Looking at the Red Wings’ 2014-15 Roster

We’re all of three days into the offseason but it’s never too early to start looking at next year. I’ve had a lot of side conversations about what I think the Red Wings’ roster will look like next year and what it should look like (which aren’t the same thing) so I figured I’d post my “ideal” opening night roster and go from there.

Henrik ZetterbergPavel DatsyukGustav Nyquist
Tomas TatarRiley SheahanTomas Jurco
Justin AbdelkaderDarren HelmDaniel Alfredsson
Drew MillerDavid LegwandLuke Glendening
Mitch Callahan
Landon Ferraro

Niklas KronwallDanny DeKeyser
Jonathan EricssonBrendan Smith
Ryan SproulXavier Ouellet
Adam Almquist

Jimmy Howard
Petr Mrazek

You’ll notice there are some names missing, and that’s why this may be my “ideal” roster but it’s also pretty much impossible.

The forward lines are build out from the second line. If the Red Wings are really going to embrace the youth movement, even when healthy, I want the Kid Line skating as Detroit’s second line again. It might not be the best possible lineup to start the year but I think it will be by the end of the season and for seasons beyond.

With the Kid Line in place, you can load up on the first line, with both Eurotwins and Gustav Nyquist.

On the third line you’ve got Darren Helm centering Justin Abdelkader and Daniel Alfredsson. I bring back Alfredsson if he wants to come back and put him on the third line to keep his minutes down and add some scoring. It also gives flexibility for the inevitable Line Blender, as you could bump Abdelkader to the top line as Mike Babcock loves to do, drop Nyquist down to the second, and play Tatar on the third.

The fourth line brings back David Legwand simply because I think he has to be re-signed or it makes the deal to trade for him look even more ridiculous. I wouldn’t bring back Glendening but Babcock loves him so he’s going to be in the lineup on opening night.

Callahan and Ferraro are out of waiver options, they stick with the big club out of camp.

Todd Bertuzzi, Daniel Cleary, Mikael Samuelsson? All free agents, all allowed to walk.

Johan Franzen, Stephen Weiss, Joakim Andersson, Jordin Tootoo? That’s where this gets messy, as I don’t have a spot for any of them or any player they might bring back in trade and there’s only one compliance buyout left.

The easy answer is that Alfredsson and Legwand don’t return and Franzen and Weiss take their spots. Tootoo gets bought out and Andersson gets the Cory Emmerton treatment. That makes the Legwand trade look awful but is that better than finding a way to unload Weiss (who’d probably just have to be waived with the hope that someone claims him)?

Franzen… Oh Franzen. There are going to be a lot of words written about him between now and the draft. I’ll try not to write too many of them. I say the draft because I think if he’s going to be traded, it’ll be then. He won’t be bought out. It’s not that Franzen necessarily is bad or overpaid (his cap hit is great for his potential). When he’s good, he’s among the best. When he’s bad, he looks like he doesn’t even want to be out there. Combined with his comments about not being paid to score goals, there’s a perceived attitude problem there. The negatives outweigh the positives to me.

On defense, I don’t think the top four are all that controversial. Kyle Quincey is gone. The UFA defense pool is shallow this year and Quincey is going to get absolutely paid by someone.

The third pair, though, is where the youth movement kicks in. Xavier Ouellet and Ryan Sproul looked ready in their limited opportunity this season. I give them the chance to start next year.

I’d like to have a veteran seventh defenseman to back them up but – like Ferraro and Callahan – Adam Almquist is out of options so he stays up by default.

Brian Lashoff? Jakub Kindl? They’re in Franzen/Weiss/Andersson territory. Under contract but I don’t have a spot for them. Lashoff can be buried in Grand Rapids if necessary, the only “easy” decision available.

In goal we’ve got Howard back (of course) and Petr Mrazek making the jump to be his backup. Some (maybe even within the Wings organization) will argue that Mrazek is better served getting starts in GR than as backup, I disagree. A 50/30 split would get Howard some rest and get Mrazek into games.

This doesn’t answer the team’s reported interest in a top-four, right-handed defenseman (unless you want to count Sproul there). It leaves a bunch of players with contracts off the lineup. It doesn’t get anything in return for those missing players and it doesn’t utilize the cap space freed up by their absence. In short, it’s not going to happen. But it’s the starting point that I’m going to look at things from this summer.

