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.

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.

Red Wings’ 2021-22 Schedule Released

The National Hockey League released its schedule for the 2021-22 season on Thursday, including that of the Detroit Red Wings.

The Red Wings will open their campaign hosting the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning on October 14, 2021, and will close it out with a visit to the New Jersey Devils on April 29, 2022.

There will be a handful of firsts for the Wings spread throughout the season.

Their first matchup against the expansion Seattle Kraken will take place at Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena on December 1.  Their first visit to the New York Islanders’ new UBS Arena will be later that month, on December 29.  Their first game at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle will be on March 19.

New Red Wing Nick Leddy will face his former Islander teammates for the first time on December 4 in Detroit.  Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic will oppose his former Carolina Hurricanes teammates on December 16.

Detroit’s annual New Year’s Eve game returns to the schedule as the Red Wings host the Washington Capitals and Anthony Mantha.

There will be only two home-and-home series on the schedule, with the Red Wings facing the Buffalo Sabres on January 15 and January 17 and the Ottawa Senators on April 1 and April 3.

Detroit plays on back-to-back days 14 times throughout the season, with each one of them involving travel between the games.

Red Wings Expose Stetcher, Cholowski for Expansion Draft

Protection lists for each of the National Hockey League’s teams in the upcoming Seattle Kraken expansion draft were distributed at 10 AM on Sunday and, unsurprisingly, began to leak out almost immediately.

In order to protect defenseman Nick Leddy – acquired from the New York Islanders on Friday – Detroit chose to expose Troy Stetcher, coming off a fantastic turn at the World Championships that included an assist on the tournament-winning goal.

There had been much discussion about whether or not Stetcher would be exposed in order to protect young defensemen Dennis Cholowski – a former first-round pick – and Gustav Lindstrom.  Instead, Stetcher’s presumed spot went to Leddy.  Filip Hronek and Lindstrom were the other two defensemen protected, leaving Cholowski exposed.

At forward, Vladislav Namestnikov was exposed in order to meet eligibility requirements.  Richard Panik had been the only other Red Wings forward who had played enough games, was under contract for the coming season, and who wasn’t a lock to be protected, but Panik was sent to the Islanders in the Leddy deal, forcing Namestnikov to be left off the list.

Namestnikov’s exclusion left room for Detroit to protect Givani Smith, with another former first-rounder, Evgeni Svechnikov, as the odd man out up front.

As expected, Thomas Greiss was the goalie Detroit protected, as Jonathan Bernier is a pending unrestricted free agent.

Other notable – but not necessarily surprising – names left exposed by Detroit include Danny DeKeyser and Frans Nielsen.

Red Wings Acquire Defenseman Leddy from Islanders

The Detroit Red Wings acquired defenseman Nick Leddy from the New York Islanders on Friday, in exchange for forward Richard Panik and a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.

Detroit also retains 50% of Panik’s salary, $1.375 million for the next two seasons.

This deal doesn’t make sense to me.

Leddy is probably an upgrade over some of Detroit’s defensemen from last season, sure.  But to take on his salary, retain half of Panik’s salary, and throw in a second-round draft pick to make that upgrade seems like a steep price to pay.

Additionally, by completing the trade now, the Red Wings pretty much have to protect Leddy over Troy Stetcher for the Seattle Kraken expansion draft.  Stetcher was not one of the defensemen Leddy would be an upgrade over, so add the risk of losing Stetcher to the cost paid for Leddy and I really don’t get it.

Sure, there’s the “They’ll get a first-rounder for Leddy at the next trade deadline” argument but, as I’ve written before, we go into every season with some player who for sure will be flipped for a high pick at the deadline and it never happens, so we should probably stop being so sure about that.  Additionally, if the Wings do lose Stetcher to Seattle, the cost includes a guy they probably could have flipped for a second-rounder.

One thing I haven’t touched on is giving up Richard Panik.  I said when he was acquired that I don’t like him, he did nothing to endear himself to me in his short tenure with Detroit, and I don’t see a negative to his departure.

I don’t get the timing on this move and I don’t get the cost.  Maybe there’s something else coming but as it is right now, this looks like a really bad deal to me.

Red Wings Routed by Blackhawks in Easter Matchup

Cory Emmerton scored the only goal for the Red Wings on Sunday as Detroit dropped a 7-1 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks in an Easter matinee matchup.

