I write about possible sweater number changes every summer and with Monday’s release of the Red Wings’ 2014 Development Camp roster, we’ve got the first opportunity to take a look at some possibilities.
As always, the official disclaimer from Detroit is that these numbers mean nothing. As I always say, however, history doesn’t show that. Usually if a number is assigned to a player in camp, it won’t be worn by a roster player in the coming season.
Last year was the first year since I’ve been tracking that players in development camp were assigned numbers already worn by roster players, as Petr Mrazek’s #34 went to free agent try-out Andrew D’Agostini. Tomas Tatar’s #21 was given to Luke Glendening but there is evidence that Tatar was going to switch to #90 before Stephen Weiss got it. Phillippe Hudon getting the #63 previously worn by Joakim Andersson was the first sign of Andersson taking #18.
This year we have no obvious changes as all of the players wearing numbers that were taken last season have the numbers that belonged to departing free agents.
There are some oddities and humorous assignments, though.
For the first time I can remember, numbers in the 90s are in use. One of those is Axel Holmstrom being assigned the #96 formerly worn by the unrelated Tomas Holmstrom. Similarly, returning camp invitee Dean Chelios wears the #24 previously worn by his father, Chris Chelios. Dominic Turgeon will don a number one higher than that of his dad, Pierre Turgeon, having been assigned #78. The team missed out on one more such opportunity, as Tyler Bertuzzi keeps his #59 rather than taking his uncle’s #44, with Todd Bertuzzi now out of the Red Wings’ plans.
For the record, I expect the #44 to go to Colin Campbell in the main camp.
Only one returning player who isn’t a free agent tryout is changing his number from last season, as David Pope drops down from #64 to the #63 vacated by Hudon.
Numbers for players making their first appearance at development camp are as follows (again, with free agents excluded):
Larkin takes the #25 vacated by Cory Emmerton, Marshall gets the #51 assigned in training camp to Brennan Evans last year, and Mike McKee gets the #58 previously assigned to Max Nicastro, who was not giving a qualifying contract offer by Detroit.