Red Wings Logjam Won’t Get Better On Its Own

Xavier Ouellet is back in Grand Rapids and Mattias Backman has returned to Sweden. For the time being, the Red Wings’ logjam on the blue line is resolved. Seven defensemen in Detroit, seven with the Griffins (Scott Czarnowscan was called up from Toledo when Ouellet was brought to Detroit).

That the Red Wings aren’t icing the best lineup they can right now is irrelevant. That one of their prospects is now disgruntled is as well. There is now a spot for everyone, that’s all that matters, fixing it is a problem for the future.

So let’s look at that future.

We’ll assume that the Red Wings don’t trade anyone (because they haven’t yet) and sign all of their restricted free agents. We’ll also assume that the Griffins bring back Nathan Paetsch and Brennan Evans because they’re a couple of blue line leaders in GR. None of the unrestricted free agents return.

That means that Niklas Kronwall is back. And Jonathan Ericsson. And Kyle Quincey. And Danny DeKeyser, and Brendan Smith, and Jakub Kindl, and Brian Lashoff. Ouellet and Ryan Sproul and Alexey Marchenko and Nick Jensen. Evans and Paetsch and Backman. Richard Nedomlel, currently in Toledo.

Joe Hicketts, who just made the Canadian World Junior team? He’s probably turning pro. Marc McNulty? Mitch Wheaton? Ben Marshall? James DeHaas? Not under contract yet but very well could be by next year.

The Red Wings have zero unrestricted free agents on defense next summer. Their two RFAs are Smith and Jensen, both of whom will return. In short, there are exactly as many roster spots available throughout the organization next year as there are right now. And in all likelihood there will be even more players fighting for them.

Without the Red Wings making a trade – dumping one or more players – their current roster crunch isn’t getting any better until at least the summer of 2016. That’s one more full season before there’s even a roster spot in Detroit available, which means another full season before there’s even a spot in Grand Rapids available, which means the Wings are dumping their prospects straight to the Walleye.

Or back to Sweden, in the case of Backman, ’cause why should he stick around for that?


I’ve been among the crowd clamoring for the exit of Jakub Kindl (and, to a lesser extent, Brian Lashoff) as a means to clear up the logjam. At varying points the Red Wings have said they’re trying to move Kindl but just how hard they’re trying is up for debate, as the Carolina Hurricanes just managed to get a sixth round pick back for Jay Harrison while Kindl remains in Detroit.

I see three possibilities: The Red Wings see value in Kindl and want a return that reflects that. Teams are interested in Kindl but not given his current contract. No one is interested in Kindl.

All three of these reflect poorly on Detroit.

If the Wings want more for Kindl than anyone is willing to give, then they’re overvaluing him and are no better than the Buffalo Sabres asking for Anthony Mantha for Tyler Myers. This is an addition by subtraction move, stop worrying about the return.

If the contract is the issue, it means the Red Wings gave him a contract that no one else would have.

If no one is interested, then Detroit continues to employ a player that no other team wants.

Griffins Jersey Number Updates

I’ve already looked at the Red Wings’ jersey number changes this season but now that the Griffins have released their camp roster, I can do the same for them.

None of last-season’s full-time Griffins are changing their numbers for the coming year but all of the players who joined the team late in the season have been assigned different numbers than those they wore during Grand Rapids’ Calder Cup run.

Defenseman Ryan Sproul gives up the #2 he had been wearing (having inherited it from Cody Lampl and Carlo Colaiacovo) to Joe Hartman, switching to the #7 vacated by Brendan Smith‘s ascension to the Detroit roster full-time. Fellow blueliner Xavier Ouellet switches from #37 to #16 while Richard Nedomlel goes from #41 to #45, a rare case of a Griffin wearing a high number.

With Ouellet taking #16, Marek Tvrdon drops to the #13 previously assigned to Gustav Nyquist, who seems poised to make the jump to the Red Wings.

Teemu Pulkkinen switches from #26 to the #6 that was briefly assigned to Andreas Athanasiou, with #26 going to free-agent signing David McIntyre. Calle Jarnkrok drops from the #25 he shared with Mike Knuble last year (and was originally assigned to Damien Brunner) to the #12 vacated by Brent Raedeke‘s departure. Kevin Lynch picks up the #25 from Jarnkrok.

Newcomer Alden Hirschfeld takes Francis Pare‘s old #9. Similarly, Martin Frk picks up Tomas Tatar‘s #27, Dane Walters gets Brian Lashoff‘s #32, Travis Novak will wear Jan Mursak‘s #39 and Alexey Marchenko gets the #3 that was shared by Erik Spady, Mark Mitera and Brett Skinner.

Goalie Jared Coreau gets his usual #31, meaning that he joins Landon Ferraro (#29) and Petr Mrazek (#34) as the only Griffins assigned the same number in Grand Rapids as they are in Detroit.

Joakim Andersson‘s old #18, Chad Billins‘ #14 and Danny DeKeyser‘s #55 were not assigned for camp.

Red Wings Send 17 to Grand Rapids

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Sunday the assignment of 17 players to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Forwards Tomas Jurco, Martin Frk, Andrej Nestrasil, Trevor Parkes, Mitch Callahan, Marek Tvrdon, Calle Jarnkrok, David McIntyre and Jeff Hoggan were sent down in preparation for the Griffins’ training camp this week in Grand Rapids. They are joined by defensemen Gleason Fournier, Ryan Sproul, Brennan Evans, Max Nicastro, Xavier Ouellet and Richard Nedomlel. Goalies Tom McCollum and Cam Lanigan will also join the Griffins at camp.

Of the 17, McIntyre, Hoggan, Evans, McCollum and Lanigan were not under contract with Detroit and were in the Red Wings’ camp as invitees. None of the others were expected to compete for a spot with the Red Wings, though Jurco could see time as a call-up in case of injury.

The moves leave Detroit with 38 players remaining on the roster.

2012 Red Wings Number Changes

It’s looking like some of the jersey numbers we saw at the Red Wings’ summer development camp weren’t as meaningless as was originally suggested.

Rather than wearing the #25 assigned to him last season, Brian Lashoff wore the #23 vacated by Brad Stuart.  Additionally, Martin Frk wore the #48 that Cory Emmerton wore last campaign.

Today, Bill Roose Tweeted that Emmerton would be switching to #25. ¬†This means, of course, that #48 is available for Frk to keep and that Lashoff’s switch would be required.

Assuming the development camp numbers are all accurate, the following changes have taken place:

Louis-Marc Aubry – from #53 to #32
Mitch Callahan – from #65 to #42
Willie Coetzee – from #70 to #45
Landon Ferraro – from #57 to #41
Gleason Fournier – from #67 to #46
Richard Nedomlel – from #73 to #3
Xavier Ouellet – from #61 to #54
Alan Quine – from #74 to #59
Marek Tvrdon – from #71 to #60

Additionally, Trevor Parkes switched from #60 to #37, which is now taken by Mikael Samuelsson.  Ryan Sproul went from #62 to #22, which now belongs to Jordin Tootoo.

If the Red Wings have a training camp this season, we’ll see if any of the development camp numbers stick around.