Emmerton ended Chicago netminder Corey Crawford‘s shutout with 33 seconds remaining in regulation, gathering in the rebound of a Brian Lashoff shot and snapping a shot from the right faceoff circle past Crawford.

While the game ended on a positive note, it started poorly for Detroit and continued that way for the first 57 minutes of play.

Jeremy Morin opened the game’s scoring just 2:33 into the first. A Chicago shot wide of the net came off the back boards and off a skate, deflecting in front of Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard. Howard attempted to freeze the puck but couldn’t hold it, with Morin collecting it and throwing a shot past him.

Brandon Saad made it 2-0 at 3:21 of the period, faking out Howard after having been left all alone in the right circle to take a pass from Michael Frolik.

At 4:12, Jakub Kindl mishandled the puck at the side of the net and backhanded it in behind Howard for a goal credited to Dave Bolland.

The start of the second period wasn’t much better than the start of the first for Detroit, with Chicago scoring a pair of goals eight seconds apart in the first four minutes.

Off a giveaway by Jordin Tootoo at the Chicago blueline, Saad carried the puck down the left wing and into the corner before feeding Jonathan Toews in the slot for a snap past Howard, making it 4-0 and chasing the Detroit netminder in favor of Jonas Gustavsson.

Gustavsson didn’t fare any better, as Saad collected a deflected feed from Niklas Hjalmarsson in the right circle and beat him five hole to make it 5-0.

Bolland added a second goal at 7:55 of the third period, snapping a shot from the right circle past Gustavsson. Nick Leddy did nearly the same thing to make it 7-0 with 3:39 remaining.

Howard ended up with ten saves on 14 shots in 23:52, taking the loss. Gustavsson made nine saves on 12 shots in the remaining 36:08. Crawford stopped 33 of 34 Detroit chances.

Neither team scored a power play goal. The Red Wings had the only two attempts of the game with the extra skater.


The Red Wings lost forward Mikael Samuelsson to an unspecified upper-body injury after the second period. Samuelsson was playing just his third game of the season, having missed all but the first two to various injuries… Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg missed the game with a groin injury. He is expected to also miss Monday’s matchup with the Colorado Avalanche… Gustav Nyquist was the healthy scratch up front for Detroit… Danny DeKeyser was technically not a healthy scratch for the Red Wings, as his contract was not yet official as of game time… After the game the Red Wings sent Lashoff back to the Grand Rapids Griffins to make room on the roster for DeKeyser and Carlo Colaiacovo, who is returning from a conditioning stint with the Griffins. Lashoff is expected back with the Red Wings after the NHL’s trade deadline passes on Wednesday.

Red Wings Fall to Blackhawks in Overtime

The Detroit Red Wings rallied to force overtime in Chicago on Sunday night but fell to the Blackhawks, 2-1, on defenseman Nick Leddy‘s tally in the extra period.

Leddy was left alone on the left side of the ice as the Blackhawks gained the Detroit zone and took a pass from Viktor Stalberg. Damien Brunner got back to cover Leddy just as he let a shot go, which deflected off Brunner’s outstretched stick and past Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard to give the ‘Hawks the win at 2:45 of the overtime period.

The Red Wings reached overtime on a Johan Franzen goal at 4:30 of the third period. Franzen jumped up to knock home the rebound of a Damien Brunner chance to tie the game 1-1.

Chicago had opened the scoring early with a Duncan Keith blast from the left faceoff circle just 2:24 into the game, beating Howard high on the stick side on the first power play of the night.

Howard finished the night with 25 saves on 27 shots. Crawford stopped 29 of Detroit’s 30 chances.

Keith’s goal was the lone power play marker of the night. The Blackhawks had three tries with the extra attacker while the Red Wings had six.

With the win, the Blackhawks moved to 6-0 to start the season for the first time in franchise history.

Detroit is back in action on Tuesday when they host the Dallas Stars for the second time in a week.


The Red Wings got defenseman Jonathan Ericsson back from injury, forcing Jakub Kindl out of the lineup as a healthy scratch… Patrick Eaves was back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch on Friday against Minnesota, replacing Darren Helm, whose back injury flared up again and was unable to go. Helm will have an MRI on Monday… Remaining out of the lineup were the injured Jan Mursak, Mikael Samuelsson, Carlo Colaiacovo, Ian White and Jonas Gustavsson… With Gustavsson out, Howard was backed up again by Tom McCollum.

