Three Things: On the Wings’ lineup, holes therein, top 100 players…and the taxi squad

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

  1. WDIV’s Dave Bartkowiak Jr. posted his weekly Red Wings report, and he offered an interesting “best guess” at the Red Wings’ probable opening night roster. It assumes that a couple of players who are currently “unavailable to play” get healthy, quick:


Line 1 — LW Tyler Bertuzzi | C Dylan Larkin | RW Anthony Mantha

Line 2 — LW Filip Zadina | C Robby Fabbri* | RW Bobby Ryan

Line 3 — LW Vladislav Namestnikov | C Valtteri Filppula | RW Sam Gagner

Line 4 — LW Darren Helm | C Luke Glendening | RW Adam Erne

*I am excited to see Fabbri at center, the position at which he came into the league. He took 67 faceoffs last season with a 40.3% faceoff winning percentage, for what it’s worth.


D1 — Dan DeKeyser | Filip Hronek

D2 — Marc Staal | Patrik Nemeth

D3 — Jon Merrill | Troy Stetcher


Thomas Greiss

Jonathan Bernier

Bartkowiak’s report continues

2. I can only roll my eyes at Down Goes Brown’s (a.k.a. Sean McIndoe) prediction as to where the Red Wings will finish–as a “bottom-feeder”–mostly because he buys into the theory that the Red Wings are still built to stink:

Detroit Red Wings

Last season: Look let’s not even talk about it.

Their offseason in one sentence: They found a goalie and enough talent around the lineup that they may have improved more than any other team.

Why they’re here: The Red Wings improving in the offseason is like me getting a haircut and some clean clothes that don’t have holes in them — it’s an upgrade, sure, but it doesn’t make me a supermodel. The Wings are bad, mostly by design at this point, and unless Thomas Griess has a miracle in him, none of those additions will change that. It’s a rebuild. Detroit fans know the deal.

3. I can happily report that both Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha cracked The Athletic’s Craig Custance and Dom Luszczyszyn’s Top 100 players list;

4 (bonus!). And TSN posted an Associated Press article which discusses the value of the “Taxi Squad” upon NHL teams attempting to navigate the coronavirus during their 2020-2021 seasons, and the article includes this quote from Valtteri Filppula:

Hockey has had a similar group of players in the playoffs, referring to them as “Black Aces,” a 19th century poker term brought into hockey by Hall of Famer Eddie Shore 90 years ago.

In the postseason, though, “Black Aces,” are generally prospects just happy to be around the NHL club after their minor league seasons end.

In this pandemic-altered season, those same young players may grow tired of being relegated to practicing while their peers are gaining experience playing in the minors.

Detroit Red Wings forward Valtteri Filppula fondly recalls his 74-game run with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins 15 years ago before moving up to play in the world’s top hockey league.

“I felt fortunate getting sent down, getting to play and play in a lot of situations in all the games,” the 36-year-old Finn said. “It depends how old you are. But for everybody, it’s good to play games and not just practice.”

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.