Griffins Jersey Number Updates

With a relaunched website for the Grand Rapids Griffins comes an updated roster and a look at some new numbers for players entering the 2018-19 season.

Some of the Griffins newcomers have caused returning players to switch their numbers.  Axel Holmstrom will take his third number with the team, switching to #10 to allow Chris Terry to take #25.  Dylan Sadowy,meanwhile loses his #29 to new goalie Harri Sateri, switching to #28.

Trevor Yates switches from #53 to #51, with no one taking his old number.

Jake Chelios will not follow in the footsteps of his father and wear #22 for the Griffins, taking the #27 he wore with the Charlotte Checkers instead.  The #22 goes to Wade Megan.

David Pope has been assigned #12 and Givani Smith gets #54, neither of which were worn last year.  Christoffer Ehn has been given the #26 that formerly belonged to Eric Tangradi.

Incoming goalies Kaden Fulcher and Patrik Rybar will wear #33 and #42, respectively.

Jordan Topping rounds out the updates with #16.  Carter Camper and Trevor Hamilton had previously been given #19 and #14.

Zetterberg Officially Done Playing

Detroit general manager Ken Holland announced today that team captain Henrik Zetterberg‘s  back condition will keep him from returning to play.  His career is over and he will ride out the final three years of his contract on long-term injured reserve.

The announcement does not come as a surprise, with each update on Zetterberg’s condition over the summer getting progressively worse.

While the team will be without its leader, Zetterberg going on LTIR does solve their salary cap situation.  Additionally, the team could look to move his contract (or that of Johan Franzen, also “LTIRetired”) to a team that needs to get to the salary cap floor.

The Red Wings are not expected to replace Zetterberg as captain this season, instead rolling with three alternate captains.  Dylan Larkin will likely wear the third A alongside Justin Abdelkader and Niklas Kronwall.

2018 Training Camp Jersey Number Notes

The Red Wings released their 2018 training camp rosters today and with that any changed jersey numbers for players in the organization.

Unsurprisingly, July 1st free agent signees Thomas Vanek and Jonathan Bernier will wear their usual #26 and #45, with Vanek opting not to go back to the #62 he wore in his first stint with Detroit (as #26 then belonged to Tomas Jurco).

Evgeny Svechnikov appears to have switched for the second year in a row, going from the #77 he wears in Grand Rapids to the #37 he wore for his first year in Detroit.

With Svechnikov back in #37, Griffins captain Matt Ford will wear #77 in camp rather than the #79 he had last year.

Chris Terry keeps the #15 he was assigned for the prospects tournament while Colin Campbell, having lost his previous #45 to Bernier, takes the #17 vacated by the departure of David Booth.

I’d expected Tyler Bertuzzi to switch to #17 but he keeps his #59.  Maybe next year.

Pro tryout Jussi Jokinen will wear the #20 previously held by Dan Renouf while Griffins-bound forward Wade Megan has been assigned the #22 of Matt Lorito, who moved on to the Islanders organization.

Tryout Bryan Moore takes the #61 previously worn by Xavier Ouellet, who was bought out and signed with Montreal this summer.

Jake Chelios, son of Chris Chelios and signed for the Griffins, has been assigned #84.  Griffins-bound goalie Harri Sateri, who usually wears the #29 of defenseman Vili Saarijarvi, has the former #31 of Jared Coreau.

The full training camp roster is below:

Forwards

Num. Name
8 Justin Abdelkader
11 Filip Zadina
14 Gustav Nyquist
15 Chris Terry
17 Colin Campbell
20 Jussi Jokinen
22 Wade Megan
23 Dominic Turgeon
26 Thomas Vanek
27 Michael Rasmussen
28 Luke Witkowski
37 Evgeny Svechnikov
39 Anthony Mantha
40 Henrik Zetterberg
41 Luke Glendening
42 Martin Frk
43 Darren Helm
44 Dylan Sadowy
46 Lane Zablocki
48 Givani Smith
49 Axel Holmstrom
51 Frans Nielsen
53 Jordan Topping
54 Matt Puempel
56 Dominik Shine
57 Turner Elson
58 David Pope
59 Tyler Bertuzzi
61 Bryan Moore
64 Zach Gallant
67 Brady Gilmour
70 Christoffer Ehn
71 Dylan Larkin
72 Andreas Athanasiou
76 Nicolas Guay
77 Matthew Ford
81 Trevor Yates
85 Luke Kirwan
88 Carter Camper
89 Pavel Gogolev
90 Joe Veleno
92 Maxim Golod

Defensemen

Num. Name
2 Joe Hicketts
3 Nick Jensen
4 Dylan McIlrath
21 Dennis Cholowski
24 Filip Hronek
25 Mike Green
29 Vili Saarijarvi
32 Brian Lashoff
47 Libor Sulak
50 Reilly Webb
52 Jonathan Ericsson
55 Niklas Kronwall
62 Trevor Hamilton
63 Jared McIsaac
65 Danny DeKeyser
73 Marcus Crawford
74 Cole Fraser
79 Brenden Kotyk
83 Trevor Daley
84 Jake Chelios
86 Mackenze Stewart
87 Matt Register
94 Alec Regula

Goalies

Num. Name
31 Harri Sateri
34 Patrik Rybar
35 Jimmy Howard
36 Kaden Fulcher
38 Pat Nagle
45 Jonathan Bernier
68 Justin Fazio

Red Wings Reveal New “Hockeytown” Logo

We learned several weeks ago that the Red Wings would be removing the “Hockeytown” logo from center ice at Little Caesars Arena, with the promise of something new to be unveiled down the road.

Today was that unveiling, as the Red Wings released an updated “Hockeytown” logo alongside new promotional initiatives for the coming season.

Per the Red Wings…

The logo was designed by Olympia Entertainment’s creative team in conjunction with Troy, Mich.-based SMZ Advertising. The logo was selected following research collected from fans of all ages and Red Wings season ticket holders.

I’m on the record (repeatedly) as disliking the original “Hockeytown” logo.  While this is an improvement, it still comes across as extremely lazy to me.  As I often said about the original, this one only “says” Hockeytown because the word is literally plastered across the logo.

If they were going to make that same mistake again, I would have preferred to see them use the retro-looking “Hockeytown” logo from the west side of LCA.

Yzerman Steps Down as Tampa GM

Okay, I wasn’t going to even post about this as it’s only Red Wings news if you immediately jump into rumor-mongering, but if you interpret the tea leaves in just the right way, it’s very big news for Detroit.  So here we go…

Of course, if Yzerman is leaving Tampa then he has to be coming to Detroit, right? And HSJ confirms this for us.

But that wording is… Peculiar. So let’s go back to Joe Smith on that take.

Okay, that’s a little bit more clear.

What we know is that Yzerman is stepping down as GM of the Lightning.  We know he has a house and family in Detroit.  It sounds like he’s coming back to that house.

It sounds like he’s going to spend the remaining year of his contract as an adviser to the Lightning.  Which he can do from Michigan, of course.

In the meantime, Detroit has GM Ken Holland signed for two more seasons.  He could always be fired or moved into another position and just get paid to go away, so that contract doesn’t mean too much.  It is worth noting, though, that Holland refused to step aside and allow Yzerman to take over his role back in 2010, leading to Yzerman leaving for Tampa.

Aside from the rumors that have existed since Yzerman first left the Wings that he would one day return to lead the team again, we have no evidence that

The big question for me is timing.  I can understand Yzerman leaving the Lightning.  I can even understand him leaving the Lightning for the Red Wings.  I can’t understand why the eve of training camp is when he would choose to do it.

Then there’s this…

I was already concerned that this isn’t a professional move and that his return to Detroit is for personal reasons.  Pure conjecture on my part.  But that the GM community is surprised by this might lend credence to the idea.

The press conference announcing the move is at 4:00 PM today, so maybe we’ll know more then.

My LCA Center Ice Proposal

I mentioned this on Twitter earlier today but figured it’s worth a quick post here.

We found out two weeks ago that the Red Wings would be removing their “Hockeytown” logo from center ice at Little Caesars Arena.  At the time, center ice on the team’s practice rink still used that logo.  Today, however, we got the first look at that facility’s Hockeytown-less neutral zone.

As I said two weeks ago, I’m absolutely fine with the Hockeytown logo being removed. Seeing the updated practice rink, however, inspired me to draw up what I actually want to see the Red Wings use.

A proposed center ice design for Little Caesars Arena.

Note: Center ice template and base artwork courtesy Frozen Faceoff.

For reference, see their actual 2019 design.

The Little Caesars Arena wordmark is awkward under the best circumstances, as it attempts to blend the serifed, outdated Little Caesars text with a sans-serif, lowercase font for “arena” (followed by the arena logo itself).  Having that wordmark straddle the red line makes it worse.  To fix this, I take the “top” version of the arena wordmark, spin it 90 degrees, then copy that (rotated 180 degrees) to the opposite side of the faceoff circle.

All last season I found the “Little Caesars” text to be distracting, as it’s the brightest thing on the ice at LCA, and my change could help with that by having those two orange blobs of text on opposite sides of the circle.

Inside the circle I go with dual Winged Wheel logos, as the team used for much of the time prior to the Hockeytown logo.  While the logos themselves are enlarged to reflect how a modern center ice is usually filled with paint, I think this still gives a retro feel.  I also think that the Winged Wheel is two short and wide to be used across center ice as the team is now doing.

I don’t expect the Red Wings to do this, I just think that if they’re changing things up, this is what they should do.

Red Wings Abandoning “Hockeytown” Moniker?

With the annual Red Wings Fantasy Camp taking place at Little Caesars Arena today, the world got its first look at the arena’s ice for the 2018-19 season – and it was missing something.

The “Hockeytown” logo that had adorned the center ice circle for the arena’s inaugural campaign (and since the mid-1990s at Joe Louis Arena) was replaced by the team’s standard Winged Wheel logo.

Does this mean that Detroit is no longer Hockeytown?  Well, Hockeytown Cafe remains just a few blocks from the arena.  Hockeytown Authentics in Troy is still open.  However, the “Hockeytown” trademark itself is listed as “cancelled” in the US Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).

Additionally, the most recent document recorded as part of the “Hockeytown” trademark filing is a courtesy reminder from the USPTO to the Red Wings about required filings that had not been made, dated June 23, 2017.

WARNING: Your trademark registration will be CANCELLED and will EXPIRE if you do not file the required documents below during the specified statutory time periods.

The above-identified registration registered on Jun 23, 1998. Therefore, the owner of the registration must file a Declaration of Use and/or Excusable Nonuse and an Application for Renewal under §§8 and 9 of the Trademark Act anytime between now and Jun 25, 2018. For an additional fee, the owner may file the documents within the six-month grace period that ends on Dec 24, 2018. See 15 U.S.C. §§1058, 1059. The current fee for a combined filing under §§8 and 9 is $425 per class if the filing is made via the Trademark Electronic Application System (“TEAS”) and $725 per class if the filing is made on paper, and the additional fee for filing during the six-month grace period is $200 per class if the filing is made via TEAS and $400 per class if the filing is made on paper. 37 C.F.R. §2.6.

A “cancelled” trademark is not the same as one classified as “dead,” though it would seem to be a sign that the Red Wings are – at the very least – scaling back their use of the mark.

The Detroit News and Free Press initially reached out to the Red Wings regarding the change at center ice and did not receive a response.  A prepared statement was later released.

At center ice, we will debut a fresh, new look: the Winged Wheel, one of the most iconic logos in professional sports, will be prominently featured. Also, in the coming days, several new initiatives that celebrate the fans and passion of Hockeytown are scheduled to be announced.

In the storefront at Fanatics.com, the official supplier of NHL merchandise, only two items were returned by a search for “Hockeytown” – both discounted.

It’s worth noting that center ice at the team’s training facility still featured the Hockeytown logo as of Thursday.  Additionally, the team’s statement used the word “Hockeytown” even while confirming that the logo would no longer be in place at center ice.


Personally, I would be fine with the Hockeytown name being abandoned.  I’ve written previously about disliking the name and the logo.

That said, I’d prefer to see the team go back to a pair of Winged Wheels on either side of center ice rather than one giant logo filling the faceoff circle.

Red Wings Sign Larkin to Five-Year Deal

The Red Wings announced on Friday the signing of restricted free agent forward Dylan Larkin to a five-year deal.

Per idiotic team policy, the financial terms of the contract were not announced, but The Athletic’s Craig Custance almost immediately reported the deal to be worth $6.1 million annually.

Larkin will be an unrestricted free agent when the contract ends.

With the signing, the Red Wings have 22 players on their roster for next season and $82,772,044 against the salary cap, which is set at $79,500,000.  While Johan Franzen going on LTIR will save them almost $4 million, those numbers include only six defensemen on the roster, leaving the Red Wings in a bit of a cap crunch, especially if Michael Rasmussen and Filip Zadina are expected to compete for roster spots.

Even assuming that Martin Frk and Luke Witkowski are treated as expendable and are replaced on the roster by Rasmussen and Zadina, the Red Wings end up about $44,000 over the cap without resolving their blueline depth issues.

Shifting Witkowski to defense and sending Frk to Grand Rapids could possibly open a spot for either Rasmussen or Zadina but then Joe Hicketts and Filip Hronek are shut out of a spot in Detroit.

Bottom line?  If any of “the kids” are going to make the Red Wings’ opening night roster, more moves are coming, with Henrik Zetterberg‘s health likely to play a large part in that.

2018 Prospects Tournament Jersey Number Notes

The Red Wings released their roster for the 2018 Prospects Tournament in Traverse City today, which means we have new jersey numbers to over-analyze.

As always, the Red Wings’ official stance is that camp numbers are meaningless, so this all needs to be taken with a grain of salt.  But – as I always say – there are a lot of times that we can read something that hasn’t officially been announced from these choices.

There are only six players who appeared at the Red Wings’ development camp in June who will return with different numbers.

Kaden Fulcher, who has worn a slew of numbers in various camps with the Red Wings, switches from the #60 he had at development camp to the #36 that was worn by Filip Larsson.  Meanwhile free agent tryout Justin Fazio, a late addition in June, goes from #30 to #68.

Those are easy to read nothing into as the Red Wings generally assign #36, #38, and #68 to their prospect goalies.

Grand Rapids Griffins signing Jordan Topping takes the #53 that had been worn by Kaspar Kotkansalo, which probably just means that Kotkansalo won’t be in Traverse City this year and doesn’t need that number.

Free agent invitee Nicolas Guay switches from #20 to the #76 last worn by Chase Pearson.  I think this means that one of the Wings’ Grand Rapids-bound summer signings will wear #20 in camp (or on a call-up) but I don’t know which one.

Finally, there’s David Pope and Christopher Ehn.  Pope lost his #11 to Filip Zadina for development camp this year and wore #45 there but will wear #58 (worn by Griffins forward Luke Esposito last year).  Ehn had worn #45 at last year’s development camp and will now wear the #70 that Jack Adams wore in June.

Both players switching numbers seems to clear the way for goalie Jonathan Bernier to wear his usual #45.  Bernier was originally listed on the Detroit roster with that number but currently does not have a number assigned.

Speaking of July 1 signings, it looks like Thomas Vanek will wear his usual #26 this time around with the Wings.  That’s the number he’s listed with on the team roster but he wore #62 last time around as #26 was taken by Tomas Jurco.  Vanek’s former #62 was worn by Trevor Hamilton in development camp and Hamilton will keep it for the prospects tournament, so it doesn’t look like Vanek needs it.

Red Wings Sign Mantha to Bridge Deal

The Red Wings announced on Wednesday the signing of forward Anthony Mantha to a two-year contract.

As per annoying policy, financial terms were not announced, however MLive’s Ansar Khan immediately reported that it carries a $3.3 million salary cap hit.  From the term and salary, this qualifies as a “bridge deal” under which Mantha will be expected to further prove himself before cashing in on a bigger contract.

With Mantha signed, Dylan Larkin is now the Red Wings’ lone remaining unsigned restricted free agent.