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Draft History: 2003-11

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Time will tell how the Red Wings did in the last nine NHL drafts. Currently, 17 of the last 66 prospects selected have appeared in at least one league game, including All-Star goalie Jimmy Howard and forward Johan Franzen, who has set several scoring records for the franchise.

In all, the 17 Wings’ draftees who’ve appeared in the league have played a total of 1,897 games.

This weekend, the Wings enter the 50th annual draft at Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center with six picks, beginning in the second round at No. 49. Detroit traded its first round pick to Tampa Bay in the trade that brought defenseman Kyle Quincey back to the Red Wings.

The Wings will also pick at No. 80, No. 110, No. 140, No. 170, and No. 200.

Each day this week, will present the top five draft picks for each of the five decades since the Original Six clubs first gathered for the inaugural draft on June 5, 1963 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal.

Since that June day in Montreal, the Wings have selected 438 total players, many of whom enjoyed all-star careers and a few more that were fortunate to have won multiple Stanley Cup titles like Nicklas Lidstrom, Peter Mahovlich, Sergei Fedorov and Steve Yzerman.

Today we take a look at the top top Red Wings' picks between 1993 and '02.

This week’s schedule:
Monday– 1963-72
Tuesday – 1973-82
Wednesday – 1983-92
Thursday – 1993-2002
Today – 2003-11

  • 192 Games
    Jimmy Howard
  • 110-54-19 Career Record, 2.41 Career GAA
  • 2010 NHL All-Rookie Team
  • Led NHL in games played (63) in 2010-11
  • 2012 NHL All Star

Howard was the Red Wings’ first goalie taken in a draft year since they selected Terry Richardson with the No. 11 overall choice in 1973. Howard was the runner-up to the 2010 Calder Trophy, given to the NHL’s rookie of the year, and last season he became just the third drafted Wings netminder to appear in an NHL All-Star Game, joining Tim Cheveldae, and Chris Osgood, who played in two showcase games.

Howard has produced at least 35 wins in three straight seasons, including back-to-back 37-win campaigns in 2009-10 and 2010-11. Last season, Howard had single-season bests for goals-against average (2.12) and total shutouts (six).

  • 248 Games
    Darren Helm
  • 32 Goals, 83 Points
  • 2008 Stanley Cup champion

The first of the 2005 draft class to make his NHL debut with the Wings, Helm was so highly thought of by Detroit that he was brought up from Grand Rapids to center the club’s fourth line late in the final month of the 2007-08 season. He remained in Detroit for the Stanley Cup run and actually scored his first NHL goal in the Western Conference finals against Dallas. He bounced between Detroit and Grand Rapids the following year before securing a permanent role with the Wings in 2009-10.

Helm’s speed creates plenty of scoring chances for the Wings, but add his grittiness and his strength on the puck, and he’s quickly becoming a legitimate threat as a fourth-line center and making opponents take notice. And now that the Wings have locked him up to a new four-year contract, the versatile center, who is also a huge asset on the penalty kill, gives options to the coaching staff, who could use him as a top-six forward.

  • 472 Games
    Johan Franzen
  • 150 Goals, 275 Points
  • 2008 Stanley Cup champion

So impressed by his workmanlike effort on the ice, former captain Steve Yzerman saddled Franzen with a nickname “The Mule”, because, as the Hall of Famer said, the 6-foot-3 Swedish forward, “carried the load.” Since then, Franzen has broken franchise records once held by another iconic figure, Gordie Howe. Franzen established new marks for game-winning goals in one month (nine) and most goals in a four-game playoff series (nine).

In 2009, the Wings signed Franzen to an 11-year contract extension that runs through the 2019-20 season. Two years later, he become just the third player in franchise history to score five goals in a game – joining Sergei Fedorov and Syd Howe – when he helped the Wings to a 7-5 win at Ottawa. Howe, no relation to Gordie, holds the team record with six goals.

Shawn Matthias
  • 205 Games
  • 25 Goals, 60 Points
  • Helped Canada to gold medal win in 2008 World Junior Championship

The year after the Red Wings made Matthias a second-round draft pick, the 6-foot-2 center went on a scoring binge for his junior team in Belleville. That season, he helped lead the Bulls to the Memorial Cup with 73-points in 53 games. His stock was rising when the Wings used him to land Todd Bertuzzi from the Florida Panthers at the NHL trade deadline in 2007.

Similar to Helm, Matthias is a hard-working center with a very good nose for the net. A former point-per-game player, there’s plenty of upside for Matthias, who has a very strong hockey sense and is coming off a season-best for goals (10), assists (14), points (24) and games played (79).

  • 14 Games
    Brendan Smith
  • 1 Goal, 7 Points

Smith is the 12th defensemen in 49 years of the NHL draft that the Red Wings have selected in the first round. While Niklas Kronwall is among those players, it’s Smith who just might be the most important to the Wings’ continued success. Obviously, Nicklas Lidstrom is irreplaceable, but now that the legendary defenseman has retired, Smith will be asked to take a permanent roster spot with the NHL club. He’s a smooth skater, and like Lidstrom, seems to move effortlessly. Smith is an offensive-minded player, who has exceptional vision and a knack for making crisp tape-to-tape passes.

The Wings had the luxury of allowing Smith to develop the last two seasons in Grand Rapids. He was called up to Detroit twice last season when injuries shortened the Wings’ blue-line depth. … It’s still early, but Smith’s projected potential is limitless.

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