Wings Prep for Regular Season Continues

Following a 4-2 exhibition loss to the Tampa Bay Lighting that saw the Red Wings ice a roster made up mostly of try-outs and youngsters, Detroit is gearing up for the regular season by bringing out more of their regulars and making another round of cuts.

Ansar Khan blogs that the Wings dropped 17 players from their roster on Tuesday. Defensemen Jassen Cullimore, Jon Insana, Clive Kinley, Jamie Tardif and Scott Jackson, forwards Neil Clark and Adam Keefe and goaltender Dominic Vicari were released outright. Defensemen Jakub Kindl, Brad Ference and Garrett Stafford, forwards Mark Cullen, Carl Corazzini, Brett Engelhardt, Randall Gelech and Ryan Oulahen, and goalie Adam Berkhoel were sent down to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Clark was fresh off a fight in the loss to the Lighting while Vicari was cut for the second time this season, having been brought back only hours after being released last week when Logan Koopmans was injured.

Tonight’s lineup against the Rangers will see more NHLers, with the return of defenseman Brian Rafalski and forward Tomas Kopecky. Neither has played in a preseason game this year, meaning that tonight will be Rafalski’s Red Wings debut.

Rafalski will be making his first appearance at the Joe with Detroit but Rangers forward Brendan Shanahan will not be on the ice for New York, meaning that his return to Hockeytown as an opponent will be delayed for another season. Shanahan went to the Rangers as a free agent last year but the two teams did not meet in Detroit. This season they won’t play each other at all.

Wings Pick Seven on Second Day of Draft

With only one draft pick on the first day of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, the Detroit Red Wings had to hope they could find a diamond in the rough to use their later picks on in the fourth through ninth rounds Sunday.

The Wings have had success with this strategy before, selecting Pavel Datsyuk in the sixth round of the 1998 Draft and Henrik Zetterberg in the seventh round in 1999.

After choosing Maine goaltender Jimmy Howard in the second round on Saturday, the Red Wings stuck with forwards and defensemen on Sunday.

In the fourth round they picked defenseman Kyle Quincey of the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights. The 6’1″, 194-pound seventeen-year-old was described by Detroit assistant general manager Jim Nill as “a solid all-around defenseman.”

Detroit’s fifth-round pick was used on center Ryan Oulahen from Brampton of the OHL. Oulahen could have been drafted earlier had he not suffered a knee injury during the season. “Very tenacious, hard-working kid. We really like his drive, and he’s got good size. Just a real competitive kid.” Nill said of him. The eighteen-year-old stands at 6’0″ and weighs in at 180 pounds.

The Red Wings took Swedish winger Andreas Sundin with their first pick in the sixth round, acquired from Columbus. The 6’0″, 185-pound nineteen-year-old “has a scoring touch” according to Wings director of European scouting Hakan Andersson. “One of his first games in the Elite League, he got a penalty shot and scored a highlight goal. The coach said everybody on the bench was like, ‘Wow. How did he do that?'”

With their second sixth-round pick, Detroit selected underscouted Swedish defenseman Stefan Blom. The seventeen-year-old is 6’2″ tall and weighs 189 pounds. Nill says of him, “He’s getting better and better. He has good skills. You’re hoping he develops and in three or four years is on the national team.”

Tomas Kollar, a 21-year-old Swedish winger, was taken with the Red Wings’ seventh-round pick. He’s big at 6’2″ and 211 pounds and the Wings hope he will make the Swedish national team next year or the following year.

Detroit rolled the dice on their eighth-round pick, Vladimir Kutny. Scouts expected him to be a first round pick after seeing him an a tournament last August, but he joined Quebec of the QMJHL and hardly played during the season. Nill said the Wings “don’t know why” 6’4″, 195-pound eighteen-year-old winger didn’t get much ice time.

The Red Wings final selection of the draft was virtual unknown Mikael Johansson. The small (5’10”, 176 pounds) seventeen-year-old Swedish forward was another gamble for Detroit. “He’s one of those smaller, weaker guys that you hope will grow up one day and be 6-feet, 190 pounds,” Nill said.

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