Red Wings 2015-16 Season Preview: Ferraro, Miller, Callahan, Cleary
Welcome back to the WIIM Player Previews. We've already seen the top centers and bottom centers by Lauren and Joe, the middle wingers from Graham and the top wingers from Kyle. Today we'll get into the bottom wingers to round out the forwards
These guys should make up the fourth line and fill the extra spots in the roster in case the Wings face an injury. Let's take a look!
#29 / Right Wing / Detroit Red Wings
Aug 08, 1991
At 24 and waiver-eligible, the son of Ray Ferraro is on a one-year two-way deal with the Wings and a pending RFA for the team. With a $425,000 difference in salary between the NHL level and AHL level, Ferraro has all the motivation in the world to live up to his early 2nd round draft selection. With how he performed late last season for the Wings, it looks like he's got the inside track for getting into more than the 14 career NHL games he has to this point.
Strengths: Ferraro has a good (right-handed) shot, better-than-most speed, and is a tenacious forechecker.
Weaknesses: For the hockey sense and tenacity, Ferraro's skillset hasn't developed at the pace it should have. Injuries have slowed his development and seem to have cost him a half-step off his top gear. He's gone from a good two-way center prospect to a bottom-six winger.
Expectations: This is a good make-or-break year for Ferraro in Detroit. If he can show good value, he'll find his way into games. I wouldn't be surprised to see him get into 40 or more games. While he'll likely be used as a defensive specialist, I'd like to see some of his offensive potential.
#20 / Left Wing / Detroit Red Wings
Feb 17, 1984
The 31-year old Miller enters the third season of a three-year deal with an AAV of $1.35M. In six years with the Wings after having been claimed off waivers from the Lightning, Miller has cemented himself as a defensive stalwart in Detroit's gameplan.
Strengths: When it comes to blocking shooting and passing lanes in his own zone, Drew Miller is probably the best on the roster at doing that. He's a superb penalty killer and is always defensively responsible at even strength. He's also incredibly durable, having played all 82 games each of the last two years.
Weaknesses: Miller has shown flashes of offensive capability, but he hasn't cracked double-digits in goals since his career high of 14 back in 2011-12. His job isn't to score a ton, and he's been directed to specifically sacrifice offense in the name of shut-down play lately, but even if he's told to become the next Ovechkin, Miller's shot, passing, and offensive zone play along the boards are not standout traits.
Expectations: I expect that I'm going to spend this season wistfully watching Drew Miller potentially playing his last year in Detroit and being sad about it. He'll also likely be top two in PK minutes played and tops in gray hairs.
#57 / Right Wing / Detroit Red Wings
Aug 17, 1991
With just 9 days separating Callahan from Ferraro in age and their contracts working the exact same, this 24-year old with something to prove hasn't gotten the opportunity to play more than one game in Detroit thanks to injuries (both for him and for the Wings). Callahan's one-year two-way $600K AAV deal will leave him an RFA at year's end, whether or not he's still with the team.
Strengths: Callahan gives his all every single shift and knows how to get under opponents' skin. He's shown some good scoring chops at the AHL level being the kind of guy on a line with skill players who can muck it up and clean up the trash in the dirty areas.
Weaknesses: Injuries have hurt Callahan lately even more than they hurt Ferraro. Were it not for him getting hurt last season, he likely would have been the Wings' late season callup thanks to the season he was having at the time. At age 24, nobody is really sure what Cally is capable at the higher level.
Expectations: I think Callahan has a decent shot to live up to his offseason commitment to avoiding going back to the AHL. There's no reason to believe he won't compete with Ferraro for ice time and get into a solid chunk of games.
#11 / Left Wing / Detroit Red Wings
Dec 18, 1978
The soon-to-be 37 year old Daniel Cleary enters year three of a three-year promise to get that number of one-year contracts. After earning $2.5M last season, Cleary will see his compensation drop to the exact amount that the Wings could bury in the AHL, $950,000. He'll have to earn his spot, we've been told.
Strengths: Dan Cleary knows about the pitfalls of being young and skilled and from all accounts has used that knowledge to help the kids in the organization develop. He's genuinely liked by team leadership, so that has to count for something.
Weaknesses: He's .... well he's not good at hockey anymore.
Expectations: Cleary doesn't retire this year and we have to spend next summer worrying we're going to be doing this once again in 2016.