The Athletic’s Luszczyszyn suggests that the Red Wings have improved significantly this offseason

The Athletic’s Dom Luszczyszyn posted an article discussing the NHL teams that have improved the most and least during the 2020-2021 offseason (based on a statistical model), and he gives the Red Wings solid praise for their offseason moves…mostly…

Detroit Red Wings

Wins Added: 5.9 wins

Salary Added: $14.9 million

In: Marc Staal, Thomas Greiss, Vladislav Namestnikov, Troy Stecher, Bobby Ryan, Jon Merrill

Out: Jonathan Ericsson, Justin Abdelkader, Jimmy Howard, Trevor Daley, Madison Bowey, Christoffer Ehn

The worst team in hockey has only one way to go next season: up. That’s especially true with the offseason they had. No, they didn’t sign any big names that moved the needle — but they did replace serious drags with actual NHL calibre talent. Every player on the way out was a negative value player last season, worth a combined minus-4.6 wins. That’s where most of the team’s added value comes from: addition by subtraction. 

Aside from Marc Staal, who is comparable in value to the players on the way out, everyone else is projected to bring positive value. It may be small, but at least it’s on the right side of the ledger and not actively hurting the team. It may not make sense for a bad team like Detroit to sign all these players, but it helps create a less toxic environment of losing. There’s a difference between playing at a 45-point pace and one closer to 70. It still sucks but it’s a lot less demoralizing. 

Continued (paywall); yes, we are at the point where “there’s some hope” is about the best situation one could ask for at this stage of the Wings’ rebuild.

ESPN’s Kaplan, Wyshynski give Red Wings a solid grade for offseason moves

In an article for ESPN+, Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski dole out offseason grades for each and every one of the NHL’s 31 teams, and they give the Red Wings relatively high marks for Steve Yzerman’s aggressive offseason moves:

Smartest move: Signing Jon Merrill. The former Golden Knights defenseman was effective when given the opportunity to play and is a bargain at $825,000 for one year. This will be his eighth season in the NHL. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s as sheltered as he was in Vegas, getting the vast majority of his starts in the offensive zone, or if they use him in a larger variety of situations. Merrill is a promising pickup and an improvement over what was there.

Questionable move: Signing Thomas Greiss. If the baseline test for this signing is whether Greiss is better than Howard, then the test is already passed. But Greiss is 34 years old and coming off a down season on a great defensive team (only 4.6 goals saved above average). The money isn’t an issue — $3.6 million against the cap for a team with tons of space — but what version of Greiss did the team sign?

Continue reading ESPN’s Kaplan, Wyshynski give Red Wings a solid grade for offseason moves

Khan ponders whether Red Wings will buy out Frans Nielsen

The moment that Tyler Bertuzzi filed for salary arbitration, the Red Wings received two benefits as an organization: first, Bertuzzi was made exempt from restricted free agent offer sheets, and second, Bertuzzi’s filing for arbitration opened up a 48-hour window in which the Wings will be able to buy out another player’s contract.

There’s been significant speculation that the Red Wings will buy out Frans Nielsen with 2 years remaining on his contract to both open up a roster spot for younger players and to simply rid themselves of an underachieving forward, and CapFriendly has a buyout calculator, so you can peek under the hood of what would be a relatively costly buyout.

In a subscriber-only article, MLive’s Ansar Khan suggests that, despite the roster ramifications of keeping another forward on a crowded roster, the Wings ought to keep Nielsen on for at least one more season:

There are reasons why the Red Wings would want to keep Nielsen.

Nielsen can meet one of the Red Wings’ two exposure requirements at forward for the 2021 Seattle expansion draft (teams must expose two forwards under contract for 2021-22 who played 40 games in 2020-21 or 70 games combined the previous two seasons – a figure that might be adjusted depending on the length of next season’s schedule).

The Kraken would not claim Nielsen, but this might enable the Red Wings to protect a forward they might otherwise be forced to expose.

Nielsen could also provide depth if they experience multiple injuries and when they inevitably move some forwards at the trade deadline for draft picks.

Continued (paywall); my gut feeling is that the Wings won’t buy out Nielsen, but that’s my guess.

