Saturday, June 21, 2008

Be Cool, Stay In School

Well the second day of the draft is well underway and a trend is developing among Wings' Day 2 picks: collegians. College players get four years to develop meaning they can be stashed longer than junior players or Europeans (well, except Russians, who can be kept indefinitely as of right now, but that's a whole other can of worms). The Wings organization is loaded and they have no immediate needs either on their pro-roster or in terms of near-to-pro prospects. Furthermore, they're very near the 50-man roster limit so keeping kids in college 4 years before signing them and thus adding them to the roster gives the Wings some breathing room and time to sort out their prospects. The Wings took Max Nicastro, D, Boston U. (3rd round); Gustav Nyquist, C, Maine (4th round); and Julian Cayer, C, Clarkson (5th round). Red Wings Central is updating with quick mini-analyses on each prospect as the draft unfolds, and Dave at Gorilla Crouch is also providing coverage.

But what boggles my noggin a bit is the Wings' first round pick, Thomas McCollum, who Central Scouting had as the number 1 North American Goaltender, ISS had as the Number 2 overall goaltender, and TSN had as the Number 3 overall goaltender. Now, it's true that the Wings are shallower at goal than any other position, but I'm just wondering where they're going to put McCollum. Daniel Larsson is slated to start in GR this year and Jimmy Howard should be joining the Wings in the NHL. McCollum has one year of junior eligibility left, but after that then what? Will he and Larsson split time in Grand Rapids? If they're eating into each others' IT, that can only hamper their development. You would think the Wings would have gone for a college or European goaltender who the Wings could keep out of the AHL for longer. That being said you can't argue with just going for the best player available at the position of greatest need.

As for McCollum, the kid has got to be breathing a sigh of relief right now. I'm sure he thought he was a pretty good goaltender, and it must have been reassuring to hear ISS, CSB, and the various media telling him he was very good as well. But he couldn't have really know that he was actually a very good player until he got the Jim Nill seal of approval. That must have been nice to hear. I heard that Jim Nill doesn't discover which players are good - he decides, and God then makes it true.

Anyway, ultimately the Wings only need one of these guys to develop into a number 1 NHL netminder, something I was confident would happen just going with Howard and Larsson. McCollum gives the Wings an even stronger possibility of that. Down the line the Wings could very well be able to trade one of these guys if the Wings get themselves into a Giguere-Bryzgalov or Nabokov-Toskala situation. And let's face it, the Wings could have drafted Pierre McGuire with their pick and would still be set to maintain the Dynasty for a long time to come.