Red Wings Eliminated in 4-2 Loss to Bruins

Much like in the previous week of games, the Detroit Red Wings had no answer to the Boston Bruins on Saturday, leading to a 4-2 loss in Game Five of their Atlantic Division Semifinal matchup.

It was the fourth-straight loss for the Red Wings, who were eliminated from the playoffs after only managing to win Game One in Boston.

Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson, making his second consecutive start in place of the flu-ridden Jimmy Howard, made 29 saves on 32 shots in the losing effort for Detroit.

The Bruins opened the game’s scoring just 3:27. On a power play, Dougie Hamilton carried the puck down the right wing and threw a pass from the corner into the slot. The puck bounced off Darren Helm and right to Loui Eriksson, who cut to the right faceoff circle and backhanded a chance under Gustavsson’s glove.

Pavel Datsyuk tied things up at 5:19 left in the second period. With Detroit on a power play of their own, Henrik Zetterberg fired a long shot that was knocked down by Boston goalie Tuukka Rask. Johan Franzen was on the doorstep to sweep the puck to Datsyuk, who was driving in from the left wing to snap a shot into the back of the net.

Boston captain Zdeno Chara put the Bruins back out in front with just four seconds left in the period, blasting a shot from the top of the right circle past Gustavsson on another power play.

Milan Lucic made it 3-1 at 4:27 of the third. Torey Krug picked off an attempted outlet pass by Franzen at the Detroit blue line and carried it down low on the left wing before sending it to the front of the net where Lucic was wide open to knock a shot past Gustavsson.

Zetterberg would give the Red Wings hope with 3:52 remaining, fighting off Chara and getting to a loose puck at the bottom of the left faceoff circle, then lifting a no-angle shot into the far corner past Rask to make it 3-2.

With 16 seconds left, Jarome Iginla would close things out with an empty net goal.

Rask finished the night with 31 saves on 33 shots.

The Red Wings scored on one of their seven power play tries while Boston scored with the man advantage on two of six attempts.


Defenseman Xavier Ouellet made his NHL playoff debut, replacing Jakub Kindl in the Detroit lineup… Goaltender Jake Paterson was a healthy scratch as Howard was well enough to back up Gustavsson… Daniel Alfredsson returned after missing two games with a back injury, replacing Todd Bertuzzi.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Blues – 4/13

There was something ridiculously frustrating about the Red Wings’ regular season-ending 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues on Sunday: The question of “Where was this team on Friday?”

Two days after dropping a 2-1 decision to the lottery-bound Carolina Hurricanes, the Red Wings – minus the resting Daniel Alfredsson, Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall, and Danny DeKeyser and starting third-string goalie Petr Mrazek – smacked down the Blues in a game in which St. Louis could have claimed the Central Division.

Okay, some of that is the Blues’ complete implosion. They had maybe two good scoring chances all game. Without Ryan Miller, it would have been even worse. In fact, Detroit’s goals required a bit of luck (two deflections by Justin Abdelkader and a snipe by Riley Sheahan that redirected off former Red Wing Carlo Colaiacovo), so it’s not like the Wings’ offense was entirely clicking. Detroit carried the play, though, and did it missing some big names.

And if they’d gotten a single point against Carolina, they’d be playing the Pittsburgh Penguins this week instead of the Boston Bruins.

But speaking of missing big names, defenseman Ryan Sproul did a fantastic job of stepping up in his NHL debut. I feel like I heard his name every minute or so. Aside from a rookie mistake early and maybe committing early on a St. Louis three-on-one, he looked like he belonged. Moved the puck well on the power play, good positionally, even threw a big hit. Based on one game, I’d say put him in instead of Brian Lashoff, but it’s too small of a sample size to actually make that call.

I didn’t hear Xavier Ouellet‘s name as much but in that good way that means he didn’t make any mistakes. Sproul got the flashy power play time, Ouellet got the penalty-kill time.

Of the other fill-ins, we may have seen Todd Bertuzzi and Joakim Andersson as Red Wings for the last time. Bertuzzi is a free agent who probably won’t be brought back this summer and Andersson has been replaced by Luke Glendening, making him a tradeable asset (not that I expect him to actually be dealt).

Mrazek ends up with a strange stat line this season, as both of his wins were by shutout (and were both on the road, against teams wearing blue). He looked confident, coming out to cut down angles. He made a big stop on the three-on-one I mentioned earlier, where Sproul may have gone down early, getting his leg up to knock down a shot after sprawling out to take away the bottom of the net.

Now it’s on to Boston.

