On Blashill and Other Season-Ending Thoughts

The Red Wings ended their season on Friday night in New Jersey and entered the offseason with a slate of decisions to make about the direction of the team. It took under a day for General Manager Steve Yzerman to make the first one.

Jeff Blashill will not return as the team’s head coach.

The move comes in the form of the team cleaning house behind the bench. Assistant coach Doug Houda and goalie coach Jeff Salajko will also not return.  It is believed – coach contracts are rarely made as public as player contracts – that none of the three were explicitly fired; instead their contracts were not renewed.

Assistant coach Alex Tanguay remains with the team.  The 2021-22 campaign was his first in Detroit.

Blashill, as The Athletic’s Max Bultman notes, never had much to work with as far as player personnel goes, taking the team over from Mike Babcock as the Red Wings entered their current rebuild.  There seems to be the thought that he’ll end up coaching back in the NHL sooner rather than later.  In the meantime, there’s already buzz that he could take over the Ferris State program in 2023.

For the Red Wings, though, answering the question of whether or not Blashill would return has just raised another; that of who will replace him.

I won’t pretend to have insight into what Yzerman might be thinking regarding that (turn to Bultman again for some options Yzerman might be considering).  My hope – and my expectation given Yzerman’s history – is that we won’t see someone from the NHL coaching carousel brought in.  No John Tortorella or Paul Maurice or Dave Tippett.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m equal parts curious and terrified of the idea of bringing Sergei Fedorov over from CSKA Moscow of the KHL, with all the baggage that would entail. I’d been on the Roger Ronnberg bandwagon for a while but I’m not so sure about that anymore.

Whoever the new coach is, another big question for the summer is how similar the team he takes over looks to the one Blashill leaves behind.

Thomas Greiss is expected to depart as a free agent this summer, opening up the backup slot with the Red Wings.  Is the late-season signing of Magnus Hellberg, who made his Detroit debut in the season finale, a sign that he has the inside track on replacing him?  Hellberg himself is an unrestricted free agent, so he might not even return.  If Calvin Pickard leaves the organization and Victor Brattstrom returns to Europe, Alex Nedeljkovic would be the only returning goalie from Detroit or Grand Rapids, so upheaval is coming there.

On defense, it’s hard to see Danny DeKeyser – waived and unclaimed during the season – returning next year.  Mid-season waiver claim Olli Juolevi was largely ineffective in his time in Detroit and – as a pending restricted free agent – may not be given a qualifying offer, becoming unrestricted.  Jake Walman was good for the Wings after being acquired in the Nick Leddy deadline day trade and can reasonably be expected to return as a restricted free agent.

The biggest question mark of the current blueliners is Marc Staal.  Along with DeKeyser, he was named an alternate captain to start the season and the team appreciates his veteran leadership.  Though he’s not the player he once was, his performance didn’t drop as much as DeKeyser’s did, so there may be interest in bringing him back.

If Staal and Walman return, the Detroit blueline would be made up of Moritz Seider, Filip Hronek, Jordan Oesterle, Gustav Lindstrom, Staal, and Walman.  Simon Edvinsson, the sixth overall pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, could claim a spot out of training camp.

Even with the addition of Edvinsson, it’s hard to see that defense corps being much of an improvement over what the Red Wings had this year, so there may be appetite to let Staal (and/or Walman) walk to clear roster spots for upgrades brought in via free agency.

Up front there’s a similar situation.  Ten of the 12 forward spots are accounted for by returning players.  One of those is restricted free agent Filip ZadinaJonatan Berggren, who set a new Grand Rapids Griffins rookie scoring record this season, can also be expected to take up a spot.  That’s 12 just by letting pending restricted free agent Mitchell Stephens and unrestricted free agents Sam Gagner, Turner Elson, and Carter Rowney walk.

Like Staal, the team has appreciated Gagner’s veteran hand and may want him back next year.  Pushing Givani Smith into the 13th forward slot wouldn’t be the end of the world but it again means that there’s little room to add upgrades via free agency.

