This morning, the Free Press’s Helene St. James ponders what the Red Wings’ 2020-2021 NHL season roster might look like, minus the players which will be added to the roster during the offseason (see: free agents and/or traded players). She predicts big changes on the Wings’ blueline:
On defense, I think Moritz Seider will be in the lineup on opening night. The 19-year-old defenseman is currently with his former team, Adler Mannheim in Germany, part of a group of Wings loaned to European teams until the NHL gives the go-ahead on camps. Seider did well playing for the Griffins last season, and would have been called up to play a few games had the pandemic not interfered. Danny DeKeyser or Patrik Nemeth can serve as his partner, with Filip Hronek completing the top four.
Gustav Lindstrom showed he can play a safe, dependable game. So did veteran Alex Biega, who Yzerman acquired last October in a trade with Vancouver, flipping underachieving prospect David Pope. Those are front-runners to form the third pair, though Madison Bowey, if he is re-signed, should challenge for one of the spots.
Dennis Cholowski started last season with the Wings but he didn’t make a strong impression and finished in the minors. His fate may be partially determined by whether minor leagues are operational, which they aren’t likely to be without fan attendance.
Continued; it’s my hope that the Red Wings don’t sign a significant number of free agents as I believe that it’s time for players like Seider, Lindstrom and even Cholowski (who may still be another year away from NHL readiness) to play regularly.
Whether that scenario plays out given the Wings’ probable signing of some sort of free agent defenseman is beyond me at this point;
In goal, the Wings obviously need a back-up, and it seems likely that the team will move on from Jimmy Howard;
Up front, St James also predicts a lean roster with minimal turnover, and I do find it interesting that she doesn’t believe the Wings will waive Justin Abdelkader if he has a rough training camp…
Overall, I’ll put it this way: the offseason will be very condensed, regardless of when the 2020-2021 season starts in December, January or at a later date (we are all running on the pandemic’s clock right now), so I’m expecting some surprises as the Wings attempt to navigate signing restricted free agents (see: Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi), the free agent marketplace, and the Wings attempt to build some roster depth in Grand Rapids, all between early October and the start of the season.
As I’ve suggested, I believe that the Wings should plain old walk away from RFA’s Adam Erne and Brendan Perlini, and not submitting qualifying offers to either restricted free agent would give the roster more flexibility going forward.