So you've all heard it a billion times- Gustav Nyquist was not only called up and scored two goals (including a game-winner), but the Red WIngs report that he is here to stay for the rest of the season.... And there was much rejoicing (yayyyy).
Before everyone gets too fired up about this, we need to figure out what the Red Wings can do when their players get back from the IR. If there is any point in the season where there are no players on the IR, the Wings will be roughly $400,000 over the salary cap. So some moves need to be made. I'm sure many Red Wings enthusiasts would love Ken Holland to make a deal with another team- maybe send some players from our deep prospect pool and a roster player in exchange for a top 6 forward or top 4 defenceman- but I don't know if that's realistic. So I think it's more than likely that Ken Holland will try to ship down another NHL veteran to Grand Rapids. Maybe Mikael Samuelsson or maybe, just maybe, the wings will accept defeat and drop Daniel Cleary down.
This could be ideal! I would be absolutely thrilled to have our line combinations be something as follows:
Franzen - Zetterberg - Nyquist
Alfredsson - Datsyuk - Tatar
Abdelkader - Helm - Weiss
Miller - Andersson - Cleary/Samuelsson/Bertuzzi
Kronwall - DeKeyser
Ericsson - Quincey
Kindl - Smith/Lashoff
It was fantastic to see what Nyquist alongside Z and mule- I would love to see it continue. Tatar has shown flashes of brilliance, and playing with Pav can only help his development. Throw Alfredsson with them as he can shoot well, and has been a fairly solid contributor thus far. Helm and Abdelkader alone could be a part of one the most difficult third lines to play against across the whole NHL. Weiss had a 57 point season playing much of it with Kris Versteeg and Tomas Fleischmann. He's used to (and has excelled at) playing with guys well under point-per-game. Andersson and Miller have been fairly consistent and they know their role, and then someone has to fill in that last spot... so let it be Bert or Sammy or Cleary.
Alright cool. The wings have some great potential to be a top team again this season. But at what cost?
Cory Emmerton, Jordin Tootoo, Patrick Eaves, and Cleary/Samuelsson would be taking up 4 of the 12 forward spots in Grand Rapids (if Cleary/Sammy aren't claimed on waivers). Not only does this mean that there are 4 young guys that will be either sitting in the press box or will be sent down to the ECHL, but it also means that players like Tomas Jurco, Riley Sheahan, Luke Glendening, Calle Jarnkrok, Teemu Pulkinnen, and Landon Ferraro are having their playing time eaten up by these veteran players that essentially have no business playing with the Red Wings in the near or distant future.
The Red Wings are proof that over-ripening your prospects works, they've been one of the best teams in the league for the past 2 decades. I still can't help but think there needs to be a point where you care about your prospects' development more than being nice to your veteran players. There needs to be a point where maybe you bench your veteran guys in the AHL for the sake of giving more minutes to guys needing them to improve their game because right now, the only purpose those veteran players are serving by being in the AHL is so the wings can recall them if they get into injury trouble. Maybe keep one or two of them around (Sammy and Eaves?), but I'm a strong believer that Glendening, Sheahan, and Jarnkrok could certainly help fill the voids in the bottom 6.
Ken Holland- accept the fact that Cleary and Samuelsson aren't beneficial to have on the Red Wings any more. When they scored 20 goals each they were valuable, but if they keep scoring at this rate, they will score fewer than 8 goals COMBINED. No thanks Kenny. No thanks.