The Free Press’s Helene St. James posted a “training camp primer” this morning, discussing five pertinent topics to watch as the Wings prepare to open training camp on Friday, September 13th. Among her topics:
Prospects on deck: Where is forward Evgeny Svechnikov, 22, at? The team’s first round pick from 2015 was ticketed for Grand Rapids when he hurt a knee during a 2018 preseason game, leading him to miss all of last season (at least that translates to another year of being waiver exempt). Can he harness his energy into an NHL job? Forward Michael Rasmussen, 20, a first-round pick from 2017, was manhandled by opponents the second half of his rookie season and would have been in the minors had he been eligible. He’s likely to start the season in Grand Rapids.
Forward Filip Zadina, 19, the sixth overall pick in 2018, had an OK first year of pro hockey, spent mostly with Grand Rapids (16 goals, 19 assists in 59 AHL games, three points in nine NHL games), but he lacked a center who could get him the puck. It’ll be interesting to see if he gets some shifts with Dylan Larkin, or maybe there’s a fit on a line with Frans Nielsen and Andreas Athanasiou. If Zadina shows he can score, he should start the season in Detroit. If he starts in Grand Rapids, there’s a good chance he’ll play with Joe Veleno, the 30th pick in 2018, who has the skill set to set up Zadina.
Continued: the prospect tournament is a time for optimism and assessment of where the prospects are at in terms of playing in a competitive environment close to World Junior Championship standards, but how the players continue to progress during training camp and the exhibition season tells the tale…
And in the Red Wings’ case, I think that watching Zadina, Hirose and Veleno vying for spots on the roster will be matched in my interest with seeing what Svechnikov, whose career hit a “re-set” button due to his ACL injury, and Rasmussen, whose raw potential has been blunted by a rocky rookie season, fight their own fights to remain on the Wings’ team.