, did their homework and drafted the best possible players available in each round. Next week, the NHL free agency period begins, and with over $30M in cap space, Yzerman is expected to make some more significant moves to bolster his improving Detroit Red Wings team.

Chris Giles

Chris Giles is a former junior hockey player and coach from Canada. He has been a diehard Detroit Red Wings fan for almost 50 years. Chris is an avid golfer who has volunteered at several PGA and Canadian Open Championships throughout North America.

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