The Detroit Red Wings announced their initial roster for the 2021-22 NHL season on Monday, making their final cuts by sending Riley Barber, Taro Hirose, and Joe Veleno to the Grand Rapids Griffins.
The Detroit #RedWings today assigned Riley Barber, Taro Hirose and Joe Veleno to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins. Additionally, Detroit designated Kyle Criscuolo and Seth Barton as injured non-roster and placed Jakub Vrana on IR.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) October 11, 2021
The team also announced the termination Bobby Ryan’s pro try-out, removing him from their roster.
As had been previously announced, Detroit is opening the season with 13 forwards, eight defensemen, and two goalies.
The most notable item in the team’s initial 23-man roster might be the inclusion of 2020 first-round draft pick Lucas Raymond, who practiced with Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi on the team’s top line in preparation for the Red Wings’ season opener on Thursday.
While Ryan and Raymond may not have been fighting for the same roster spot, the fact that Raymond made the team while Ryan didn’t does seem to be a change for the Red Wings. Under previous general manager Ken Holland, “the tie goes to the veteran” was a common refrain. Current GM Steve Yzerman could have made room for Ryan at the expense of a number of younger players and the fact that he didn’t may show that veteran status won’t always be the tiebreaker going forward.
In addition to Raymond, 2019 first-round pick Moritz Seider will start the season in Detroit, though this was expected after his breakout campaign in the SHL last season.
One of the Red Wings’ young prospects who had been expected to challenge for a roster spot didn’t make it, with Veleno having been sent to Grand Rapids. There’s an argument that Veleno could have been picked over Mitchell Stephens or Carter Rowney for a spot on the Wings’ fourth line and but one could also say he’s better suited playing top-line minutes with the Griffins than fourth-line minutes in Detroit.
It’s also important to note that, while this is Detroit’s initial roster, required to be set by 5:00 PM today, there is plenty of time between now and Thursday’s opener for things to change. Notably, Adam Erne, Givani Smith, and Michael Rasmussen are all nursing injuries. With only 13 forwards on the roster, a call-up will be necessary if more than one of them is unable to play.