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Red Wings' draft lottery position to be decided on Tuesday

Wings guaranteed to pick no lower than seventh overall

by Arthur J. Regner @ArthurJRegner / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT -- Unlike last year, Detroit Red Wings fans will not have to wait until the end of April to find out where the Wings will draft in the first round of the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.

That's because the league has moved the draft lottery up from April 28 last season to this Tuesday, April 9.

Usually the draft lottery has been held during the Stanley Cup playoffs, but NHL officials, along with the league's broadcast partners, thought the lottery buzz was getting lost in the hoopla of the playoffs, so they moved it up to showcase the draft lottery with its own special night.

With many prospects still playing, it also allows teams to hone in on the top prospects that will most likely be available to them at their draft position.

By most accounts, this year's draft has an abundance of talent up front while the back end is a little thin.

But there is a consensus that the top three players on the draft board -- American center Jack Hughes, Finnish right wing/center Kaapo Kakko and Russian right wing Vasili Podkolzin -- are in a class by themselves.

Red Wings officials have been adamant all season they'd be ecstatic if they were slotted in one of the top three spots in the first round.

Since the Red Wings finished with the fourth-worst record in the NHL, they have a 9.5 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick and a 28.8 percent chance of procuring a top 3 pick in the 2019 draft. They cannot fall lower than three spots, but history has not been kind to the Wings in the draft lottery.

Detroit has fallen in the last two years it's participated in the draft lottery, dropping two spots from seventh to ninth in 2017 and last year falling one slot from fifth to sixth.

It appears the Red Wings did just fine with their picks, selecting Michael Rasmussen ninth overall in 2017 and Filip Zadina with the sixth pick in 2018.

Similar to last season, a puck-moving, offensive-minded defenseman and a supremely skilled forward top the Red Wings' wish list heading into the draft June 21-22 in Vancouver.

After Hughes, Kakko and Podkolzin, there isn't a definitive pecking order of how the rest of the top 12-15 picks will play out, but here's a list of 15 players that have the strongest possibility of having their names called by Detroit, depending on where the Wings land Tuesday night at the draft lottery in Toronto.

Goalie Spencer Knight listed at 15 is a surprise sleeper pick if the Red Wings go off the board with their first-round selection.

1. Jack Hughes: Center, 5-foot-10.25, 168 pounds. Shoots: Left Team: USA NTDP (USHL) GP-41 G-23 Pts-86

Described as a generational talent, Hughes has superb speed, extraordinary vision, deft passing ability, high hockey IQ, deceptive moves, soft hands, a terrific wrist shot and is a world-class playmaker. He's destined to be an NHL superstar.

2. Kaapo Kakko: Center/Right Wing, 6-foot-2.25, 194 pounds. Shoots: Left Team: Turku (SM Liga) GP-45 G-22 Pts-38

Big and strong, Kakko is a multidimensional talent who has a skill level off the charts. A highly competitive player who plays well with or without the puck, he makes plays all over the ice.

3. Vasili Podkolzin: Right Wing, 6-foot-1, 183 pounds. Shoots: Left Team: St. Petersburg (MHL) GP-12 G-6 Pts-8

A tough player who enjoys playing the rough-and-tumble game, Podkolzin's compete level is second to none. When you combine his on-ice intensity with his superior skill level, he's a player who'll do whatever it takes to win.

4. Dylan Cozens: Center, 6-foot-3, 181 pounds. Shoots: Right Team: Lethbridge (WHL) GP-68 G-34 Pts-84

A high-energy player who can play center or wing, Cozens is big and physical, an excellent skater with a hard and accurate shot.

5. Bowen Byram: Defenseman, 6-foot-1/2, 193 pounds. Shoots: Left Team: Vancouver (WHL) GP-67 G-26 Pts-71

Byram is a dynamic offensive force who has a skill set which allows him to dictate the pace of the game. He can quarterback a power play, has a hard and accurate slap shot and possesses an extremely calm demeanor.

6. Trevor Zegras: Center, 6-foot, 166 pounds. Shoots: Left Team: USA NTDP (USHL) GP-54 G-26 Pts-78

Zegras has been moving up the draft boards all year due to his intelligence and smooth playmaking ability. He plays an engaged game and has proven he is unflappable by consistently making the right play in high-pressure situations.

7. Kirby Dach: Center/Right Wing, 6-foot-3.5, 199 pounds. Shoots: Right Team: Saskatoon (WHL) GP-62 G-25 Pts-73

A big, playmaking forward who gets his teammates involved in the play. Dach's huge wingspan allows him to protect the puck, giving him time to make heady plays in the attacking zone.

8. Matthew Boldy: Left Wing, 6-foot-2, 187 pounds. Shoots: Left Team: USA NTDP (USHL) GP-55 G-30 Pts-69

Someone who rarely makes a mistake, Boldy is extremely smart, a powerful skater with a high skill level. He has the ability to score from anywhere on the ice.

9. Alex Turcotte: Center, 5-foot-11, 189 pounds. Shoots: Left Team: USA NTDP (USHL) GP-30 G-23 Pts-53

An excellent playmaker with blazing speed, Turcotte possesses an extraordinary hockey IQ; he possesses a powerful wrist shot, which he doesn't need much room to unleash.

10. Peyton Krebs: Left Wing/Center, 5-foot-11, 181 pounds. Shoots: Left Team: Kootenay (WHL) GP-64 G-19 Pts-68

Krebs plays an all-around game and is a player who thinks pass-first but can also put the puck in the net. He does not shy away from the physical play.

11. Philip Broberg: Defenseman, 6-foot-3, 203 pounds. Shoots: Left Team: AIK (SWE-Als) GP-41 G-2 Pts-9

Broberg is a solid two-way defenseman who skates well with good speed, possesses above average puck skills and has the potential to develop into a top-four NHL blueliner.

12. Arthur Kaliyev: Right Wing, 6-foot-2, 190 pounds. Shoots: Left Team: Hamilton (OHL) GP-67 G-51 Pts-102

A big-time goal scorer with an arsenal of shots, Kaliyev handles the puck well, has good speed and is able to create his own shot.

13. Victor Soderstrom: Defenseman, 5-foot-11, 179 pounds. Shoots: Right Team: Brynas (SWE IF J20) GP-58 G-5 Pts-15

A smooth, two-way blueliner, Soderstrom looks to make the stretch pass first when moving the puck out of his own end. He has a hard and accurate wrist shot and plays with confidence. He wants the puck.

14. Thomas Harley: Defenseman, 6-foot-3, 188 pounds. Shoots: Left Team: Mississauga (OHL) GP-68 G-11 Pts-58

Harley is a big defenseman who has made significant strides in all aspects of his game. A good skater with soft hands, Harley's improved play has made him a legitimate first-round pick.

15. Spencer Knight: Goaltender, 6-foot-3, 196 pounds. Catches: Left Team: USA NTDP (USHL) GP-39 W-27 L-6 GAA-2.56 SV%-.911 SO-1

Considered to be one of the top goaltending prospects in recent years, Knight is mentally tough, big, athletic, smart and has the uncanny ability to always be in the right position to make the save.

The 2019 NHL Draft Lottery will be held Tuesday, April 9 in Toronto. The one-hour program will be televised by NBCSN beginning at 8 p.m.

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