Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke with the Wings’ media corps this afternoon, and Michigan Hockey’s Stefan Kubus took note of Holland’s take as to how today’s three free agency signings impact the team’s youth movement:
“As we go into training camp, players I want to see – Michael Rasmussen, Zadina, Svechnikov, Dom Turgeon played well last year and got up a little bit. On defense, Sulak, Hronek, Cholowski, Hicketts, hopefully I haven’t missed anybody, but we’re going to give a lot of young players a long look in preseason and the plan is, the hope is, that kids crack our line-up, but they have to be ready. I don’t believe you just put them on the team. You have to be ready. The message that we’ve talked to these players is obviously, Rasmussen and Zadina were just here at our Development Camp, and the message to those players is that you have to come in and win a job. We’re going to give them every opportunity.”
He also wanted to remind people that just because certain players may not be on the Opening Night roster come October, it doesn’t mean they won’t be making the drive from Grand Rapids to Detroit shortly thereafter.
“These kids have to come in, there’s that fine line between just putting them on the team, what do they have to accomplish to just be put on the team, and what do they have to accomplish, what do they have to do to win a job. That’s what we’re going to judge as we get into training camp. Again, we’re going to end up with two or three kids on our team, two or three young players. Who are they going to be? We’re going to decide after we go to Traverse City for training camp and preseason and then we’ll sit down with Jeff Blashill a couple of days prior to the season start to get our Opening Day roster.
“If they don’t make the roster opening day, it doesn’t mean they’re not up two weeks later. I look at Anthony Mantha a year and a half ago, we sent him down and then he scored I think eight goals in 11 games to start the AHL season and we called him up in early to mid-November. Everybody obviously always focuses in on opening day but it’s a six-month season and lots happens. In order to crack the line-up opening day, they have to come in and grab it. We think we’re going to be in a position where we can put two or three guys on the team, if two young defensemen can make our team maybe we’ll carry eight defensemen, maybe we’ll go 13 and eight, maybe we’ll go 14 and seven, we want to get to training camp and watch and see what these players do.”