Numbers Game 2009: Camp Roster Set

Red Wings Central has published Detroit’s training camp roster and this year there aren’t a lot of surprises with the sweater numbers players will be wearing.

Todd Bertuzzi will keep the #44 he has worn for most of his career, including during his first stint in Detroit. Newcomer Patrick Eaves, who also typically wears that number, has taken #17.

Jason Williams, also in his second run with Detroit, returns to his familiar #29.

Depth defenseman Andy Delmore did not take the #15 he wore last time he was in camp with the Wings, instead going with #4 as his usual #5 is taken by Nicklas Lidstrom.

Doug Janik has inherited Mikael Samuelsson‘s #37, while other newcomers Kris Newbury and Jeremy Williams will wear #32 and #15, respectively.

No returning Red Wings regulars have switched numbers.

Numbers Game 2009: Bertuzzi and the Prospects

Two things have come up since my look at possible Red Wing sweater numbers for the 2009-10 season on Sunday, the Wings signed Todd Bertuzzi and the team’s prospect tournamant roster was announced on Red Wings Central.

If the roster on the Red Wings’ newly-redesigned web site is to be believed, Bertuzzi will be wearing #44 for Detroit this season. He’s also listed as wearing #7 on his player profile page (which he wore last season in Calgary and is retired in Detroit) so that might not be a trustworthy source.

Should Bertuzzi indeed be wearing #44, Patrick Eaves will be searching for a new number and the #9 and #7 he’s previously worn are unavailable. Should Bertuzzi leave the #44 to Eaves, the #4 he wore in Anaheim is an option (though I personally think #4 is not a forward’s number, no matter what Jean Beliveau and Vincent Lecavalier say) as is the #27 he wore with the Vancouver Canucks while Dave Babych had #44.

At the prospect tournament three players will be wearing new numbers for the Red Wings.

Francis Pare will be switching from the #57 he wore when he was invited as a Grand Rapids Griffin last season to #59. Travis Erhardt moves from the #63 he wore as a free-agent try out last fall to #45. Brian Lashoff, who was also a free-agent last year, moves from #65 to #49.

Of course the number a player wears as a prospect isn’t always tied to what they’ll wear should they make the big club. Tomas Kopecky wore #27, #44 and #32 before finally breaking into the league wearing #28 (and switching to #82 for his sophomore season).

Numbers Game Preview 2009

As I mentioned last year, I look forward to training camp not because it marks the start of the start of the season but because I’m a sweater numberphile and as camp rosters are released we see what players are switching numbers.

So far no news is out from the Wings camp but there are five regular players I’m keeping an eye on this season and a handful of likely Griffins, as well as one rumor.

I expected Darren Helm to switch from the #43 he’s worn for his entire Detroit career last year and I still think that’s an option this year. The #15 he’s worn in Grand Rapids is currently available and the #14 he wore in Medicine Hat of the WHL could become available if the Red Wings move Derek Meech to clear up their logjam on the blueline.

Assuming Helm doesn’t take #15, it seems a natural fit for depth defenseman Andy Delmore, who wore that number in his 2005 training camp stint with the Wings. His preferred number is #5, which no player other than Nicklas Lidstrom will ever wear again with Detroit. He wore Niklas Kronwall‘s #55 while playing in Germany for the Hamburg Freezers for the last two seasons, #5 having been unavailable.

Now that he’s assured a spot in Detroit, Ville Leino may look to move to a familiar number. He wore #89 with Jokerit and the Wings organization has never had a problem giving out high numbers, so that switch is possible.

Jonathan Ericsson will likely stay with his #52 as he’s had the opportunity to switch in the past without doing so. He reportedly was told by teammates that a big guy like him needed a big number. The #4 he wore last season in Grand Rapids is available, though, so it’s an option for him to switch to.

Jason Williams has returned to Detroit and it’s likely he’ll go back to the #29 he wore during his first stint as well as while he was in Chicago and Columbus. The #14 he wore in Atlanta could be available if Meech is moved but Helm could also be interested in it.

Patrick Eaves seems set to go with the #44 he’s worn in Ottawa and Carolina, now available with the departure of Aaron Downey. He wore the unavailable #9 at Boston College and #7 with the Binghamton Senators so he may have no attachment to #44 and could switch to something else.

That switch might be needed if the rumors of Todd Bertuzzi coming back to the Wings are true. Bertuzzi has worn #44 for most of his career, including his first stint with Detroit, but has worn #4 and #7 since then.

Doug Janik has worn #3 for most of his career but isn’t likely to take it from the injured Andreas Lilja. His fall-back #33 is also taken, as it was when he wore #21 for the Montreal Canadiens. If Leino changes, Janik could go with that number. Similarly, if Helm makes a switch we could see Janik go with the #43 he wore with the Hamilton Bulldogs. The #11 he wore with the Rockford IceHogs is unavailble.

Last on my watch list is Justin Abdelkader, who is unlikely to change from the #8 he inherited from Matt Ellis in 2008. He has previously said that he doesn’t worry about the number he wears but did choose #19 in Grand Rapids in honor of Steve Yzerman. He wore #89 in high school at Mona Shores so he could take that if Leino doesn’t. The #9 he wore in Cedar Rapids and for two years at Michigan State is, of course, unavailable, as is the #18 he wore for his freshman year at MSU.

The Red Wings’ official web site is, as per usual, no help. It has traditionally been late to add updated sweater numbers and currently lists Williams, Eaves, Delmore and Janik without numbers.

Williams Rejoins Red Wings

After watching five players leave their team during the first month of free agency the Detroit Red Wings made their second move in three days on Thursday, signing forward Jason Williams to a one-year deal.

Williams broke into the NHL with the Red Wings in 2000 and was with the team until a 2007 trade that sent him to Chicago for Kyle Calder. Since then he has also spent time with the Atlanta Thrashers and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Williams is the second forward the Wings have signed this week, joining Patrick Eaves, who signed a one-year deal on Tuesday.

In 376 career games, Williams has 85 goals and 120 assists.

Financial terms of the deal were not announced.

Red Wings Sign Forward Patrick Eaves

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Tuesday that they have signed forward Patrick Eaves to a one-year deal. As per club policy, financial terms of the contract were not announced.

Eaves spent the 2008-09 season with the Carolina Hurricanes, scoring six goals and adding eight assists in 74 games. He was traded to the Boston Bruins on July 24th for Aaron Ward before being bought out of a contract that would have paid him $1.1 million this upcoming season.

Eaves broke into the NHL in 2005-06 as a 21-year-old, scoring 20 goals and 9 assists in 58 games for the Ottawa Senators. He tallied 32 points the following season but has not broken 20 points since then.

In an offseason where the Red Wings have lost Marian Hossa, Tomas Kopecky, Mikael Samuelsson and Jiri Hudler, Eaves is the team’s first free agent signing expected to play significant time in the NHL next season.