Datsyuk Scores in OT to Lift Red Wings Over Blackhawks

Pavel Datsyuk scored with 1:52 left in overtime on Sunday night, capping a three-goal rally that lifted the Detroit Red Wings past the Chicago Blackhawks, 3-2.

Datsyuk whiffed on his first chance from the side of the net with Chicago netminder Corey Crawford sprawled out, then took his time on the second shot and lifted a shot from the acute angle into the net, deflecting off of defenseman Nick Leddy on the way in.

The Blackhawks had scored twice in the first 4:19 of the game to take the early lead but the Red Wings scored three consecutive goals to pull out the win.

Dave Bolland opened the game’s scoring at 3:35 of the first period. With the Blackhawks on a power play, former Red Wing Marian Hossa‘s shot was blocked in the right faceoff circle and Bolland picked up the puck in the slot, flinging it towards Detroit goalie Ty Conklin. Conklin got a piece of it but it slid under his pad and barely crossed the goal line.

Patrick Sharp made it 2-0 just 44 seconds later when he picked up the puck at the top of the left circle, skated all alone into the top of the slot, and blew a shot past Conklin.

Valtteri Filppula got the Red Wings on the board with a power play goal with 6:31 remaining in the opening period, just after the expiration of a five-on-three. Henrik Zetterberg sent a pass from the right faceoff dot through the legs of defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to Filppula on the far side of the crease for a quick wrister into the open side of the net.

At 7:53 of the third, the Blackhawks had a chance to go back up by two goals but Conklin stopped Jimmy Hayes on a penalty shot after Tomas Holmstrom covered the puck with his hand in the crease.

The Red Wings made that count with 4:45 left in regulation. On a flurry in front of the Chicago crease, Danny Cleary knocked home the rebound of a Zetterberg shot as Crawford was unable to cover the puck.

Crawford finished the night with 24 saves on 27 shots. Conklin stopped 29 of the 31 chances he faced.

Chicago scored on one of their five power play chances and missed on their penalty shot while Detroit scored on one of their two chances with the extra attacker.

The Red Wings will wrap up their four-game road trip on Tuesday when they visit the New York Islanders.


Detroit forwards Tomas Holmstrom and Darren Helm returned from groin injuries. Gustav Nyquist was sent back to the Grand Rapids Griffins and Chris Conner was a healthy scratch to make room for them in the lineup… Jakub Kindl was the healthy scratch on defense for the Wings.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Blackhawks – 1/8

I’ve got to say, I was surprised by a lot of things in the Red Wings’ win over the Blackhawks tonight.

Ty Conklin‘s performance was the biggest surprise for me. He’s had a relatively awful season and after giving up two goals in the first 4:19, it looked like more of the same was coming. He really pulled it together, though, finishing the night with 29 saves on 31 shots and stopping Jimmy Hayes on a penalty shot. His second-best start of the season, he earned his second win.

That penalty shot stop was just solid goaltending. Hayes didn’t make a good move but Conklin kept his head in it and stayed where he needed to be. Would have been easy for Conklin to be jumpy there and he wasn’t.

I said at the time that I can’t believe the Wings’ second goal wasn’t called back for intent to blow. Not because I think the puck was actually frozen (replay showed it trickle through Corey Crawford‘s pads, and we saw the same thing happen to Jimmy Howard recently), just because of how often that goes against Detroit.

I do think the Wings got away with too many men on the ice in overtime, not going to lie about that one. I would have complained about it had it been Chicago getting away with it. They had already done it once in the game and it was lazy the second time. The cop-out is to say that the refs had pretty much put the whistles away by that point but I don’t like relying on it. Just a lucky break.

The game winning goal was a hell of a shot at a non-existent angle by Pavel Datsyuk, helped by a deflection off of Nick Leddy. Chicago wasn’t happy with the scramble in front of the net but I didn’t see contact with Crawford.

That’s two games in a row the Wings had to rally, which isn’t good. That they did rally both times is nice but it only worked once. They can’t keep digging themselves holes like that.