2021 Training Camp Jersey Number Notes

The Red Wings announced their 2021 training camp roster on Wednesday and, following the Tuesday announcement of Bobby Ryan joining the team on a PTO, there were no surprises on the roster itself.

Which means I get to move on to my favorite annual tradition: Analyzing jersey number changes.

Between returning players from last year’s roster, incoming players who had already had their numbers announced, and players whose numbers were revealed by Detroit’s prospects tournament roster, there weren’t a lot of surprises left.

The biggest surprise is probably Taro Hirose switching from #67 to #25.  He’d previously switched to #67 after debuting wearing #53, specifically requesting a number with a seven in it, so switching to a number without a seven was unexpected, to me.

Additionally, Hirose’s switch makes Mitchell Stephens having picked #22 interesting.  Stephens had worn #67 with the Tampa Bay Lightning and seemingly wore it whenever his preferred #27 wasn’t available.  With #27 taken by Michael Rasmussen in Detroit and #67 vacated by Hirose, I’m surprised that Stephens went with #22 instead.

Two players making their returns to the Detroit organization also have some slightly-surprising numbers.

Luke Witkowski will wear #20 in Detroit’s camp after having worn #28 in his first stint with the Wings.  I’d wondered if Gustav Lindstrom would give up #28 but he keeps it, and Witkowski’s usual alternate number #82 went to summer free agent signing Jordan Oesterle.

Dan Renouf had previously worn #77 in Detroit but that number is now assigned to Oscar Plandowski.  In camp, he’d also worn the #20 taken by Witkowski, leaving him switching to the #21 made available by Dennis Cholowski’s departure.

The full training camp roster is as follows:

Forwards

Num. Name
11 Filip Zadina
14 Robby Fabbri
15 Jakub Vrana
22 Mitchell Stephens
23 Lucas Raymond
24 Pius Suter
25 Taro Hirose
26 Riley Barber
27 Michael Rasmussen
37 Carter Rowney
42 Kyle Criscuolo
46 Chase Pearson
48 Givani Smith
50 Dominik Shine
51 Hayden Verbeek
52 Jonatan Berggren
54 Bobby Ryan
56 Pasquale Zito
57 Turner Elson
58 Cameron Butler
59 Tyler Bertuzzi
61 T-Bone Codd
62 Cooper Walker
63 Jon Martin
64 Luke Toporowski
67 Dennis Yan
71 Dylan Larkin
73 Adam Erne
74 Cross Hanas
76 Tyler Spezia
78 Patrick Curry
79 Kirill Tyutyayev
89 Sam Gagner
90 Joe Veleno
92 Vladislav Namestnikov

Defensemen

Num. Name
2 Nick Leddy
3 Jared McIsaac
17 Filip Hronek
18 Marc Staal
20 Luke Witkowski
21 Dan Renouf
28 Gustav Lindstrom
32 Brian Lashoff
44 Donovan Sebrango
47 Wyatt Newpower
49 Seth Barton
53 Moritz Seider
65 Danny DeKeyser
70 Troy Stetcher
77 Oscar Plandowski
82 Jordan Oesterle
83 Mason Ward
84 Alex Cotton
86 Adam Brubacher
87 Ryan Murphy

Goalies

Num. Name
29 Thomas Greiss
31 Calvin Pickard
33 Sebastian Cossa
34 Victor Brattstrom
36 Kaden Fulcher
39 Alex Nedeljkovic
60 Jan Bednar

Twenty-five Years

Today marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the day I started the site that would become DetroitHockey.Net.  As has become the norm on the site’s anniversary, I feel like I should say something profound and find myself coming up short.

When I think about those bad old days of the Internet and compare them to now, I feel very “old man shakes fist at cloud.” Back in my day, we didn’t have Twitter/Facebook/podcasts/YouTube/running water/WordPress.

There’s a bit of “the more things change, the more things stay the same,” too, though.  Take a look at accreditation and access.

In the bad old days, “fan sites” would never be given media credentials.  This later extended to blogs, especially through the late-aughts.  Now, with the collapse of the journalism industry, PHWA members have had to resort to blogging and, for some reason, suddenly that “no blogs” rule doesn’t apply to them.

¯_(ツ)_/¯

But, as I said off the top, that’s nothing profound.  I’ve been at this for a long time.  Maybe I’ll be at it for a long time more.  We’ll see.


I’ve made a tradition of talking about the jersey numbers matching each of DH.N’s anniversaries.  Number 25 is an easy one.

Darren McCarty was wearing #25 when this site first started and held onto it until his post-lockout buyout in 2005.  He then reclaimed it when he returned to the team in 2008 and wore it through the 2009 season.