The Red Wings are getting into a dangerous spot in their rebuild.  To take advantage of the prime of Dylan Larkin‘s career, they will need to add pieces now.  Trotting out the same basic lineup behind a new head coach won’t do it (though having both Robby Fabbri and Jakub Vrana healthy at the same time would be a benefit).

If they can’t do that, realistically, this rebuild is going to take at least another three or four years and they should be looking at selling Larkin or Tyler Bertuzzi or Vrana for assets that will make them competitive when Seider and Lucas Raymond are in their primes.  It might be a hard pill for Wings fans to swallow but it makes sense.

Wings Announce Initial 2021-22 Roster

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 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.

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:


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


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


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

Petrella’s 2015 NHL Entry Draft Top 121

Formerly of The Production Line, Michael Petrella is known for his NHL Entry Draft previews, having provided his thoughts on the 2014 draft via DH.N last year.

This year he presents his top 121 players (four rounds, including a compensation pick for the Chicago Blackhawks) without comment.

Rank Name Pos. Team League Height Weight Birthdate
1 Connor McDavid C Erie Otters OHL 5’11 170 1/13/1997
2 Jack Eichel C Boston College NCAA 6’1 185 10/28/1996
3 Mitch Marner C London Knights OHL 5’10 164 5/5/1997
4 Dylan Strome C Erie Otters OHL 6’2 170 3/7/1997
5 Noah Hanifin D USNTDP / Boston College NCAA 6’3 201 1/25/1997
6 Lawson Crouse W Kingston Frontenacs OHL 6’3 200 6/23/1997
7 Matt Barzal C Seattle Thunderbirds WHL 5’11 165 5/26/1997
8 Travis Konecny C Ottawa 67’s OHL 5’9 165 3/11/1997
9 Zach Werenski D USNTDP / University of Michigan NCAA 6’1 215 7/19/1997
10 Ivan Provorov D Brandon Wheat Kings WHL 6′ 201 1/13/1997
11 Yevgeni Svechnikov W Cape Breton Screaming Eagles QMJHL 6’3 205 10/31/1996
12 Pavel Zacha W Liberec CZECH 6’2 196 4/6/1997
13 Mikko Rantanen C TPS FIN 6’3 194 10/29/1996
14 Kyle Connor C Youngstown / University of Michigan NCAA 6’1 170 12/9/1996
15 Oliver Kylington D Farjestads SWE 6’1 178 5/19/1997
16 Jeremy Bracco C USNTDP / Boston College NCAA 5’9 172 3/17/1997
17 Daniel Sprong W Charlottetown Islanders QMJHL 5’11 175 3/17/1997
18 Nick Merkley C Kelowna Rockets WHL 5’10 187 5/23/1997
19 Jeremy Roy D Sherbrooke Phoenix QMJHL 6′ 182 5/14/1997
20 Erik Cernak D Kosice SVK 6’3 192 5/28/1997
21 Colin White C USNTDP / Boston College NCAA 6′ 179 1/30/1997
22 Mitchell Stephens C Saginaw Spirit OHL 6′ 183 2/5/1997
23 Jansen Harkins C Prince George Cougars WHL 6’1 181 5/23/1997
24 Mitchell VandeSompel D Oshawa Generals OHL 5’10 182 2/11/1997
25 Timo Meier W Halifax Moosehead QMJHL 6′ 209 10/8/1996
26 Brandon Carlo D TriCity Americans WHL 6’5 185 11/26/1996