Postgame: Maple Leafs @ Red Wings – 3/18

Postgame thoughts are going to be quick ’cause I’m sick…

Jonathan Ericsson lost for “some time” according to Mike Babcock due to a broken finger. That’s the sixth injury in six games. This nonsense just will not end. It looks like that just means Jakub Kindl gets to stay in the lineup but with Alexey Marchenko lost for the season in Grand Rapids, I have no idea who would even be the next call-up for the Wings. Adam Almquist and Xavier Ouellet have seen time with the big club this year and Ryan Sproul got a call-up for practice purposes at the end of the Olympic break.

Jimmy Howard, as they said on the FSD postgame, could have been the first star easily. Very solid game punctuated by some big stops, especially on Phil Kessel in the second period.

The actual first star was Gustav Nyquist, who had one of the better games of his career. His first goal was a bit of a fluke (though still a great play) but that second goal was amazing. Absolutely fantastic shot off the far post and in.

Landon Ferraro… Aside from the early giveaway, pretty invisible, which is good for a player like him. Being out on the PK late was clearly a sign of faith in him.

Red Wings Call Up Defenseman Marchenko

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Friday the recall of defenseman Alexey Marchenko from the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Marchenko joins the team in Dallas, where he will replace Danny DeKeyser in the lineup. DeKeyser is day-to-day with a groin injury.

Detroit’s seventh-round pick from the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Marchenko will be the third defenseman to make his NHL debut with the Red Wings this season, following Xavier Ouellet and Adam Almquist. In 33 games with the Griffins this season, he has two goals and 14 assists for 16 points.

The twenty-two year old came up through the CSKA Moscow system and was a teammate of Pavel Datsyuk during the 2012 NHL lockout.

Franzen Scores Twice but Red Wings Fall to Capitals in Shootout

Johan Franzen scored twice and added an assist on Friday night but it wasn’t enough for the Detroit Red Wings, who dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the Washington Capitals.

It was Detroit’s fifth loss in a row and their seventh consecutive home loss. Their last five home losses have come in overtime or the shootout.

Nicklas Backstrom scored the only goal of the tiebreaker to give the Capitals the victory. Washington goalie Braden Holtby stopped Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen and Todd Bertuzzi while Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard stopped Mikhail Grabovski and Alex Ovechkin before Backstrom won it.

The Red Wings had carried a 3-1 lead into the third period but couldn’t hold on.

Just 3:19 into the period, Ovechkin snapped a shot from low in the right faceoff circle between the legs of defender Niklas Kronwall and past Howard to make it 3-2.

Michael Latta tied things up with 8:06 remaining when Howard got spun around after coming out to stop a John Carlson chance. The puck came to Latta on the far side of the crease and he shoveled a backhander into the vacated net.

Before they closed out the scoring, the Capitals opened it at 5:50 of the first when Brooks Laich swatted his own rebound past Howard on a partial breakaway after a Detroit turnover in the neutral zone.

Franzen would get the Red Wings on the board with 4:08 remaining in the period. On a power play, Franzen carried the puck along the left wing boards and cut into the faceoff circle, snapping a shot off the post and into the top corner through a screen by Tomas Tatar to make it 1-1.

Before the period was out it would be 2-1, as Franzen took a crossing feed from Tatar to put a shot off Holtby’s pad and into the back of the net from the bottom of the right circle with 1:50 remaining.

With 18 seconds remaining in the second period, Danny DeKeyser would give Detroit their 3-1 lead. Franzen fed DeKeyser in the left circle for a shot into the open side of the net on a Red Wings’ power play.

Detroit finished the night with two goals on five power play tries. Washington was scoreless on for attempts with the extra attacker.

Howard made 30 saves on 33 shots while Holtby stopped 34 of 37 chances.

The Red Wings are right back at it on Saturday when they visit the New York Islanders.


The game marked the return from injury of defenseman Jonathan Ericsson… To make room for Ericsson under the salary cap, Patrick Eaves and Luke Glendening were sent to the Grand Rapids Griffins, joining Jordin Tootoo and Xavier Ouellet, who were sent down on Thursday… Daniel Alfredsson missed the game with a groin injury, causing the Red Wings to play with only 17 skaters.

Pregame: Capitals @ Red Wings – 11/15

With three-straight extra-time losses behind them, the Red Wings look to snap their slump tonight as they host the Washington Capitals.

