2018 NHL mock draft: Eastern Conference teams

BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY 4: Rasmus Dahlin
BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY 4: Rasmus Dahlin /
5 of 19
WINDSOR, ON – OCTOBER 05: Forward Barrett Hayton
WINDSOR, ON – OCTOBER 05: Forward Barrett Hayton /

6. Detroit Red Wings – Barrett Hayton 

The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds were the best team in the entire Canadian Hockey Leagues this past season. Of course, this was powered by some of the best players in the OHL: Boris Katchouk, Morgan Frost and Taylor Raddysh. All those players are NHL prospects already and will be moving up to at least the AHL next season. This will give Barrett Hayton an expanded opportunity on his team.

Hayton had 21 goals and 60 points playing in a secondary role on the Greyhounds. With his playing time assuredly going up next season, the expectation is for his point totals to get even higher. This is one pick where you’re really drafting on his potential and less on what he has done in the past.

Of course, there’s always the risk that picking a secondary player on a stacked team won’t work out. However, on an organization like the Greyhounds, that is probably less likely to happen. With all the departures, he will be expected to be a leader on the team and that should only help his development. That is why the Red Wings will take the shot on him.

The Red Wings are going to need centers. Their top four centers this past season were Henrik Zetterberg, Dylan Larkin, Frans Nielsen and Luke Glendening. Zetterberg doesn’t  have long left, Nielsen will be a cap issue if he isn’t already and Glendening is nothing more than a fourth-liner. Larkin definitely going to need some depth behind him. Michael Rasmussen is already in the pipeline, but more is needed.