27 Anthony Beauvillier W Shawinigan Cataractes QMJHL 5’10 171 6/8/1997
28 Rasmus Andersson D Malmo SWE 6′ 214 10/27/1996
29 Sebastian Aho W Karpat SML 5’11 172 7/26/97
30 Brock Boeser W Waterloo / University of North Dakota NCAA 6’1 192 2/25/1997
31 Roope Hintz W Ilves FIN 6’2 183 11/17/1996
32 Paul Bittner W Portland Winterhawks WHL 6’4 195 11/4/1996
33 Jake DeBrusk W Swift Current Broncos WHL 5’11 168 10/17/1996
34 Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson C Omaha / Boston University NCAA 6′ 192 10/31/1996
35 Joel Eriksson-Ek C Farjestad SWE 6’2 183 1/29/1997
36 David Kase C Chomutov CZE 5’11 169 1/28/1997
37 Filip Chlapik C Charlottetown QMJHL 6’1 190 6/3/1997
38 Thomas Chabot D Saint John Sea Dogs QMJHL 6’2 179 1/30/1997
39 Jakub Zboril D Saint John SeaDogs QMJHL 6’1 187 2/21/1997
40 Tommy Novak C Waterloo / University of Minnesota NCAA 5’11 172 4/28/1997
41 Jonas Siegenthaler D ZSC SUI 6’2 214 5/6/1997
42 Nicolas Roy W Chicoutimi Sagueneens QMJHL 6’4 190 2/5/1997
43 Nicolas Meloche D Baie-Comeau Drakkar QMJHL 6’2 198 7/18/1997
44 Jake Roslovic C USNTDP / Miami Ohio NCAA 6′ 182 1/29/1997
45 Ryan Gropp W Seattle Thunderbirds WHL 6’2 184 9/16/1996
46 Christian Fischer C USNTDP / Notre Dame NCAA 6’1 212 4/15/1997
47 Jacob Larsson D Frolunda SWE 6’2 181 4/29/1997
48 Jens Looke W Brynas Jr SWE 6′ 180 4/11/1997
49 Aleksi Saarela C Assat Pori FIN 5’10 198 1/7/1997
50 Jordan Greenway W USNTDP / Boston University NCAA 6’4 223 2/16/1997
51 Ryan Pilon D Brandon Wheat Kings WHL 6’2 212 10/10/1996
52 Adam Musil C Red Deer Rebels WHL 6’3 207 3/26/1997
53 Parker Wotherspoon D TriCity Americans WHL 6′ 171 8/24/1997
54 Sebastian Aho D Skelleftea SWE 5’10 174 2/17/1996
55 Denis Malgin C Kusnacht Lions SUI 5’9 176 1/18/1997
56 Alexandre Carrier D Gatineau Olympiques QMJHL 5’11 174 10/8/1996
57 Denis Guryanov W Togliatti KHL 6’2 183 6/7/1997
58 Robin Kovacs W AIK SWE 6′ 168 11/16/1996
59 Michael Spacek W Pardubice CZE 5’11 187 4/9/1997
60 Alexander Dergachyov W St. Petersburgh KHL 6’4 200 9/27/1996
61 Matthew Spencer D Peterborough Petes OHL 6’1 201 3/24/1997
62 Dennis Yan W Shawinigan Cataractes QMJHL 6’1 187 4/14/1997
63 Filip Ahl W HV71 SWE 6’4 214 6/12/1997
64 Mackenzie Blackwood G Barrie Colts OHL 6’4 215 12/9/1996
65 Nikita Korostelev W Sarnia Sting OHL 6’1 196 2/8/1997
66 Blake Speers F Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds OHL 5’11 185 1/2/1997
67 Conor Garland W Moncton Wildcats QMJHL 5’8 163 3/11/1996
68 Graham Knott W Niagara Ice Dogs OHL 6’3 192 1/13/1997
69 Guillaume Brisebois D Acadie-Bathurst Titan QMJHL 6’1 170 7/21/1997
70 Vlad Tkachev W Quebec Remparts QMJHL 5’10 154 10/5/1995
71 Vladislav Gavrikov D Lokomotiv KHL 6’2′ 205 11/21/1995
72 Nathan Noel C Saint John SeaDogs QMJHL 5’10 170 6/21/1997
73 Daniel Vladar G HC Kladno CZE 6’5 185 8/20/1997
74 Noah Juulsen D Everett Silvertips WHL 6’1 175 4/2/1997
75 Felix Sandstrom G Brynas Jr SWE 6’2 191 1/12/1997
