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Cole Fraser taken by surprise when Wings picked him in the fifth round

Wings also take defensemen Gustav Lindstrom and Kasper Kotkansalo in second and third rounds

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

CHICAGO - There was a timeout in the fast and furious action during the fifth round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft so Peterborough Petes defenseman Cole Fraser thought he had a little time to visit the restroom.

"I was on the steps as I heard my name," Fraser said. "As soon as I walked onto the steps I was about to walk back into my seat and I heard my name. I just heard my mom scream, 'Cole!' I looked up to my left and ran up to see my parents and gave them a hug.

"It's a dream come true since I was a little kid. All the hard work and dedication I put in from the time I was four years old kind of paying off, all the stuff I had to battle through to get to this point."

Fraser credited his parents, Kathy and Shaun, for helping him get to a point where he could get drafted by an NHL team.

"My parents making sacrifices for me through all my minor hockey because not every family can afford to play AAA every year, sacrifices my family made to make sure I could do that and get to the highest level is something that meant the world to me," Fraser said.

Fraser said two of his favorite players growing up were Shea Weber and Niklas Kronwall.

Asked what he liked about the veteran Detroit defenseman, Fraser said, "Just the way he plays. If your head's down, he's going to catch you and you're going to regret it."

The Wings were hoping they'd have a budding physical player like that when they took Fraser.

"We drafted him purely for that reason," said Tyler Wright, director of amateur scouting. "We're not expecting him to run a power play by any means but when he's out there, people are going to be aware of him being on the ice. He's going to make life miserable for the opponent's skilled players. That's an element coming in that we took a shot at a guy like that. Could he be a Radko Gudas type of player? That's kind of what we're targeting."

SECOND-ROUND SWEDE: Former Red Wings captain and Hall of Fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom had his last name misspelled as Lindstrom more than once.

Now the Wings' second-round pick, Gustav Lindstrom, might end up with the reverse problem.

The Wings took the Swedish defenseman with the 38th overall pick.

"We're working on trying to get that N away from his name," joked Hakan Andersson, the Wings' director of European scouting. "He's 6-foot-2 and just a good, all-around defenseman. He competes well, he has a good first pass, a good shot. I can't tell you who he compares to or his upside but one name that comes to mind is the guy in Anaheim taken in the first round, Jacob Larsson. Just a good all-around player."

Lindstrom is 6-foot-2, 187 pounds and played for Almtuma IS, recording two goals and seven assists in 48 games.

With Team Sweden's U19 team, Lindstrom had one goal and six assists in four games.

Andersson said Lindstrom showed a lot of growth throughout the season.

"It was interesting because the coaches told him in the fall, 'If you want to get more ice time on this team, you've got to be better in the one on one and quicker with the puck.' And that's what I saw in January-February," Andersson said. "He was much more stronger in the one-on-one game, and this was playing against men. He was moving the puck faster and doing more things in less time. That's what the coach said. You tell him something and he'd learn. That's pretty exciting."

Lindstrom's uncle, Marcus Ragnarsson, played 632 games in the NHL from 1995 to 2004 for San Jose and Philadelphia. Lindstrom was not in Chicago for the draft.

THIRD-ROUND UNDERRATED FINN: With the first pick in the third round, 71st overall, the Wings took defenseman Kasper Kotkansalo from the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL.

The Red Line Report was very high on Kotkansalo, calling him a top 50 talent and comparing him to Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez: "Beset by injuries early that slowed his development and adjustment to North America. But while NHL teams have soured on him, we remain staunch believers in his talent level. He's a big, mobile defender with some real jam to his game. Has soft hands and makes delicate touch saucer passes off both sides of the blade. Makes great cross-ice feeds in the offensive zone, rushes the puck forcefully, handles it with poise in his own end, and rips hard 1-timers on the power play. Uses the body liberally along the walls and easily knocks men off the puck. Ties men up legally in front of net, and shows very good defensive zone awareness and positioning. Uses a toe drag move to open up shooting lanes on the PP. Doesn't force plays when things aren't there, but carries it out of his own end with his head up looking to make plays. We project lots more offensive upside down the road."

