If the Detroit Red Wings were drafting bloodlines on the second day of the NHL Entry Draft they may have nailed it with their first pick.
The Wings moved up in the third round to pick center Dominic Turgeon of the Portland Winter Hawks (WHL) Saturday at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
His father, Pierre, who was selected first overall by Buffalo in the 1987 NHL Draft, totaled 515 goals and 812 assists in 1,294 career NHL games.
“It plays into it a lot,” Detroit’s new director of amateur scouting said Tyler Wright when asked how does a bloodline factor in when selecting a player. “You can tell by the way he plays, he’s got great hockey sense.
“It’s a hard league to play in and it’s a hard league to excel in, and when you’re surrounded your whole life with a sport that is your ultimate thing, which means a lot to the family, it’s all about winning at the end of the day,” Wright continued. “We want guys who want to win. We don’t just want to be content with being a player in the NHL. Let’s be a good player and at the end of the day let’s win.”
Detroit traded up with Columbus, sending pick No. 76 and a third-round pick in 2015 to the Blue Jackets to select the two-way center.
Dominic’s uncle, Sylvain, played 12 seasons in the NHL.
“I guess we’re pretty different,” Dominic said when asked to compare his game to his father. “He was a highly offensive player in the NHL. I feel that right now my game is very strong defensively. But I feel as time goes on my offensive game is going to really jump.”
Dominic had 10 goals, 21 assists and was a plus-18 rating in 65 games with Portland last season. He had two goals and six assists in the playoffs leading his team to the WHL final before losing in seven games to the Memorial Cup champion Edmonton Oil Kings.
“I’m going to be a two-way forward,” Dominic said. “I’m going to be a very strong defensive player but I’m also going to be able to produce a lot of offense in my game.”
Dominic was one of five centers the Wings drafted out of their seven picks. They also nabbed a goalie and winger.
Detroit also selected centers Christoffer Ehn (Frolunda Jr., Sweden, 106th), Axel Holmstrom (Skelleftea Jr., Sweden, 196th) and Alexander Kadeykin (Mytischi, Russia, 201st).
With their first pick on Friday, 15th overall, they nabbed Waterford native Dylan Larkin.
“Well, some of them play the wing but we took a lot of forwards, guys who are interchangeable,” Wright said. “But Larkin and Turgeon are both centermen. Dominic Turgeon is a guy that we targeted really high. If we would have had our second (round pick) we would have taken him there. So it prompted us to make a move. He was a guy that we thought if we could get him in the second and he fell into the third we didn’t want to risk that chance by waiting a couple of more picks. We wanted him and he’s got good blood lines.”
After center Calle Jarnkrok was included as part of the deal to land David Legwand prior to the trade deadline it depleted Detroit’s depth chart up the middle.
The Wings’ top centers in the organization are Andreas Athanasiou, Mattias Janmark and Landon Ferraro, who is out of AHL options.
They also added center Tomas Nosek, of the Czech Republic, who’ll compete for a job at training camp.
“We have a bunch of guys that if one pans out, we might have a centerman for (Anthony) Mantha one day,” said Hakan Andersson, the Wings’ long-time director of European scouting. “That’s what we’re hoping. We’ll see. Draft a bunch of guys and then hope.”
They’re a little deeper at forward with Mantha, Teemu Pulkkinen, Martin Frk, Mitch Callahan, Zach Nastasiuk and Tyler Bertuzzi.
In the fifth round the Wings took goalie Thomas (Chase) Perry (Wenatchee, NAHL, 136th) and winger Julius Vahatalo (TPS Jr., Finland, 166th) in the sixth round.
“We always take the best player,” Andersson said. “If we end up with eight defensemen, if they’re just good enough, we can trade a few of them for other assets.
“Calle Jarnkrok was a good prospect for us, we traded him because we needed urgent help,” Andersson continued. “We looked down our lineup before this draft and we were a little bit thin at center. So we did talk about it a little. It just fell that way for us. If there would have been a defenseman we liked more we would have still drafted him. As it turned out, we drafted a couple of centermen that we seriously liked.”