Detroit will get Jonathan Ericsson back on their blue line. He returns from long-term injured reserve with cap space created by the assignment of Patrick Eaves, Jordin Tootoo, Luke Glendening and Xavier Ouellet to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Jimmy Howard gets the start in goal for the Wings.

Game time is 7:30 PM on FSD.

Eaves, Glendening Sent to Griffins as Ericsson Returns

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Friday that forwards Patrick Eaves and Luke Glendening had been sent to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League, clearing enough salary cap space for defenseman Jonathan Ericsson‘s return from long-term injured reserve.

Eaves had been placed on waivers on Thursday, going unclaimed before clearing at noon on Friday.

The pair of forwards join right wing Jordin Tootoo and defenseman Xavier Ouellet, who were sent to the Griffins on Thursday. Tootoo had cleared waivers on November 7th.

With Tootoo and Eaves in the AHL, only $1.05 million of their total $3.1 million in salary counts against Detroit’s salary cap. The team now has less than $500,000 in cap space with no players remaining on long-term injured reserve. Forward Stephen Weiss (groin) remains on short-term injured reserve, which carries no cap relief.

Red Wings Fall to Lighting in Second Consecutive OT Loss

For the second-straight game, the Detroit Red Wings fell in overtime, dropping a 3-2 decision in the extra frame to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.

They had previously lost in overtime to the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

With 1:19 remaining, Richard Panik stole the puck from Kyle Quincey behind the Detroit goal and sent a pass out to Teddy Purcell all alone in the slot for a quick snap past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard into the top of the net.

The goal gave the Lighting just their second-ever win at Joe Louis Arena, their first since 1994.

Henrik Zetterberg had opened the game’s scoring just 3:51 into the game. Pavel Datsyuk pressured Steven Stamkos in the left wing corner and Stamkos threw the puck out into the slot, where Zetterberg picked it off and whipped a shot past Tampa Bay netminder Ben Bishop.

The Lighting would tie things back up midway through the period, as Ryan Malone was left untouched on a wraparound chance off a feed from Matthew Carle. Howard stretched to stop Malone’s first attempt but Malone got the rebound and lifted it over the prone goalie at 10:11.

Immediately after killing off a long series of Detroit power plays, the Lightning would take the lead with 7:10 left in the second period. Stamkos was left alone as the Red Wings attempted to clear their zone but Victor Hedman stepped up to hold the puck in and sent it to Stamkos, who rifled a shot past Howard to make it 2-1.

Zetterberg’s second of the night evened things back up with 4:12 remaining in regulation. Danny DeKeyser dumped the puck in from the neutral zone and it wrapped around the boards. On the right wing Datsyuk let it go back to Zetterberg, who stepped up to the faceoff dot and fired a slapper off the stick of former Red Wing Valtteri Filppula and past Bishop.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night, with the Red Wings having four chances with the extra attacker and Tampa Bay having three.

Howard finished with 31 saves on 34 shots against while Bishop stopped 25 of 27.


The Red Wings were without Stephen Weiss, Johan Franzen, Jonathan Ericsson and Brendan Smith due to injury. Jordin Tootoo and Patrick Eaves were healthy scratches… Xavier Ouellet and Luke Glendening were called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins for the game, with Adam Almquist being sent back to Grand Rapids.

Pregame: Rangers @ Red Wings – 10/26

The Red Wings host the New York Rangers tonight and will face the Blueshirts with a new set of lines, shaking things up after their 6-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday.

Pavel Datsyuk will center Daniel Alfredsson and Todd Bertuzzi on the top line while Henrik Zetterberg centers Johan Franzen and Tomas Tatar. Stephen Weiss centers Daniel Cleary and Justin Abdelkader as the third like with Joakim Andersson, Drew Miller and Jordin Tootoo as the fourth line. Mikael Samuelsson and Patrick Eaves (back from IR but not back in the lineup) will be the healthy scratches. Darren Helm remains on IR after suffering another groin injury.

On defense it will be Niklas Kronwall with Brendan Smith, Kyle Quincey with Danny DeKeyser and Brian Lashoff with Jakub Kindl. Johanthan Ericsson remains out with a shoulder injury and Xavier Ouellet has been returned to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Jimmy Howard gets the start in goal opposite Cam Talbot, taking the place of the injured Henrik Lundqvist.

Stupid stat of the game: The Red Wings are winless (0-4) all-time against the Rangers on October 26th but all four of those games have been on the road.

Game time is 7:00 PM on FSD.