I’m bleary-eyed from an incredibly long first day of free agency, and my guts are still in flux as I continue to recover from my gallbladder surgery, but I stayed home from the World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth to cover the Wings news that would come our way today, and I’m glad I made that decision.
If I may offer a big of a roster projection:
My take on the Red Wings’ free agency moves is that it’s impossible to grade a team that’s not done. Steve Yzerman usually makes one of his rare media appearances after the Wings have made their Free Agency Day moves, and while he was probably watching the WJSS today, we haven’t heard hide nor hair from the Wings’ general manager yet.
That would be telling in itself, but NHL.com, CapFriendly and PuckPedia also all do fine jobs of summarizing fact that the Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins’ rosters are still works in progress (and yes, building both clubs’ rosters are the responsibility of the Detroit Red Wings’ management).
The Wings still have 6 restricted free agents of note to re-sign, in Tyler Bertuzzi (with trade rumblings still swirling around “Bert”), Filip Hronek, Adam Erne, Jakub Vrana, Givani Smith and Chase Pearson.
The fates of several NHL players who played for the Red Wings are still uncertain: Darren Helm, Valtteri Filppula, Bobby Ryan, Evgeny Svechnikov, and AHL’ers Turner Elson, Kevin Gibson and Hayden Verbeek are all unsigned and available as unrestricted free agents.
We already know that the Wings have lost the services of Luke Glendening (to Dallas), Jonathan Bernier (New Jersey), and at the “depth” level, Dominic Turgeon, Joe Hicketts (both to Minnesota), Dylan McIlrath (Washington) and Alex Biega (Toronto), all as unrestricted free agents;
But the long story long is that the Wings have 8 forwards signed, 7 defensemen signed (including Moritz Seider), and 3 goalies in Nedeljkovic, Greiss and Pickard.
At the AHL level, there’s a bare-bones Grand Rapids Griffins roster but a glance at CapFriendly or PuckPedia will display a painfully young depth chart’s worth of prospects, and the Wings are going to need more veteran bodies to round out their AHL team.
I fully believe in “running lean” and giving “the kids” as much rope as they can take to make ’em or break ’em, but the management group isn’t going to let “the kids” twist in the wind.
Again, long story long, Wings fans will have to wait until at least the end of Thursday to see where several “fan favorites” end up–both as restricted free agent re-signings and unrestricted free agents–and the roster needs more filling out before we can determine how Yzerman and company “did” during the offseason.
Once Steve Yzerman speaks to the media–and there’s a good chance that he will on Thursday as there are no practices at the World Junior Summer Showcase–we’ll probably have a better idea of what the 2021-2022 Red Wings’ roster will look like, as well as where Helm, Filppula, Ryan and Svechnikov will end up.
We need to know at least most of those things before the captain of the ship gives us the state of the franchise.