The puck will drop on the Detroit Red Wings’ first game of the 2018-19 regular season on October 4. Sixth overall pick Filip Zadina will not be on that opening night roster.
As many suspected may happen, Zadina is headed west to Grand Rapids to bolster his already-impressive skill set to where he can make an impact at the NHL level. Before the announcement this afternoon, Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News posited that it’s his timing, above all, that needs the most work.
But hey, I think most of us here got to the point where we were okay with this scenario coming to fruition. And Zadina certainly won’t be alone, as other promising players were also sent down to the Griffins today, defenseman Vili Saarijarvi among them. Here’s the full tweet from the Red Wings:
The #RedWings today assigned David Pope, Givani Smith, Dominic Turgeon, Filip Zadina, Vili Saarijarvi and Harri Sateri to the AHL's @griffinshockey. pic.twitter.com/J2z9Gnfobe— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) September 30, 2018
By my math, that leaves Evgeny Svechnikov, Michael Rasmussen, Christoffer Ehn,
Axel Holmstrom, Joe Hicketts, Libor Sulak, Dennis Cholowski, and Filip Hronek as the young guns remaining on the roster. (Note: Holmstrom was actually assigned to the Griffins on Sept. 27, whoops) Surely that will change in the next couple of days, as rosters must be finalized by 5pm on October 2. But there’s a few more housekeeping updates the Wings have been rolling out this morning:
Additionally, the #RedWings have released left wing Jussi Jokinen from his professional tryout. pic.twitter.com/4fcpBz6UzT— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) September 30, 2018
That’s a relief for more than a couple of people. I’ll admit I wasn’t as worried about the possibility of Jussi Jokinen getting signed, but now we know for sure he won’t be in a Detroit sweater come Thursday.
Further, some more unexpected but potentially welcome news, depending on where you fall on the “60 Minutes of Hell” thing:
Waivers 2/2— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) September 30, 2018
Those are the three players on waivers that will hopefully all be going to Grand Rapids if they clear by noon tomorrow. So anyone worried that Zadina would get cut over Luke Witkowski, you can rest your little heads knowing they get to be teammates in Grand Rapids instead.
Dana Wakiji offers some insight from practice this morning:
#RedWings Kronwall practiced for about 15 minutes before leaving the ice. Svechnikov was there for start but left early.— Dana Wakiji (@Dwakiji) September 30, 2018
#RedWings Ehn is practicing with the team, as is Frk.— Dana Wakiji (@Dwakiji) September 30, 2018
#RedWings Ericsson said he suffered a setback and if he does not have very significant improvement soon, won’t be able to play Thursday.— Dana Wakiji (@Dwakiji) September 30, 2018
#RedWings Ehn was told that he impressed with his penalty killing and defensive play, but doesn’t know role moving forward. Was supposed to play for #Griffins at end of last year but he got mono and returned to Sweden.— Dana Wakiji (@Dwakiji) September 30, 2018
So a couple of guys are still up in the air (Ehn,
Holmstrom, etc.), but it also looks like we’re going to be seeing three young defensemen in the lineup on Thursday, with Trevor Daley, Mike Green, and now Jonathan Ericsson looking to sit out the opener.
#RedWings Blashill said Kronwall has a tweak and joins Ericsson and Daley as questionable.— Dana Wakiji (@Dwakiji) September 30, 2018
Goodness, might we actually see FOUR young defensemen on opening night?
Ehn, by the way, is expected to be in the lineup come Thursday. Can play wing https://t.co/pjG1BUOdsl— Max Bultman (@m_bultman) September 30, 2018
Expectation as of today's roster moves by Red Wings is Michael Rasmussen, Christoffer Ehn in lineup for opener. On D, Dennis Cholowski in; Hicketts, Hronek and Sulak pending status of Kronwall (hurt today, described as tweak), Ericsson & Daley. All questionable.— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) September 30, 2018
Jeff Blashill said Evgeny Svechnikov is out, suffered undisclosed injury Saturday. #RedWings— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) September 30, 2018
This story is developing.