Detroit GM Mathias Lundgren had an idea of what he wanted to accomplish in the Dispersal Draft. Did he succeed?
So then the end came along, and the last round of the dispersal draft has been finished. So how did GM Mathias Lundgren do for his Red Wings? What was his plan, and did he stick to it?
We have all heard that the Swedish GM has a love for the offensive game, building offensive teams with little focus on the blueline and its netminder. In the past, being the netminder on one of Lundgren's teams meant being in a largely ungrateful position. That is why the first pick from Detroit kind of shook us all when Lundgren announced the name of Andrei Vasilevskiy.
A franchise goalie and not an offensive star forward, Vasilevskiy has since been traded to Montreal in a package that includes Carey Price. While older and perhaps not as skilled, Price is still one of the better goalies to suit up for one of Lundgren's clubs.
The surprises didn't end there. Lundgren continued down the defensive trail with his second pick, choosing Rasmus Ristolainen. The pro roster defensive blueline was complete within the first 15 rounds with veteran Matt Niskanen at the point, along with proven names like Rasmus Ristolainen, Noah Hanifin, Damon Severson, Nikita Zadorov, and Radko Gudas (who was moved in the Vasilevskiy deal, and is replaced by Vince Dunn).
In front of this strong defensive blueline, offensive responsibility fell upon the 3rd round pick, Dylan Larkin. To try and make Larkin's life on the ice a bit easier, André Burakovsky and Alexander Radulov were also chosen, followed by Lucas Wallmark, Brett Connolly, and Jason Spezza.
The main point with these picks is that the team that Lundgren has built is a complete opposite of how his teams usually look. A young heavy-set defensive blueline in front of a star goaltender and with a vet filled, rather slow group of forwards.
Why Lundgren went with this defensive-minded play is mindboggling to us and probably to you all out there right now. Many were probably expecting a team filled with Petr Klima, Phil Housley, Sergei Gonchar-type players, expecting lightning-fast offensive hockey in Little Caesars Arena.
Let’s just hope that the ”Swede” knows what he is doing!
This is, as usual, your man in the ether, Mike Knowlittle.