Yesterday, the Red Wings released their training camp roster for their Traverse City camp starting on the 17th and running until the 21st. 72 total players separated into three teams will take to the ice to get warmed up for the season or to fight for a job. Here's that breakdown again:
Forwards: Colin Campbell, Pavel Datsyuk*, Johan Franzen, Luke Glendening, Darren Helm, Adam Marsh, Zach Nastasiuk, Tomas Nosek, Brad Richards, Riley Sheahan, Eric Tangradi, Tomas Tatar, Jerome Verrier, Mark Zengerle
Defensemen: Scott Czarnowczan, Danny DeKeyser, Mike Green, Brian Lashoff, Richard Nedomlel, Jared Nightingale, Ryan Sproul, Ty Stanton
Goaltenders: Matt Mancina, Petr Mrazek
Forwards: Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi, Mitch Callahan, Dan Cleary, Tomas Jurco, Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Andy Miele, Teemu Pulkkinen, Joel Rechlicz, Evgeny Svechnikov, Dominic Turgeon, Marek Tvrdon
Defensemen: Nick Jensen, Jakub Kindl, Justin Lemcke, Xavier Ouellet, Nathan Paetsch, Andrew Prochno, Kyle Quincey, Robbie Russo
Goaltenders: Jared Coreau, Connor Ingram, Tom McCollum
Forwards: Justin Abdelkader, Joakim Andersson, Louis-Marc Aubry, Nick Betz, Kurt Etchegary, Landon Ferraro, Martin Frk, Triston Grant*, Jeff Hoggan, Conor McGlynn, Drew Miller, Gustav Nyquist, Evan Polei, Henrik Zetterberg
Defensemen: Jalen Chatfield, Jonathan Ericsson, Joe Hicketts, Niklas Kronwall, Alexey Marchenko, Jarett Meyer, Vili Saarijarvi, Brendan Smith
Goaltenders: Jimmy Howard, Jake Paterson
Among these 72 players are the 23 who will make the Red Wings' opening day roster and a lot of guys who will be in Griffins' training camp getting ready to start the season in Grand Rapids by the time the Wings' preseason is done. There are also 14 invites looking to secure a pro contract when all is said and done. Here's that list.
|Nick Betz||Jared Nightingale||Matt Mancina|
|Jerome Verrier||Justin Lemcke||Connor Ingram|
|Joel Rechlicz||Ty Stanton|
|Conor McGlynn||Andrew Prochno|
|Evan Polei||Jarett Meyer|
|Kurt Etchegary||Jalen Chatfield|
Among these invitees, Verrier seems to be the one who has received the most talk about potentially receiving a contract. An undrafted free agent who played in last year's prospects tourney for the Wings, he was also invited to this year's early July development camp. the now-21 year old right-shooting right winger is likely approaching his last chance, but he has been able to make an impression. Other notable names includes three Toledo Walleye players in Nightingale, Prochno, and Etchegary
Outside of the potential of the camp invitees, what I'm most interested in is seeing what the team splits have to say, if anything, about the team's makeup. I think some of the player splits are very interesting, though I'm not sure how meaningful any of it is at this point, considering there were interesting player splits in last year's camp roster that didn't end up saying a whole lot about the way the team looked as the season went on (DK and Quincey weren't on the same team while Nyquist, Sheahan, Tatar, and Weiss were all together on one last season).
With that in mind, let's cut out all of the players who are waiver eligible and look at the rosters again:
Forwards: Pavel Datsyuk*, Johan Franzen, Luke Glendening, Darren Helm, Brad Richards, Riley Sheahan, Eric Tangradi, Tomas Tatar
Defensemen: Danny DeKeyser, Mike Green, Brian Lashoff
Goaltenders: Petr Mrazek
Forwards: Mitch Callahan, Dan Cleary, Tomas Jurco, Teemu Pulkkinen, Andy Miele
Defensemen: Jakub Kindl, Kyle Quincey
Goaltenders: Tom McCollum
Forwards: Justin Abdelkader, Joakim Andersson, Louis-Marc Aubry, Landon Ferraro, Drew Miller, Gustav Nyquist, Henrik Zetterberg
Defensemen: Jonathan Ericsson, Niklas Kronwall, Brendan Smith
Goaltenders: Jimmy Howard
Analysis - Forwards
First off, it's immediately clear that Team Howe drew the short stick here for veteran players in all three positions. It's fairly likely that by the time preseason games are getting ready to start and the Wings split into two teams to play the first few games, Team Howe is likely to be broken up to join teams Delvecchio and Lindsay (which will be renamed Red & White by then). However, the waiver eligibility threshold belies the fact that what Team Howe lacks in high-end veterans, they make up for in the prospects department. Larkin, Mantha, and Svechnikov will all be together on that squad, as well as Xavier Ouellet and new signee defenseman Robbie Russo.