76 Erik Foley W Cedar Rapids / Providence College NCAA 5’11 185 6/30/1997
77 Vince Dunn D Niagara Ice Dogs OHL 5’11 182 10/29/1996
78 Julius Nattinen C JYP FIN 6’1 191 1/14/1997
79 Lukas Jasek W HC Trinec CZE 6’1 172 8/28/1997
80 Ethan Bear D Seattle Thunderbirds WHL 5’11 202 6/26/1997
81 Lucas Carlsson D Brynas Jr SWE 6′ 183 7/5/1997
82 Zachary Senyshyn W Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds OHL 6’1 192 3/30/1997
83 Yakov Trenin W Gatineau Olympiques QMJHL 6’1 192 1/13/1997
84 Glenn Gawdin C Swift Current Broncos WHL 5’11 179 3/25/1997
85 Gabriel Carlsson D Linkoping SWE 6’4 183 1/2/1997
86 Tyler Soy W Victoria Royals WHL 5’11 172 2/10/1997
87 Kyle Capobianco D Sudbury Wolves OHL 6’1 178 8/13/1997
88 Brendan Guhle D Prince Albert Raiders WHL 6’1 184 7/29/1997
89 Travis Dermott D Erie Otters OHL 5’11 197 12/22/1996
90 Andrew Mangiapane W Barrie Colts OHL 5’10 170 4/4/1996
91 Callum Booth G Quebec Remparts QMJHL 6’2 199 5/21/1997
92 Jeremy Lauzon D Rouyn-Norada Huskies QMJHL 6’2 194 4/28/1997
93 Samuel Montembeault G Blainville-Broisband Armada QMJHL 6’2 164 10/30/1996
94 Austin Wagner W Regina Pats WHL 6’2 181 6/23/1997
95 Giorgio Estephan C Lethbridge Hurricanes WHL 6′ 188 2/3/1997
96 Gustav Bouramman D Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds OHL 5’11 184 1/24/1997
97 Jesse Gabrielle W Regina Pats WHL 6′ 214 6/17/1997
98 Jesper Lindgren D MODO SWE 6′ 161 5/19/1997
99 Loik Leveille D Cape Breton Screaming Eagles QMJHL 6′ 220 9/25/1996
100 Gabriel Gagne C Victoriaville Tigres QMJHL 6’5 183 11/11/1996
101 Dryden Hunt C Medicine Hat Tiger WHL 6′ 199 11/24/1995
102 Spencer Smallman W Saint John SeaDogs QMJHL 6′ 184 9/9/1996
103 Brent Gates C Green Bay / University of Minnesota NCAA 6’1 196 8/12/1997
104 Samuel Dove-McFalls C Saint John SeaDogs QMJHL 6’2 207 4/10/1997
105 Adam Marsh W Saint John SeaDogs QMJHL 6′ 160 8/22/1997
106 Gustav Franzen C Kitchener Ranger OHL 5’11 174 9/22/1996
107 Brendan Warren W USNTDP / University of Michigan NCAA 6′ 191 5/7/1997
108 Ziyat Paygin D Ak Bars Kazan KHL 6’5 209 2/8/1995
109 Adam Gaudette C Cedar Rapids / Northeastern Univ. NCAA 6′ 170 10/3/1996
110 Christian Jaros D Lulea SWE 6’3 201 4/2/1996
111 Alexandre Goulet C Charlottetown QMJHL 5’11 195 4/5/1996
112 Roman Dymacek W HC Kometa Brno CZE 6′ 174 1/6/1997
113 Tate Olson D Prince George Cougars WHL 6’2 174 3/21/1997
114 Pavel Karnaukhov C Calgary Hitmen WHL 6’2 194 3/15/1997
115 Brad Morrison W Prince George Cougars WHL 5’11 154 1/4/1997
116 Jan Ordos W Bili Tygri Liberec CZE 5’11 176 9/18/1996
117 Mathieu Joseph W Saint John SeaDogs QMJHL 6′ 166 2/9/1997
118 Jan Dufek W HC Kometa Brno CZE 5’11 172 2/20/1997
119 Karch Bachman C USNTDP / Miami Ohio NCAA 5’11 179 3/10/1997
120 Joseph Cecconi D Muskegon / University of Michigan NCAA 6’2 205 5/23/1997
121 Kameron Kielly C Charlottetown Islanders QMJHL 6’1 183 12/13/1996

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