Red Wings Name Kronwall Third Alternate Captain

Just hours before their regular season opener, the Detroit Red Wings announced today that defenseman Niklas Kronwall will serve as the team’s third alternate captain for the coming season.

He joins Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk as team captain Nicklas Lidstrom‘s alternates. The two allowed As are expected to rotate among the three alternate captains.

Kronwall replaces Kris Draper, who was in the alternate captain rotation with Zetterberg and Datsyuk for the past four seasons.

Opening Night Roster Predictions

The Red Wings came into this preseason with a pretty firm roster, but solid play by a prospect and a tryout, on top of a handful of injuries, have shaken things up a bit. Here are my thoughts on what Detroit’s roster will look like on opening night.

Yeah, I’m starting with the easy one. With Joey MacDonald and Jordan Pearce having been sent down to Grand Rapids today, we already know (not that there was much doubt) that Jimmy Howard and Ty Conklin will be the goaltending tandem. The only interesting thing to come out of this preseason is an extension of last season, that it appears that Pearce has passed Thomas McCollum on the Wings’ depth chart.

With Detroit having eight blueliners signed to one-way deals this year, the preseason wasn’t as much about who would make the team as who wouldn’t. There was talk about Brendan Smith making the team out of camp but a lot would have needed to happen for that to come to pass. Doug Janik is the odd man out, as he’s been sent to Grand Rapids. Like MacDonald, he’ll have to clear waivers to play for the Griffins.

The injury to Mike Commodore makes things a little bit interesting for Detroit’s defense. The Red Wings organization has said he won’t be placed on IR because the team doesn’t play enough games for him to come off when he’s expected to be healthy. This means he takes up a roster spot, so no one will be kept up to replace him. Jakub Kindl wins the sixth defenseman spot by default.

Here’s where the fun is. Detroit came into the preseason with fourteen roster spots available at forward and fourteen forwards signed who would have to clear waivers to go to Grand Rapids. It seemed certain that Jan Mursak and Cory Emmerton had the 13th and 14th forward spots locked up with twelve forwards returning from last season’s roster.

Then Mursak got hurt, Fabian Brunnstrom had a productive try-out, and Gustav Nyquist turned heads in his first Detroit training camp.

Emmerton played well enough to keep the spot that was assumed to be his. Solid on faceoffs but not much scoring, just what a spare part is expected to be.

Brunnstrom played well with the puck and scored a handful of goals. It’s almost certain he’ll sign a two-way deal in the next day or so, the question is whether he starts the season with the Red Wings or Griffins.

Nyquist made the case that he could play in the NHL right now. Two goals in Detroit’s exhibition closer today showed that if nothing else did. Unfortunately for him, he isn’t subject to waivers so he can be sent to GR at no cost.

The way I see it, Brunnstrom is a Red Wing on opening night with Nyquist going to the Griffins. Brunnstrom has until January to prove he belongs with Detroit more than Emmerton, with a decision to be made when Mursak comes back.

Edit: Of course, within minutes of me posting this, the Wings announced that Nyquist was sent to GR. That makes it pretty clear that Brunnstrom has the 14th forward spot.

Postgame: Penguins @ Red Wings, 10/2

Thoughts immediately after Detroit’s 3-2 win over Pittsburgh…

I’m still not happy with how the Red Wings are playing in their own zone but that late PK made me feel a lot better about it. That was a really solid kill while down two men (as Fleury was pulled). As I mentioned, I really liked Pittsburgh’s strategy there, the Wings just didn’t let them take advantage.

My thoughts on Detroit’s opening night lineup will go out later tonight but I’ll be damned if Gustav Nyquist didn’t do everything he could to make sure he’s on it. I don’t think anyone had a better camp than he did. He was first star tonight and deserved it.

Jimmy Howard had a really solid night, too, after a handful of weaker-than-normal outings. Picked the right time to calm things down a bit.

The Wings in their own zone still concern me overall. It seems like they’re not getting the puck out well, or they clear the zone but don’t get a clean break into the other end, so it’s right back at them.

Patrick Eaves going down after the blocked shot in the first period really concerns me. Preseason is not the time to be getting injured, we’ve seen enough of that with several players already banged up.

Red Wings Sign Brunnstrom

The Detroit Red Wings have signed forward Fabian Brunnstrom to a contract, the blog The Production Line reports.

Detroit general manager spoke to the media about signing Brunnstrom last week.

“When we talked about a tryout contract, at the same time we talked about if things did go good in the tryout, what it would take to sign him. What they were thinking contract wise, what we were thinking contract wise. We were on the same page. I’m comfortable with what it’s going to take to get a contract done if we choose to sign him.”

Brunnstrom scored three goals in his first four preseason games while playing on a pro tryout contract. Combined with an injury to Jan Mursak, it was enough to earn a roster spot with the Red Wings.

As per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not announced. The contract is for one year and is a two-way deal.

Nyquist Scores Twice as Wings Down Pens in Exhibition Finale

Red Wings rookie Gustav Nyquist scored twice and added an assist Sunday night, helping Detroit to a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the team’s final exhibition match of the preseason.

Nyquist opened the game’s scoring just 1:03 in, when he pounced on a rebound given up by Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and slid the puck into the net.

He assisted on Detroit’s second goal, sending a pass from behind the net to Johan Franzen out in front. Franzen stepped around Fleury and wristed a shot in the open net, giving the Red Wings a 2-1 lead with 9:17 left in the first.

Nyquist’s power play goal with 3:53 left in the second made it 3-1. Nyquist took the puck in the left faceoff circle and dished it off to Franzen along the boards. Franzen sent it back to Nyquist for a quick one-timer past Fleury.

Paul Martin and Tyler Kennedy scored for Pittsburgh. Martin’s goal came at 5:48 when he pinched in to blast a loose puck past Jimmy Howard from the left circle. Kennedy knocked the puck home with 50 seconds remaining during a scramble in front of the net.

The Red Wings went one-for-three on the power play on the night. Pittsburgh was scoreless on four tries with the man-advantage.

Howard made 25 saves on 27 Penguins shots while Fleury stopped 15 of 18 Detroit chances.

The Red Wings are next in action on Friday when they host the Ottawa Senators to open the regular season.

Nyquist was among eight players sent down to the Grand Rapids Griffins after the game.

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