The offseason has hardly begun for the Detroit Red Wings and there’s already some news of players looking for their next opportunity. The latest example, reportedly, is defenseman Gustav Lindstrom:
Lindstrom, a right-handed defenseman who turns 25 in October, was drafted by former Wings GM Ken Holland with the 38th pick back in 2017. He’s been a decent depth player in his short time with Detroit. That being said, don’t look at who was drafted with the 39th pick in the same Draft class.
If he were to leave for European hockey, Lindstrom would be one of a few Red Wings blueliners I don’t expect back next season. Robert Hägg and Jordan Oesterle are both pending UFA – I wouldn’t expect both of them back. I would guess that’s the same for Mark Pysyk. Steve Yzerman could fill those holes in free agency or he could lean on some of the younger depth he has. First player that comes to mind, obviously, is Simon Edvinsson. The former first-round pick had a couple of goals in his first nine NHL games and only got better with each game. I have a good feeling about Edvinsson and truly believe he’s ready to be a full-time NHL player. Of course, he only played nine games so his entry-level contract will slide, giving the Red Wing some added flexibility. Perhaps he starts next season in Grand Rapids… But I’ll go ahead and predict he starts with the big club.
Simon Edvinsson’s career stats via EliteProspects
There are also some younger players that still need their shot. Look at guys like Jared McIsaac or Seth Barton, for instance. I have no idea if either will ever suit up for Detroit, but at some point a decision will need to be made. The two defenseman, both 23 years old, are pending RFA. I’m not as curious about Barton as I am with McIsaac. At one point he was considered a top prospect for Detroit, but injuries have derailed his development timeline. Good news is that he has back-to-back seasons with 60+ games and his numbers, while not red-hot, aren’t bad by any means. I really would like to see him get a shot as a primary call-up option or roster depth.
Jared McIsaac’s career stats via EliteProspects
The upcoming crop of UFA defensemen isn’t the best to say the least. There are probably a few who are worthy of a bargain-bin contract, but no one who deserves big term.. Like, say, Ben Chiarot. Some possible free agent names that could interest Detroit: John Klingberg, Shane Gostisbehere, Dmitry Orlov, Oscar Klefbom.
I think Steve Yzerman should really look to what he has in his pool of prospects. There are some players who are reaching a point where a decision needs to be made about their future – there are also some of the younger players, like Edvinsson, who will compete for a full-time spot from day one of camp. Of course there is still a lot of time between now and the NHL Draft. Maybe there’s a trade to be made somewhere. But when it comes to younger depth players, the Wings already have a few options within the organization… And some of those players are waiting for the chance to make their NHL debut.