Brian Lashoff was assigned the number in camp in 2010, having previously worn #65 and #49 in various camps.  He would eventually switch to #23 before giving it up to Dominic Turgeon and switching to #32.

When Lashoff switched to #23 in 2012, it gave Cory Emmerton the opportunity to take #25, having debuted with the Wings wearing #48.

Upon Emmerton’s departure for the KHL in 2014, #25 was assigned to Dylan Larkin at the Wings’ summer development camp.  He would never wear it in a game for Detroit, though, as Mike Green was signed that summer and claimed the number.  Larkin was set to switch to #17 in honor of Doug Brown but it ended up being taken by free agent signee Brad Richards, leading to Larkin ending up with #71 and Vili Saarijarvi switching from #71 to #28 (and later to #29, though he only wore these numbers in camps).

Since Green’s departure, #25 has gone unassigned, but the pending announcement of Detroit’s training camp roster could change that.

AHL Expansion Names: Coachella Valley Replaces Palm Springs?

If a series of trademark filings made earlier this week are to be believed, the American Hockey League expansion team previously referred to as Palm Springs could instead be using “Coachella Valley” as their place name.

Trademarks for the names Coachella Valley Firebirds, Coachella Valley Dragons, Coachella Valley Eagles, and Coachella Valley Falcons were all applied for on August 31, by the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.  That firm had previously worked on trademarks for Oak View Group, owners of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken and the incoming AHL franchise that will be Seattle’s affiliate.

All four nicknames were previously attached to trademark filings with “Palm Springs” as the place name.

The trademark application for Palm Springs Firebirds had initially been rejected by the US Patent & Trademark Office, citing the “Firebirds” name being in use by the Ontario Hockey League’s Flint Firebirds.  That issue was later resolved.  Given that the OVG organization took steps to make sure that “Firebirds” would be available to them, it looked a lot like the team was likely to be the Palm Springs Firebirds.

With the new filings, it would appear that Coachella Valley Firebirds is now the front-runner.

It should be noted that, despite not being rejected by the USPTO, neither Palm Springs Eagles nor Coachella Valley Eagles is an option for the incoming expansion team, as the Colorado Eagles are already in the AHL.

The change of place name is likely related to arena issues for the new team.  Originally, the team was slated to play in a new arena in Palm Springs, with OVG partnering with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians on the arena.  That partnership later broke down and OVG moved on to a different arena property near Palm Desert.


Update, September 5, 3:50 PM: In addition to the above trademarks, domain registrations also seem to point to Coachella Valley Firebirds as the incoming AHL team’s name.

On September 3, the following domains were registered representing names from the trademark applications on August 31:

coachellavalleyeagles.com
coachellavalleyfalcons.com
coachellavalleydragons.com

These were all registered after the trademark applications would have become public.  Noticeably absent from the list is coachellavalleyfirebirds.com, which was registered on July 13.

All four of the domains were registered privately so ownership information is unavailable.  However, the timing of the registrations could tell us something.

The registrations that came after the trademark applications became public look a lot like the M.O. of a domain squatter; someone who could be monitoring trademarks and then registering related domain names in the hopes of turning around and re-selling the domain(s) to the trademark holder.

The registration of coachellavalleyfirebirds.com, however, came before the trademarks were filed.  While it could still be the work of a squatter making an educated guess, a squatter probably would have protected their investment by going after all of the rumored team names instead of just Firebirds.  The registration of a domain related to a single team name prior to public acknowledgement of that team name seems to imply inside knowledge that the team had already made its choice.

Red Wings Re-Sign RFA Hronek

The Detroit Red Wings announced yesterday the signing of restricted free agent defenseman Filip Hronek to a three-year deal.

As per usual, the team did not announce the financial terms of the deal. It was later reported to carry a $4.4 million salary cap hit.

With Hronek signed, Givani Smith is the only remaining restricted free agent left without a contract for Detroit.

Hronek has been Detroit’s top defenseman but that has been more by default than due to his skills.  It feels somewhat unfair to knock him for that, but it does make me wonder if $4.4 million is too much.  How do you judge a number one defenseman who’s not really a number one defenseman?

That said, the Wings aren’t up against the cap and aren’t projected to be anytime soon so even if $4.4 million is too much, it probably won’t be a problem.

Red Wings to Buy Out Nielsen

Per CapFriendly, the Detroit Red Wings have opted to use their second buyout window to buy out the final year of forward Frans Nielsen‘s contract.

