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UPDATED: Red Wings Send Zadina, Saarijarvi to Griffins, Release Jokinen from PTO

NHL: Preseason-Detroit Red Wings at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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:

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:

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:

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:

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.

Updates: 1:08pm

Goodness, might we actually see FOUR young defensemen on opening night?

And finally:


This story is developing.