September is fast approaching and that means we are just a couple weeks away from the Red Wings’ prospect tournament. There is definitely plenty of interest surrounding training camp and how the roster will look on opening night. Steve Yzerman has pulled the trigger on some offseason moves — Nick Leddy, Alex Nedeljkovic, Jordan Oesterle, etc. — to bolster the roster ahead of the 2021-22 season. And, with an early eye on the depth chart, it begs the question: which Red Wings prospects could make the jump to the big club this season?
Seider might have the best chance of any of the Red Wings’ prospects to make the lineup out of the gate. At 6’4 and 200-plus pounds, it’s amazing that Seider is still only 20 and could continue to grow into his towering frame. He’s such a smart player, knowing how to navigate himself on the ice and the biggest part of his game that will have fans locked in is his physicality. The Wings have lacked that presence on the blueline since Niklas Kronwall’s departure and Seider should be able to provide that level of toughness with more bone-jarring hits that will have fans jumping out of their seats. I would anticipate Seider playing a Top 4 spot on the backend this season following a 28-point performance in 41 games in the SHL last year.
Berggren was incredible in the SHL last season, finishing with 45 points in 49 games. He’s an intriguing option to crack the Wings’ opening night lineup because he can play either position on the wing. He has great puck control (reminds me a little bit of Henrik Zetterberg) and knows how to use his small frame in tight spaces to guard against opposing defenders. Berggren has plenty of offensive upside and will one day be a mainstay in the Top 6 for this team. The question will be if he shines in September, will it be enough to convince the Wings’ brass to keep him with the big club? There are a lot of wingers up and down this lineup — Jakub Vrana, Tyler Bertuzzi, Robby Fabbri, etc. — and Yzerman might think it’s better for his development to start the year in Grand Rapids. I will not at all be surprised to see Berggren get a taste of NHL action at some point this year though.
We’ve all seen the photo of Veleno during an offseason workout looking like Rambo in his prime, but in case you missed it here you go:
Veleno getting absolutely shredded this summer #LGRW pic.twitter.com/qiHOVKvPv7— Griffins Nest (@GrGriffinsNest) August 20, 2021
He’s doing everything he can to earn an opening night roster spot and will likely give the coaching staff and management a lot to think about following training camp and the prospects tournament. The thing with Veleno being on the opening night roster is that it likely wouldn’t be as a center. Yzerman brought in Pius Suter and Mitchell Stephens this summer and I would have to think as of right now the middle of the lineup looks like Larkin, Suter, Michael Rasmussen and Stephens. Could Veleno beat out Stephens for the fourth line spot? Sure. But, is that really beneficial for his development? If Veleno isn’t considered for a Top 9 position in this lineup, then I would just rather see him start the year in GR and be called upon when an injury occurs. He had a brief cup of coffee for five games with the Wings last season, so he definitely has an inside track after Frans Nielsen was bought out last week, but again a Top 9 spot or GR makes the most sense.
There’s a lot to like about Raymond’s game, from his tenacity on the forecheck to his quick release. He’s going to be a fine young player for this Wings team in the years to come, but I’m not really sure he cracks the opening night roster this year. This has nothing to do with his skill level and everything to do with a jam packed depth chart, considering he is a winger and it was mentioned earlier that Veleno’s best chance at a Top 9 spot might be on the wing. I feel the same way about Raymond. If he’s not going to get a legitimate opportunity in the Top 9 that would also see some powerplay minutes, then I’d prefer to see him start the year in Grand Rapids. Of course, injuries happen throughout the season, so it’s extremely likely Raymond would get the call at some point — it just may be later in the season. The fact that he’s coming back from a gruesome arm injury that kept him out for a couple months last year, also indicates the Wings may be willing to take their time with him and let him get adjusted to the North American game in GR a little bit.
Let’s hear from you, the readers, which of these prospects has the best shot at making the roster or do you think another prospect is in line for an opening night roster spot?
Which prospect has the best chance to make the team?
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