The Wings have no use for Nielsen going forward, so to that extent is makes sense to just cut him loose now. That said, the team isn’t exactly hurting for cap space, so I’m not sure what the benefit is to spreading the cost of a buyout over two seasons rather than just burying him in Grand Rapids and eating the cap hit all in one year.

Of course, it could be just that I’m a lot more willing to dump guys in GR than Steve Yzerman is. I would have done that with Nielsen and with Justin Abdelkader last summer (at least for one more year). It seems like Yzerman might be doing the “honorable” thing and not forcing veterans to ride the bus in the AHL.

Either way, Nielsen is gone at little future cost to the Wings, with a roster spot cleared up.

This also means that, combined with the departure of Luke Glendening as a free agent, both of the alternate captains from Dylan Larkin‘s first year wearing the C for Detroit are gone.  My guess is that Sam Gagner and Danny DeKeyser will each wear an A next season.

Wings Sign Center Pius Suter to Two-Year Deal

The Detroit Red Wings announced the signing of center Pius Suter to a two-year deal on Wednesday.

The deal reportedly carries a $3.25 million salary cap hit.

Suter comes to Detroit from the Chicago Blackhawks, who signed him as a free agent last offseason but did not give him a qualifying offer this summer, rendering him an unrestricted free agent.

Suter had a great rookie year – including scoring his first career hat-trick against Detroit – and I kind of love this pick-up, but I do worry that he could be Damien Brunner 2.0.  Even if he is, though, this seems like a low-risk, high-reward move, the kind that Detroit GM Steve Yzerman has mostly done well with since taking over the Red Wings.

Red Wings Sign Pair of Depth Defensemen

The Red Wings are signing a pair of depth defensemen: Jordan Oesterle from the Arizona Coyotes and Ryan Murphy from the American Hockey League’s Henderson Silver Knights.

Oesterle, a Dearborn Heights native and Western Michigan University product, effectively replaces Alex Biega in the Detroit system while Murphy, signed to a two-way deal, can be expected to spend most of his time with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

This effectively locks in Detroit’s blueline for the coming season as follows:

Filip HronekDanny DeKeyser
Moritz SeiderNick Leddy
Troy Stetcher – Marc Staal
Gustav Lindstrom
Oesterle

Murphy helps fill gaps in a Griffins’ defensive corps that could be decimated by free agent departures.  Captain Brian Lashoff and veteran presence Dylan McIlrath are both free agents and longtime Griffin Joe Hicketts just signed with the Minnesota Wild.

Wings Sign Pickard to One-Year Extension

The Detroit Red Wings announced the signing of goalie Calvin Pickard to a one-year contract extension on Wednesday.

Pickard is expected to serve as the starting goalie with the Grand Rapids Griffins, behind newly-acquired Alex Nedeljkovic and returning Thomas Greiss in Detroit.

With the Red Wings’ organizational goaltending in a bit of flux, keeping the veteran netminder with the Griffins gives a bit of important continuity.

Red Wings Extend Gagner for One Year

Just before NHL free agency opened on Wednesday, the Detroit Red Wings announced the signing of veteran center Sam Gagner to a one-year contract extension.

Financial terms were not announced but the deal is reportedly worth $850,000.

Of the Red Wings’ three pending unrestricted free agent veteran forwards, Gagner was the one who made the most sense to me to re-sign.

Luke Glendening seems likely to sign a contract for more money and/or more term than I think the Wings should pay.  Bobby Ryan may be in the same situation, with an added negative of being a winger when the Red Wings seemingly needed to focus on center depth.

Red Wings Re-Up Staal on One Year Deal

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Sunday the signing of defenseman Marc Staal to a one-year contract extension.

Staal had been a pending unrestricted free agent.  He was originally acquired last offseason in a salary dump move from the New York Rangers.

The deal is reportedly worth $2 million and includes a full no movement clause.

There were probably better defensemen that the Wings could have chased down in free agency but, since the end of the season, word from the organization has been that they wanted to bring Staal back.  Clearly the interest was mutual.

I don’t love the deal.  I’d rather have seen that cap space spent on another salary dump from another team.  That said, there are only so many of those available.  Also, $2 million is an absolutely fine number for Staal.  If he’s open to it (because of the no movement clause), the Wings can retain half of his salary and move him on to a contender at the deadline pretty easily.

It does mean that Detroit’s blueline is pretty set at this point.

Filip HronekDanny DeKeyser
Moritz SeiderNick Leddy
Troy Stetcher – Staal
Gustav Lindstrom

Those aren’t meant to be true pairings, just an idea of how spots could play out.  The point is that Staal is a $2 million third-pairing guy and that’s not horrible, even if I don’t entirely love it either.