Kotkansalo, a Helsinki, Finland native who was not in Chicago for the draft, had one goal and 11 assists in 47 games with the Stampede.

In 13 games with Team Finland's U20 team, he had two goals and four assists.

"He's going to Boston University next year, a really good program," Wright said. "When we drafted Vili Saarijarvi out of Green Bay, he didn't put up real big numbers. The USHL is a hard league to play against and he wasn't on a great team. The biggest thing for us is when we went over to Switzerland and he played for Finland's under-19 team, wore the captaincy there. He's a good leader, a good skater. Showed a little bit more offense than we saw in the USHL. He kind of trended at a younger age where offense was a little more of his game. We think there is more offensive upside to his game than what his numbers indicated this year. At the end of the day, again, really good head - hockey sense and size. Just a puck-moving type guy."

SECOND THIRD-ROUNDER: The Wings took center Lane Zablocki from the WHL's Red Deer Rebels with their second third-round pick, 79th overall.

Zablocki's rankings were a bit across the board, ranging from 68th by Future Considerations to 115th by ISS Hockey.

McKeen's had him 90th, saying, "Zablocki put up solid numbers both before and after being traded from Regina to Red Deer. Although not the toolsiest, his ability to put up solid points makes him a sleeper to watch."

In 33 games with the Pats, Zablocki had nine goals and 16 assists.

In 31 games with the Rebels, he had 19 goals and 10 assists.

"He's like Tyler Bertuzzi," Wright said. "He's a hard kid to play against. I think he's played 16 playoff games in the Western Hockey League. He's got 13 goals. He just comes at that time. He's hard. He competes. He's got good sense. If he's not factoring in on the scoresheet, he's factoring in on the penalty side in that he's a hard player to play against. We liked him. He was a guy that we had targeted today."

Zablocki was also not in Chicago for the draft.

THIRD IN THE THIRD: The Wings took another player from the Petes in the draft - center Zach Gallant.

"It's a feeling like no other, especially when you're drafted by Detroit," Gallant said. "It's a real honor and I'm excited."

Gallant said his parents, younger sisters, aunt and uncle all joined him in Chicago.

"I was thinking anywhere from the second to the third," Gallant said. "I didn't really have too many expectations. I just wanted to be picked by a team who wanted to select me and to be picked by Detroit is awesome."

Fraser was delighted to see a teammate of his on the Petes remain a teammate.

"I think that's pretty cool," Fraser said. "Me and Gally are pretty close. We used to drive to school last year when we were together."

In 60 games with the Petes, Gallant had 21 goals and 26 assists.

Gallant is a big admirer of a Michigan native.

"I play a lot like Ryan Kesler," Gallant said. "He's a good two-way guy who's real competitive and goes to the dirty areas and plays hard. I like to model my game after him."

Gallant is 6-foot-1, 184 pounds.

"A little bit more size," Wright said. "He was a high pick in the OHL midget draft. He was a top five pick and went to Peterborough and really struggled his first year. I don't think he scored a goal in Peterborough his first year. Ended up with (21) this year. He's got big, wide shoulders, a big body frame. We hope that there's a little bit more offensive side to his game coming. Again, character, size, competitiveness. Does a lot of the detail work."

Red Line Report said Gallant needs to work on his consistency: "Lanky, rangy centreman has been a big part of the Petes' turnaround, and he brings a lot to the table: he scores, generates chances, forechecks hard, contributes on both special teams, plays a solid two-way game, and will even drop the gloves on occasion. He's got a fine frame and should ll out into a 200-pounder who provides strength down the middle. He's a strong, immovable force out front with a wide skating stance that allows him to anchor around the slot. His first step lacks burst, but he glides well once up to speed. Needs to lengthen his stride. Smart decision-making process - drives into scrums, then goes right back into open space, never getting caught flat-footed outside the play. The puck barely hits his tape before he fires clean release shots that handcuff netminders. Improved dramatically in defensive zone assignments and effort. Inconsistent and streaky."

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