Since we’ve hit the “slow” part of the offseason, there’s plenty of time to speculate and analyze this Red Wings roster from top-to-bottom. I had recently woken up in a cold sweat thinking about waiver-eligible players, so here we are. The Red Wings have a crop of young players that will need to have a spot in the NHL, or the team will risk them being exposed to waivers. As we all know, we’ve lost players like Andrej Nestrasil and Landon Ferraro to teams with nothing to show for it. The difference this time around is that the kids who are waiver-eligible have more upside than the aforementioned players. It’s been a rough offseason so far, so let’s break this hellscape of a roster down some more as we inch closer to training camp.
Players who are waiver-eligible
- Nick Jensen
- Xavier Ouellet
- Ryan Sproul
- Martin Frk
- Eric Tangradi
- Jared Coreau
Now that we’ve established which players are waiver eligible, we’re going to break down best and worst case scenarios for the team going into the 2016-2017 regular season.
A “glimmer of hope” situation
While the odds of it happening are likely slim-and-none, there is a chance the Red Wings could find themselves with both Andreas Athanasiou, and Martin Frk on the opening night roster. It is entirely possible that Red Wings management goes into training camp and witnesses how unnecessary signing Steve Ott was when he’s being sucking fumes trying to keep up with the glut of talented young players they have. The Red Wings could then put Ott on waivers, burying the entirety of his salary ($800k) in the AHL. With Ott being 34, there’s a good chance he hangs it up and retires right there and then, and his dream of playing in Detroit will be left hanging above his head.
An absolute pipe-dream
This isn’t going to happen, but a boy can dream, can’t he? In this situation, Red Wings fans could have their cake, and eat it too! Management would realize how silly they acted with spending on obsolete players over the summer, and swallow their pride. Both Drew Miller, and Steve Ott would hit waivers which means the team could have Frk, Athanasiou, AND Anthony Mantha. This gives the team valuable, young, and affordable depth to work with as the season progresses.
What is most likely to happen
The team will keep Miller and Ott, Athanasiou ends up in Grand Rapids because they’re not willing to lose Frk to waivers. In turn, I think Frk ends up being the next Andrej Nestrasil. What’s unfortunate is that Frk is the kind of player who has much more offensive upside than Nestrasil. Again, that’s just my opinion. Some of you seem to think Frk wouldn’t get claimed, but I have an irking feeling that teams would absolutely take him for free as a cheap, young bottom-six scoring winger.
I don’t know.. Can someone please tell the team that it’s okay to have young talent on the roster over old, ineffective players? Thanks.
Detroit has six defensemen on the roster as of right now, so there’s room for a seventh. Between Ouellet, Sproul, and Jensen, I think the best bet is to give that slot to Sproul. Ouellet and Jensen are fine defensemen, but I’m more intrigued by Sproul’s upside with his size, ability, and shot. I suppose either way you look at it, they’ll have a young talented 7D on the roster this season. And no, we’re not going to talk about putting Jonathan Ericsson on waivers, because we all know damn-well that the team is not going to do that.
Jared Coreau is an interesting case. I think he’s a really good goalie, and is likely ready to be a suitable NHL backup, but the Red Wings aren’t going to give him that job for obvious reasons. I don’t think we’ll see him claimed, but I do think he makes some starts this season.
Eric Tangradi will go on waivers, and who knows or cares what happens. Doubtful he gets claimed because he is not an NHL caliber player.
The moral of this nightmarish logjam story is that the Red Wings need to utilize cheap, young talent and rid the roster of declining veterans that are clogging the pipeline. I believe Will Smith said it best in Men in Black II, so I’m going to close it out with the entire quote:
Agent J (Jeff Blashill): Wait, what are you doing?
Agent K (Ken Holland): I always did the driving.
Agent J: Oh, no.
Agent K: I remember that.
Agent J: No, what you remember is that you used to drive that old busted joint. See, I drive... the new hotness. [points at Kay] Old and busted. [points at himself] New hotness. [K looks at J for a second, then J hands the keys over] Old, busted hotness.
Please give us the new hotness.