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Wings pick goalie with eye toward future

by Dan Rosen

OTTAWA – With Dominik Hasek retiring and Chris Osgood not getting any younger, the Detroit Red Wings decided to use their first-round pick, No. 30, in the NHL Entry Draft on a goalie.

However, Thomas McCollum isn’t just any goalie. The 18-year-old prospect is the top-rated North American goaltending prospect by NHL Central Scouting after a remarkable year with the Guelph Storm.

The Red Wings, who are hoping 24-year-old prospect Jimmy Howard can take hold of the backup job next season, now have three goalie prospects in the system they like in Howard, Daniel Larsson, 21, a third-round pick in 2006, and McCollum.

“We liked other players, but given that Hasek is retiring and Chris Osgood is 35 years of age, it was one area that we thought it was a good time to get depth,” Red Wings GM Ken Holland told “We have lots of young defensemen and our forwards for the most part on our team are young, so we thought it was a good time to pick a goalie. We have three guys who we think have a good chance.”

The Wings already have a deep system and some young forwards on the big club, such as Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Valtteri Filppula and Darren Helm.

That’s why it’s no surprise they went with defense in the third round by picking Max NiCastro out of the USHL.

Detroit, though, also has a lot of young defensemen in its system already with Jonathan Ericsson, Kyle Quincey and Derek Meech to name a few. So, it’s no surprise either that its next four picks were forwards who won’t be on the NHL radar for at least three years.

Here is a look at Detroit’s 2008 NHL Entry Draft class:

No. 30 Thomas McCollum, G, Guelph Storm (OHL)
- Holland, a former goalie, said he likes the fact that McCollum is big (6-foot-2, 205 pounds) and has good lateral movement. He’s a competitor and Holland said the Red Wings believe he does a good job with his rebound control.

McCollum, who patterns his game after Roberto Luongo, had a 2.50 goals-against average and four shutouts in 51 games for Guelph this season. He had a 2.39 GAA and five shutouts as an OHL rookie last season.

No. 91 Max NiCastro, D, Chicago (USHL) - NiCastro, from Thousand Oaks, Calif., is a 6-2, 190-pound defender with some offensive ability. He had six goals and 14 assists in 58 USHL games this past season. His favorite NHL player is Nicklas Lidstrom.

No. 121 Gustav Nyquist, C, Malmo Jr. (Sweden) - Nyquist is the Red Wings first Swedish pick in this year’s draft. He was not listed among Central Scouting’s top 60 European skaters, but he is headed to the University of Maine next season. He had 31 points in 24 games in Sweden last year.

No. 151 Julien Cayer, C, Northwood School (USHS)
- The 6-4, 186-pound centerman from Quebec had 56 points in 42 games for Northwood last year. He is headed to Clarkson University next year.

No. 181 Stephen Johnston, LW, Guelph (OHL) - An up-and-coming winger, Johnston had nine points in 56 games during his first season in the OHL and seven points in 21 playoff games.

No. 211 Jesper Samuelsson, C, Timra (Sweden) - Perhaps he’s the Wings’ next great late-round pick from Sweden, Samuelsson is a scoring centerman who needs to fill out his 178-pound frame. Samuelsson recently signed with Timra of the Swedish Elite League and is hoping to make the roster.

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