LAS VEGAS – There wasn’t a specific area of need the Detroit Red Wings targeted on Day 1 of the 2024 NHL Entry Draft, as Executive Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman and his amateur scouting staff sought the best-available player when it was time to select their lone first-round pick at No. 15 overall.

And according to Yzerman, the Red Wings did just that on Friday night by drafting Norwegian wing Michael Brandsegg-Nygard. A 6-foot-1, 207-pound prospect, Brandsegg-Nygard entered Friday ranked fifth among international skaters by NHL Central Scouting.

“Big, strong young man,” Yzerman said about Brandsegg-Nygard at Sphere in Las Vegas after Round 1. “Physically developed, can really shoot the puck. He’s a really good two-way player, a goal-scoring winger, who obviously fills a void in our prospect pool.”

Steve Yzerman | Media Availability

Brandsegg-Nygard spent most of the 2023-24 season with Mora IK in Allsvenskan, Sweden's second-highest professional league, recording 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 41 games. The 18-year-old forward also collected 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in seven games with the club’s U-20 squad.

“When he’s not scoring, he’ll still be an effective player,” Yzerman said. “I just think he’s a guy who can play in all situations. Probably play either wing, a lot of different spots on the power play as well.”

In addition to his impressive play with Mora this season, Brandsegg-Nygard was a key piece for Team Norway at the 2024 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship, tallying five points in as many games.

“That tournament, I think I watched him play the U.S. team,” Yzerman said. “U.S. was a really good team. He could skate and was strong enough to play against that team. That tournament can be misleading in a lot of ways because the competition at times isn’t strong, but he looked fine against men. And most importantly, in games against NHL players, he could keep up.”

Red Wings Assistant General Manager and Director of Amateur Scouting Kris Draper said there’s a lot to like about Brandsegg-Nygard, especially his skillset and mindset.

“We want to have competitive hockey players that can obviously think the game,” Draper said. “We think he brings a physical presence. He’s a big, strong kid. Certainly doesn’t back down of getting into the corners, getting in on the forecheck, finishing checks and gets around the hard areas.”

Kris Draper | Media Availability

Yzerman said he believes Brandsegg-Nygard’s best attribute is his shooting ability.

“He can really rip it, but it’s not like he’s a one-dimensional shooter,” Yzerman said. “It’s all parts of his game. He’s got pretty good hands. I see him being more of a shooter than a half-wall quarterback on the power play, but he can play on the bumper, down on the goal line and still make a play.”

As the first Norwegian-born player selected in the first round of an NHL Entry Draft, Brandsegg-Nygard said he’s honored to represent his country and thankful to join the Red Wings organization.

“It has been a dream for so long,” said Brandsegg-Nygard, who was born in Oslo. “Now I am living the dream, so I’m just going to work hard, do what I always do and hopefully I’m going to be an NHL player someday.”

Family has played an influential role in Brandsegg-Nygard’s success on and off the ice.

“My family has been so supportive to me, especially my mom and dad,” Brandsegg-Nygard said. “They’ve sacrificed so much. My mom drove me to almost every practice and supported me. My dad was my coach back home.”

Michael Brandsegg-Nygard | Media Availability

Yzerman also discussed two pre-draft trades the Red Wings made on Tuesday. After acquiring the Tampa Bay Lightning’s second-round pick (No. 53 overall) in this year’s draft and forward prospect Jesse Kiiskinen from the Nashville Predators in exchange for defenseman prospect Andrew Gibson, Detroit packaged Tampa’s pick and Jake Walman to the San Jose Sharks for future considerations.

“It’s really difficult to move money right now,” Yzerman said. “Honestly, I’ve tried. We needed to move at least one contract to do some of the things we want to do and unfortunately, that was the price to do it. I didn’t really want to trade Andrew Gibson, but we were able to recoup a prospect and get a pick that we used to move out a contract.”

The 2024 NHL Entry Draft concludes Saturday with Rounds 2-7, beginning at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT. Detroit currently has seven selections in the final six rounds, including one each in the second (47th overall), third (80th), fourth (126th), fifth (144th), sixth (176th) and two in the seventh round (203rd and 208th).

For coverage of the NHL Draft from Sphere in Las Vegas, stay tuned to all weekend.