With all eight preseason games over, the Wings have until Tuesday to hit compliance with the 23-man roster limit. We're going to see lots of movement in the next few days to reduce the roster and we may even potentially see a trade or two. Of course, that trade probably won't include Johnny Boychuk or Nick Leddy, who were both snapped up by the Islanders on Saturday, but the Wings have more NHL-ready players than they have spots for and they have waited until the very last minute to start making waiver decisions.
With that in mind, we got together and voted among ourselves to decide which players would make the final cut. To do this, we voted on 15 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 2 goalies. The more math-inclined among you might notice that this makes up more than 23 players, but that's only because Pavel Datsyuk will probably start the season on short-term injured reserve and will be temporarily replaced as a result.
The Consensus Picks
|Pavel Datsyuk||Drew Miller|
|Henrik Zetterberg||Tomas Tatar|
|Justin Abdelkader||Tomas Jurco|
|Gustav Nyquist||Stephen Weiss|
|Riley Sheahan||Johan Franzen|
|Joakim Andersson||Darren Helm|
No real surprises here. In fact, if we're putting the four lines out there for opening night and everybody is healthy, this is the most-likely group of 12. To fill out the remainder of players here, we're only looking for 2 guys who will fight to get into the lineup off the bench and for Pavel Datsyuk's early-season injury replacement.
Again, no surprises. This is the list of five defensemen who came out of this summer with more or less guaranteed spots. Each played well enough in preseason to keep his spot in the top five of the Red Wings' defensive corps. Out of all of them, Kyle Quincey might have had the best preseason.
It should come as absolutely no surprise that there's only a consensus on one out of three goalies in contention for the two spots in Detroit.
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So this group fills 18 roster spots with consensus picks (with one on IR). To finish the roster, we need to count up the votes to find three more forwards, two defensemen, and our backup goalie.
|Luke Glendening (6/9 Votes)|
|Andrej Nestrasil (5/9 Votes)|
|Teemu Pulkkinen (6/9 Votes)|
This one was a fun vote (especially since Dan Cleary lost). Luke Glendening looks to have improved enough over the offseason that he would be a good addition to the team. Pulkkinen gets in as a bit of a mix between his Grand Rapids track record showing his potential. He didn't shine particularly bright during preseason, but he's got a cannon of a shot and is hard to move off the puck. Here's Kyle on Nestrasil:
Andrej Nestrasil -
What a surprise he's been. He had an absolutely terrific camp and an even better preseason. Not only did he show signs of elite caliber offensive skill, he simply makes the players around him better. He would be a perfect offensive dynamic in the bottom six.
|Nick Jensen (7/9 Votes)|
|Xavier Ouellet (8/9 Votes)|
Of the two, Ouellet is much less surprising to have been voted in here. He got into a playoff game for the Wings last year replacing a healthy-scratched Jakub Kindl and was probably the most-complete defender among the prospect D. Jensen didn't exactly come out of nowhere, but he wasn't really too close to the radar before he wowed the fans in preseason with very good puck moving, well-timed aggression, and even good board work in his own zone. It's interesting to note that this leaves both Jakub Kindl and Brian Lashoff off the club (which I don't think is realistic). Lashoff received zero votes here while Kindl got left in the dust among the non-consensus add-ons.
|Petr Mrazek (8/9 Votes)|
This one was a landslide. Mrazek had a strong preseason. His non-strong performance wasn't anywhere particularly close to as bad as Jonas Gustavsson's worst preseason start either. For the record, WIIM collectively knows that Mrazek isn't taking the backup job from Gustavsson; that was evident as soon as Monster signed this summer. However, we set this poll to vote for what we would go with, not what we think the team will do. The only dissenting vote was driven by both pragmatism and a desire to see Mrazek get a ton of starts this season instead of occasional backup duty.
The Waiver Wire
The following players did not receive enough votes to make WIIM's roster, but have to clear waivers in order to be assigned to Grand Rapids:
Daniel Cleary (4 Votes) - This guy is essentially waiver-proof with his over-35 contract and the $1M bonus for playing in 10 NHL games. Still, he was given a chance to prove he belonged and didn't impress on the ice.
Jonas Gustavsson (1 Vote) - Monster wouldn't be picked up on waivers, but it's a non-issue. He's not going to get waived. He'll be the backup until he gets hurt again.
Jakub Kindl (3 Votes) - It would be wonderful for the Wings if somebody took him off waivers instead of forcing them to eat nearly $1.5M in cap space simply to bury him in Grand Rapids. Hopefully he gets traded before it's an issue.
Brian Lashoff (0 Votes) - Lasher's entire salary is buryable, but his preseason performance and his dependability makes him at least a semi-decent candidate for a wire pickup.
Landon Ferraro (1 Vote) - I'd be shocked if he were picked up. He's a speedy grinder whose speed doesn't really impress. Every team has a guy at least as good as Ferraro who is playing with their AHL squad.
Mitch Callahan (3 Votes) - Slightly more likely to get picked up than Ferraro due to a decent scoring clip in the AHL. The late nature of him being put on waivers might actually lead to a claim, since teams are probably a little bit more likely to panic about needing a Mitch Callahan type while there's nothing else going on before the regular season starts.
Tomas Nosek (1 Vote) and Alexey Marchenko (0 Votes) did not make the cut but are also not yet waiver eligible. Both need additional time before they're ready, but could find themselves on the roster this season. Both are good players.