The Red Wings’ inability to trade Mike Green, Xavier Ouellet and (apparently) Nick Jensen has negatively affected the team’s log-jam of prospects in Grand Rapids, as The Athletic’s Craig Custance notes:
Griffins coach Todd Nelson has been playing seven defensemen, similar to Jon Cooper in Tampa, which may be a good way to win games. It’s not a great way to develop young defensemen.
“Last game we played six, which is nice for the D,” [Joe] Hicketts said. “You also don’t want to see guys getting sat. But it allows you to get in a groove and you’re playing with the same guy consistently. You’re not getting shortchanged on special-teams stuff. Obviously, six D is a lot better.”
And, because Nelson is trying to get in the playoffs, when he’s sitting a player, it’s likely going to be a younger player who is still adapting to the league. In this case, it was 20-year-old Vili Saarijarvi taking a seat.
Again, not ideal for player development. Saarijarvi is the Red Wings’ third-best defensive prospect. He needs to be playing.
Custance continues at length (paywall), and he suggests that the Red Wings will have to use their 3rd of 4 post-trade deadline call-ups on Evgeny Svechnikov, assuming that Frans Nielsen is injured.