Potential First Round Targets
“Other than the top guys like Seth Jones, I think the 40th (ranked) player could go 10, 11, or 12. It’s really beauty in the eye of the beholder.”
- Joe McDonnell
Below is a short sampling of who the Red Wings might select in the first round on Sunday:
ROBERT HAGG, defenseman, Modo Jr. (SWE)
A 6-foot-2 left-handed shooter, Hagg was the captain on Sweden’s 2013 World Junior Championship team that lost to the U.S. in the gold medal game. He split last season between Modo’s Swedish Elite League club and its U20 team, where he was named the top U20 Super Elit defenseman of the year. According to the NHL’s Central Scouting, he was the No. 7 ranked European skater last season. He is also the younger brother of forward Christian Hagg, who has played the last three seasons in the Swedish Elite League.
McDONNELL’S TAKE: “He’s got a booming shot from the point. He works the power play real, real well and I guess one the biggest things that we’ve learned about the kid, in doing our background checks, is that he’s a high-quality kid and he’s a leader."
SHEA THEODORE, defenseman, Seattle (WHL)
The 6-foot-2 Langley, B.C., native has won three gold medals, including two with the Canadian U18 team at the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament and the 2013 U18 World Championship in Sochi, Russia with likely follow NHL draftee Josh Morrissey. Theodore showed tremendous improvement last season, finishing eighth among all Western League defensemen in scoring with 19 goals and 31 assists.
McDONNELL’S TAKE: “From all indications that we’ve heard, he seems to be a team leader and is a very explosive skater. He lugs the puck out of his own end really well. It sure doesn’t hurt to play on a winning team, like a kid in our system in Tomas Jurco, who won a Memorial Cup and now he’s won a Calder Cup. Winning is invaluable for the confidence of these kids at this level.”
FREDERIK GAUTHIER, center, Rimouski (QMJHL)
VIDEO SCOUTING REPORT
This 6-foot-5, 210-pound forward is perhaps the best two-way player eligible for this weekend’s draft. He can play all three forward positions, and finished as the fourth leading scorer among first-year players in the Quebec league producing 22 goals and 38 assists in 62 games. NHL Central Scouting ranked him as the No. 8 best North American skater. He represented Canada in the 2013 U18 World Championship, collecting a goal, three assists and a gold medal.
McDONNELL’S TAKE: “He was outstanding in the gold medal game at the April tournament overseas. He seems like a real quality two-way player who can play whatever way you want. He’s a guy too who is coming right out of midget into the Quebec league, so he took a big step and did very, very well in his first year in that league.”
JOSH MORRISSEY, defenseman, Prince Albert (WHL)
VIDEO SCOUTING REPORT
Was second among league rookie defensemen in 2011-12 with 38 points in 68 games, and finished 12th among blueliners in scoring this season with 47 points, including 15 goals, in 70 contests. He was named the 2013 Canadian Hockey League’s scholastic player of the year. He helped Canada win the gold medal in the 2013 U18 World Championship, earning post-tournament recognition as one of Canada’s top three players for leading all defensemen in scoring with three goals and four assists in seven games.
McDONNELL’S TAKE: “He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but he plays bigger than what he is. He’s a real competitor with an excellent skill level to go with it.”
ANDRE BURAKOWSKY, left wing, Malmo (SWE)
An agile, strong skater, this 6-foot-1 forward has a solid offensive acumen. While most of his recent Redhawks career has been spent in Sweden’s second league, he has played 53 games in the Swedish Elite League, producing four goals and eight assists. Born in Austria, he is No. 6 on Central Scouting’s list of European skaters. He was a third-round pick, No. 103 overall, by St. Petersburg in the KHL draft. His Russian father, Robert, was drafted by the New York Rangers in 1985 and played 23 games with the Ottawa Senators, though much of his playing career was spent in Europe.
McDONNELL’S TAKE: “He’s actually a Russian player, whose father moved to Sweden to play years ago. He has a typical high-end Russian skill level. His ceiling is very high with the amount of skill that he possesses.”
BO HORVAT, center, London (OHL)
A Red Wings’ fan while growing up in London, the OHL’s most-valuable player in the 2013 playoffs, he scored a league-leading 16 goals in 21 postseason games for the Knights, including a thrilling game-winner with one-tenth of a second left in Game 7 of the championship series that lifted London to its second straight Memorial Cup. He finished the regular season with a team-best 17 power-play goals. He also represented Canada in the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament with fellow draft prospect and London teammate Max Domi.
McDONNELL’S TAKE: “He’s played in two straight Memorial Cups and will play in a third one next year. So he’s coming from a winning background. He’s a real character two-way guy, a guy that you love to have on the ice whether you’re down a goal or up a goal. He seems to be a real good team guy.”