Going back to the veteran pieces, it's interesting to see where Brad Richards falls. We heard earlier in the summer that Blashill wanted to try to reunite Datsyuk and Zetterberg this season, needing the kids below them to step up and make certain that other teams would let the Wings get away with such stacking. We also knew that Datsyuk wouldn't be ready to start the season, so we'd have to wait to see if that plan would actually work anyway. What we see here on Team Delvecchio is Datsyuk's linemates from last season in Darren Helm and Tomas Tatar kept together. However, we've got a trio of potential centers for those wingers if they're going to be sticking to a line. Luke Glendening is likely not centering a scoring line. Riley Sheahan has been asked to step up, but right now the Wings' top center is Brad Richards.
While It's no guarantee that this will mean anything, you might figure that the newest guy on the team would want the maximum amount of time playing with his linemates before the season starts, no?
You can see further hints pointing to last year's lines on team Lindsay, where Zetterberg, Abdelkader, and Nyquist find themselves all sitting together. What's interesting about Team Lindsay's forwards is that two thirds of last year's Star Wars line (Miller & Ferraro) find themselves separated from their Luke and instead hanging out with Joakim Andersson.
Team Howe's forwards? Well that's two skill guys in need of a center (which they have in Larkin). Are Pulkkinen and Jurco's placement indicative that their place isn't yet fully known or is the plan to have them together? Cleary? Well he has to fit somewhere if he's going to have a contract. Callahan's placement away from the rest of the grinding vets could also potentially mean that he's starting camp on the outside looking in, though Team Howe is a bit grinder-heavy. Callahan needs to rise to the top of that crop.
Analysis - Defense
This one I am comfortable reading between the lines for the top two pairings, seeing DK-Green and Kronwall-Ericsson together on separate teams. Quincey-Kindl being Team Howe's top pair is interesting to me, as well as the placement of Smith and Marchenko on Team Lindsay with Ericsson and Kronwall (Since both of those players have been used alongside Kronwall at some point in the last two seasons).
The thing that gets me about the placements is that it certainly seems that Kindl is higher on the depth chart than Smith right now, but there's so many iterations of what could happen in the next few weeks that there's no way to be that confident. For one, the Red Wings still have a logjam on defense and plenty of room to make a move. I think if a trade does happen, Kyle Quincey remains the front-man for odd man out, though I don't believe he's actually the most-tradeable. You could make an argument for just about anybody below Ericsson on the depth chart being the guy positioned to not still be there at the end of camp based on how these rosters are put together.
If nothing else, I'm happy to see Quincey and Smith remain separated. Thinking back to what a nightmare that pairing has been, I'm not sure I'd want to see them together again, even under easier deployment.
Analysis - Goaltenders
We know that Mrazek and Howard are the tandem going into this year. Mrazek finishing with the starter's job last season gives him inside track to be the starter so far this year, though that can change. Based on this, it certainly does look like McCollum is going to spend this season as the team's first goalie callup in the event of an injury, but I like the he and Coreau are on the same team in camp, since I feel these are the two most-closely competing for that callup spot (as well as being the two who will be competing most for the Griffins' starter spot). Don't sleep on Jake Paterson though. that kid's been good this summer.
Hoo boy am I excited about the approach of October. There's a real good chance that none of what I've tried to read between the lines actually means anything in the greater scheme of things, but there's a few interesting things about how these practice squads are built and I can't wait to see it all come together.