Wings coach Jeff Blashill will MC a Ferris State University charity event (virtually)

Per Ferris State University:

Ferris State University alumnus and Detroit Red Wings Head Coach Jeff Blashill will serve as the master of ceremonies for The Ferris Foundation for Excellence Benefit, a virtual celebration set for introduction during the first week of November via social media.

Kim Erickson, the administrative assistant for The Ferris Foundation, said that with the 2020 Benefit being conducted virtually, rather than the typical large-venue gathering, Associate Vice President for External Relations Jeremy Mishler suggested Blashill as the event’s master of ceremonies. The schedules matched. The National Hockey League’s 2019-20 season concluded on Monday, Sept. 28. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said he expects the 2020-21 season to begin on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021.

“We were glad to have Jeff Blashill’s contribution of time and talent to this event,” Erickson said of Blashill, a 1998 graduate of Ferris’ College of Business and a former Bulldog goaltender and assistant coach. “Our videographer Hannah Crouch joined Jeremy in a visit to Detroit to gather Jeff’s segments. Having his support would be next to impossible for a typical Foundation Benefit, because of his obligations to the Red Wings and the demands of their schedule.”

Associate Vice President for Advancement and Executive Director of The Ferris Foundation Bob Murray said emeriti Foundation Board member Stephanie Leonardos, a member of the university’s “Now and Always” campaign cabinet, and Board of Trustee member Kurt Hofman, chair of The Ferris Foundation Board of Directors, will be among the people to join President David Eisler in presenting the Benefit’s virtual program.


Kulfan profiles Kienan Draper

The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan penned a profile of Kienan Draper this evening, noting that the Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL) forward is taking the college route to what he hopes will be a professional hockey career:

“I’m very driven,” said Kienan, who’ll play at Miami (Ohio) next year. “I want to make it a reality to be able to put that sweater on and wear the winged wheel. It’s something I’ve been dreaming of since I was 4 or 5 years old. So, now that step one has been done and completed, I’m ready to keep working hard and make it come true.”

The entire scenario of Draper drafting Draper was discussed and analyzed by general manager Steve Yzerman and Kris Draper.

There have been numerous other instances, either in the NHL or other pro sports leagues, of sons getting drafted by teams their fathers were part of, worked for or played on. It can be a ticklish situation.

“A couple of scouts, one in Ontario who followed Kienan at St. Andrew’s College (in Aurora, Ontario) last year and one of our scouts in the West who was following him in Chilliwack, they were pushing pretty hard (to draft Draper),” Yzerman said. “Kris and I had a brief conversation about it recently and initially I said, ‘Are you sure you want to put your son in that position?’

“Then, ultimately, my answer to him was, ‘Your obligation is to do whatever is the right thing for the Detroit Red Wings and I trust your judgement.’ And I know that he did that.”


Regarding ‘Insider Trading’s’ AHL implications, and a via-A2Y note about extended training camp for non-playoff teams

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, Frank Seravalli and Gino Reda engaged in an intriguing episode of Insider Trading tonight on TSN, and LeBrun shared some details regarding points of emphasis at Friday’s upcoming GM’s meetings…

What is next season looking like? It’s been about three weeks since the Stanley Cup was handed out and we have as much clarity on next season then as we do now. Has there been any progress?   

LeBrun: Well, what I can tell you is that the NHL and NHLPA joint committee — which has been tasked with the return to play — they haven’t met yet. It’s not because they’re not working. The league internally is gathering intel from its clubs and eventually this joint committee is going to meet. There’s going to be about 10 players on this joint committee. In the meantime, there’s an NHL general managers meeting on Friday. It’s the first official GMs meeting really since Boca Raton in March, although the GMs have met on calls, especially in the spring time after COVID-19 shut down the regular season.

This is an important GMs meeting. I mean, one key item? The American Hockey League. NHL GMs want to know what they’re going to do with their prospects as they await when the AHL season is going to begin. Now, I spoke with AHL president Scott Howson, who says that while Dec. 4 remains the target date to start the AHL season, that’s likely going to be pushed back to mirror some of what the NHL is going to do. But I can tell you this: There are some NHL GMs that want their prospects playing as soon as possible, so that’s going to be an interesting conversation on Friday.

One last note, the seven teams that did not participate in the Return to Play this past summer? They’re going to get some good news. They’ve asked for some extra training camp time and I’m told that the NHL and NHLPA have tentatively agreed that those teams could have extra training camp time ahead of the normal training camps, whenever that is next season.

