I’ve been told time and time again that jersey numbers at the Red Wings’ development camp are meaningless but we’ve seen hints of pending changes there in the past. For example, Philippe Hudon being assigned the #63 that had been worn by Joakim Andersson was the first sign of Andersson’s switch to #18 back in 2013.
That said, of late there have been many cases of assigned numbers being handed out for the development camp, especially goalie numbers. A previously-assigned number being given out at camp doesn’t mean the player who had it is switching, it’s just worth looking out for.
This year the Red Wings didn’t release a roster that included player numbers but George Malik noted them in his first write-up from camp.
I predicted last week that Ryan Sproul might be changing his number. With new draftee Gustav Lindstrom wearing #48, that could be a sign. Of course, I thought Sproul might take #4, which is now assigned to Alfons Malmstrom.
Malmstrom wore #88 in camp last season, which is assigned to free agent signee Libor Sulak this time around. Sulak’s usual number is #88 so it would appear that he wanted that number and would wear it if he makes the Wings’ roster.
Somewhat unexpectedly, 2017 first-rounder Michael Rasmussen is wearing the #37 that had been assigned to Evgeny Svechnikov. Svechnikov also wore #37 in his first full season with the Grand Rapids Griffins before switching to #77. Dan Renouf had been assigned #77 but is not in camp, so we don’t know if Rasmussen getting #37 while #77 is unassigned means Svechnikov is switching to #77 again.
Also somewhat oddly, Dylan Sadowy kept the #44 he got after Steve Ott took his usual #29 rather than switching back, with #29 going unassigned.
Aside from that, there are some relatively normal number shifts.
Dennis Cholowski switched from #95 to the #2 vacated by Brendan Smith, with Jordan Sambrook going from #94 to #95 (which he wore for the prospects tournament last fall). Patrick Holway went from #4 to #24. Mattias Elfstrom went from #82 to #56. Chase Pearson took Tomas Jurco‘s #26 instead of #92 while David Pope got Daniel Cleary‘s #11 instead of #90 (which went to goalie Keith Petruzelli).
As I mentioned, the goalie numbers almost never matter, but there were changes there, too. Filip Larsson went from #31 to #68, with Chase Perry going from #68 to #30 and Matej Machovsky going from #30 to #31, which is still assigned to Jared Coreau. Meanwhile Joren van Pottelberghe went from #50 to #38, which will probably be assigned to Tom McCollum by the time the main camp comes around, as he wore it in his initial stint with Detroit.
What’s all that mean? Probably not much. I still think Sproul is changing and now I wouldn’t be surprised if Svechnikov is as well. Numbers for Trevor Daley and Luke Witkowski probably aren’t reflected here as the roster was set before they signed (although I have a second prediction of Witkowski taking #28 and Vili Saarijarvi switching to #17).
Update – 7/9, 11:30 AM: The Red Wings tweeted out a roster with jersey numbers included in advance of today’s scrimmage. It includes confirmation of Axel Holmstrom‘s #96 being assigned to Michael Pastujov and I think I know what to read into this now.
Evgeny Svechnikov, Axel Holmstrom, and Joe Hicketts (among others) were all expected to attend development camp until the Grand Rapids Griffins made their Calder Cup run. The players wearing their numbers were all late additions to the development camp roster. I’d be willing to bet the jerseys were already made up so they just swapped the names.
For the record, here’s the full list of numbers: