After watching defender Moritz Seder dominate the Swedish Hockey League in 2020-21, the Detroit Red Wings brass were confident he would secure a place on the list last fall.
General Manager Steve Yzerman was less confident about Lucas Raymond. He was younger and less experienced than Seder.
But Raymond was so impressive in training camp and pre-season that he forced the Red Wings to keep him.
That could happen again this season with another rookie or two.
Although the Red Wings currently have 27 players with NHL experience on their roster, Yzerman said he would find a way to retain the rookie if he secured a spot on the team.
As the Hall of Famer points out, it would be nice to have you if a rookie asserted himself the way Raymond did.
The Red Wings are expecting a 6-foot-6 defender Simon Edvinson To Make his presence felt at the training camp. It would be a surprise if the team didn’t make it.
This is how fellow draft pick Theodore Niederbach at Red Wings, Edvinson describes: “He’s a D. He’s got size, skill and speed. He can play O-zone, D-zone, anywhere. I’d say he’s almost a complete D guy.”
Are there likely to be many rookies making the team? This word may be too powerful. But it’s possible that Jonathan Bergren could shine enough to break camp with the Red Wings. The Red Wings have certainly appreciated the growth they’ve had at Grand Rapids this season.
Berggren will take a look
He’s more of a playmaker winger than a scorer. But Raymond was also considered a better playmaker than a scorer before he made it to the National Hockey League.
The Red Wings are also very excited about Elmer Soderblom’s potential.
Edvinson says of Soderblum: “He loves to score goals, he’s a good scorer, and a great ball protector. He’s a great skater. Overall, he had a massive development last year. When you see him here for the first time you’ll get to know him. He’s a really great player.”
Defenseman Albert Johansson can also file a case. Anderson Pontus is a wild card. He is a 23-year-old Swedish Hockey League player who has signed with Detroit as a free agent.
Injuries will open the door to a crack for beginners. The 27 experienced players include Robbie Fabry (knee), Jake Wolman (shoulder) and Mark Pesek (Achilles). Everyone will start the season on the injured list.
Butzerman may not have to do anything to make room for the newcomers.
If there are more injuries, the Red Wings may have enough room to start the season with several rookies. Yzerman can also open up a menu space with a deal or two
But if there are no injuries or deals, one or two experienced players may lose their job. Some fans may see Filip Zadina on this list, but he is only 22 years old. You can still see some potential. The Red Wings don’t seem ready to give up on Zadina.
Here are some of the weak players:
1. Defenseman Stephen Kampfer
Kampfer is on a two-way contract and appears to be brought in to be a veteran who could switch between Detroit and Grand Rapids, depending on the Red Wings’ injury status.
He is 33 years old and has 231 games of NHL experience. But his $300,000 salary may dissuade the team from asking for waivers.
2. Joe Velino Center
The Red Wings know Joe Veleno can play in the NHL, but they want him to produce more than he did last season. Velino had some good chances last season and didn’t differentiate himself. He was sometimes solid, sometimes influential, but he was never a difference maker.
He will turn 23 in January. The Red Wings still think they can reach another level. But he is weak because he is still exempt from the waiver. This is critical. Yzerman could send him to the American Hockey League without being excused.
3. Defenseman Jordan Austerle
He did his job as a deeply defensive man. It’s hard to go long without playing and then getting into the squad and expecting to be ready to work in the game.
Osterl did it a few times last season and usually did a decent job. The Red Wings don’t seem to be disappointed with their work. But he is 30 years old in the final year of his contract. It is not part of rebuilding.
4. Right winger Jeffani Smith
If the Red Wings put it in concessions, they would have to expect to claim it. His physical strength can be intimidating.
But the Red Wings had hope that he would turn into a third line force, a strong checker, strong striking, effective who could contribute 10 or 12 goals.
He’ll be 25 years old and he’s not there yet. The Red Wings probably won’t want to give in to him until they see what new coach Derek Lalonde can do with him.
Left winger Adam Earn
Adam Ernie It was a strong season in 2020-21 and had less impact last season. But he still leads the team in strikes.
Maybe Steve Yzerman wasn’t in a hurry to dismiss him. But he’ll be a free agent this summer. The Red Wings need to add some physical players, not take away from them.
But if you’re trying to make room for a bigger scorer or striker, he might be weak.
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