LeBrun expanded upon his points in a column for The Athletic…

Continue reading Regarding ‘Insider Trading’s’ AHL implications, and a via-A2Y note about extended training camp for non-playoff teams

Roughly translated: Zetterberg and Kronwall were in the stands at Frolunda-Malmo today. Raymond and Veleno were well aware of it.

Red Wings prospects Lucas Raymond and Joe Veleno faced off today as Raymond’s Frolunda Indians hosted Veleno’s Malmo Redhawks, and Frolunda won 6-2 despite a slick goal from Veleno.

While Raymond (as well as prospect teammates Elmer Soderblom and Theodor Niederbach) and Veleno got top billing on the ice, two members of the Red Wings’ organization made an appearance in the stands:

Both Raymond, Veleno and the aforementioned understudies in Soderblom and Niederbach were well aware of their famous onlookers, as they told’s Mattias Persson. What follows is roughly translated from Swedish:

Continue reading Roughly translated: Zetterberg and Kronwall were in the stands at Frolunda-Malmo today. Raymond and Veleno were well aware of it.

Prospect round-up: a .gif-tastic day as Veleno scores for Malmo in loss to Raymond and Frolunda

Of prospect-related note:

In the SHL, today’s game between Joe Veleno’s Malmo Redhawks and Lucas Raymond’s Frolunda Indians had a copule of special guests: Elmer Soderblom and Theodor Niederbach made their 2019-2020 season debuts for Frolunda’s men’s team, and these two were in the house as well:

Finbesök på läktaren! Henrik Zetterberg och Niklas Kronwall 👋#twittpuck— C More Sport (@cmoresport) October 20, 2020

Frolunda congratulated Niederbach on his SHL debut…

På isen i detta nu är Theodor Niederbach, som därmed gör tävlingsdebut i A-laget.— Frölunda Indians (@frolunda_hc) October 20, 2020

Soderblom dangled and deked (per Antonj85)…

Elmer Söderblom inne och snurrar. #SHL #FHC #DRW #LGRW— Anton (@antonj85) October 20, 2020

Veleno stepped up with an assist…

Eric Engstrand med sitt första SHL-mål i karriären 🔥#twittpuck @Malmo_Redhawks— C More Sport (@cmoresport) October 20, 2020

But Raymond got a secondary helper on this goal from Joel Lundqvist, putting the game away:

🚨 Joel Lundqvist – 2nd of the game PP
4-1 Frolunda— Here’s Your Replay ⬇️ (@TheReplayGuy) October 20, 2020

Joel Lundqvists 4:e mål i SHL 2020/21 assisteras av Jan Muršak (5) och Lucas Raymond (2).— Frölunda Indians (@frolunda_hc) October 20, 2020

Though Veleno made things interesting…

MÅL! @jveleno91 prickskjuter in reduceringen i krysset när Redhawks spelar fem mot fyra!#MIFFHC | 2-5— Malmö Redhawks (@Malmo_Redhawks) October 20, 2020

🚨 Joe Veleno PP
5-2 Frolunda— Here’s Your Replay ⬇️ (@TheReplayGuy) October 20, 2020

Klass! Veleno i det bortre krysset. #twittpuck @Malmo_Redhawks— C More Sport (@cmoresport) October 20, 2020

Ultimately, Frolunda won 6-2. For Frolunda, Raymond had an assist, 4 shots, and finished at even in 15:35 for Frolunda; Soderblom had 1 shot in 9:36 played; Niederbach, playing in his SHL debut, got 6 seconds of ice time; for Malmo, Veleno had a goal and an assist for 2 points, with 2 shots, a -1 and 15:58 played, winning 71% of his faceoffs;

Continue reading Prospect round-up: a .gif-tastic day as Veleno scores for Malmo in loss to Raymond and Frolunda

‘The Word on Woodward’s’ Bobby Ryan interview is a ‘great watch’

New Red Wings forward Bobby Ryan spoke with’s Art Regner today on “The Word on Woodward.” The interview starts at the 1:20 mark and goes for about 15 minutes, and Ryan is surprisingly forthright and up-front regarding his career trajectory while speaking with Regner. Give it a watch if you’re able to do so: