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Red Wings Misprioritize Roster Again; Assign Dominic Turgeon, Joe Hicketts to Grand Rapids Griffins

Two kids are headed back down today

Carolina Hurricanes v Detroit Red Wings't Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

Some pregame news out of the Red Wings’ organiation prior to the team’s matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night (7:30pm ET airing on NBCSN):

The writing on the wall in this regard is that Luke Glendening is ready to return from the hand/wrist injury sustained on December 20th when the Wings last faced the Flyers. Somebody had to come off the roster in order for Glendening to again take up a spot and it appears as though simply sending down replacement penalty-killer Dominic Turgeon wouldn’t do enough clear the cap space needed for Glendening’s $1.8M hit.

More from the Red Wings:

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today assigned forward Dominic Turgeon and defenseman Joe Hicketts to the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins.

Turgeon, 21, made his NHL debut on Jan. 14 at Chicago and went on to skate in four games for the Red Wings, averaging 9:36 of ice time and recording two shots on goal. Originally drafted by Detroit in the third round (63rd overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Turgeon has appeared in 40 games for the Griffins this season and has already surpassed his rookie-season totals in goals (9), assists (14) and points (23), after logging 18 points (6-12-18) in 71 games during the 2016-17 campaign. The second-year pro currently sits sixth on the Griffins in points and also ranks among team leaders with nine goals (5th), 14 assists (5th), a plus-eight rating (T2nd) and 74 shots on goal (T6th). Turgeon was also a member of the Griffins’ 2017 Calder Cup championship team, skating in all 19 of the team’s postseason games and registering two points (1-1-2).

Prior to turning professional, the Pointe-Clare, Quebec, native spent four seasons in the Western Hockey League with the Portland Winterhawks, tallying 152 points (67-85-152) and 91 penalty minutes in 259 games from 2011-16. The 6-foot-2, 203-pound forward captained the Winterhawks in 2015-16 and registered a junior career-high 70 points (36-34-70) in 72 games. He was also a WHL champion with Portland in 2012-13 and picked up 18 points (10-8-18) in 45 career WHL games. Turgeon’s father, Pierre, scored over 500 NHL goals for Buffalo, the NY Islanders, Montreal, St. Louis, Dallas and Colorado from 1987-07 and his uncle, Sylvain, skated in 669 NHL games for Hartford, New Jersey, Montreal and Ottawa from 1983-95.

Hicketts, 21, made his NHL debut on Jan. 22 at New Jersey, logging a plus-one rating and 15:13 of ice time on the blueline, along with 4:22 on the penalty kill, to help the Red Wings to a 3-0 shutout of the Devils. In his second professional season, Hicketts has appeared in 43 games with the Griffins and registered eight points (2-6-8) and 26 penalty minutes. In his rookie campaign with Grand Rapids, the Kamloops, British Columbia, native led the team’s defensemen with 34 points (7-27-34) in 73 games, ranking seventh among first-year AHL defensemen. Hicketts also tacked on eight points (1-7-8) in 19 games to pace Griffins defensemen in postseason scoring en route to helping the team capture its second AHL championship in five seasons. In 116 career AHL games, he has produced 42 points (9-33-42), 66 penalty minutes and a plus-five rating.

Originally signed by the Red Wings as an undrafted free agent in September 2014, the 5-foot-8, 180-pound defenseman spent four seasons with the Western Hockey League’s Victoria Royals from 2012-16. Hicketts served as the team’s captain the last two years and posted back-to-back 60-point seasons for the Royals. In all, Hicketts totaled 173 points (32-141-173), 149 penalty minutes and a plus-69 rating in 224 games with the Royals and was a WHL West Second-Team All-Star in 2015 and First-Team All-Star in 2016. Internationally, Hicketts represented Canada twice at the IIHF World Junior Championship, winning gold in 2015 and serving as an alternate captain for the team in 2016 while recording six points (1-5-6) in 12 games over the two tournaments. He also earned medals at three additional tournaments for his country, winning gold at the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, picking up a silver at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and earning bronze at the 2014 World Under-18 Championship.

It’s not the absolute worst-decision here because it’s not like Turgeon was tearing things up and we knew Hicketts would only be around temporarily, but I don’t like it. David Booth just cleared waivers and would have also made enough room, despite my opinion that he’s played pretty well and that it should be Luke Witkowski leaving the roster anyway. Hicketts wasn’t really a game-changer in his first game, but I’d rather have him in the lineup than either Witkowski or Xavier Ouellet.

The concerning part here is that the 3-0 win over the Devils, the Red Wings moved to within 8 points of a playoff spot with games in hand and I’m worried that rather than spending this time to usefully commit to letting more youth develop, the team is looking to spend the next month chasing a postseason berth that’s probably not in their best interests.