MLive’s Ansar Khan filed a mailbag article this morning, and, among his questions and answers are the following notes:
Q: Seems like most of the roster spots are decided even before camp. Is there someone who might surprise in camp and steal a job from a veteran, other than maybe (Joe) Veleno? I’m thinking either (Lucas) Raymond or (Jonatan) Berggren. What are their chances? – C.J.
A: On defense, their top eight is set (Danny DeKeyser, Filip Hronek, Nick Leddy, Gustav Lindstrom, Jordan Oesterle, Moritz Seider, Marc Staal and Troy Stecher), so their goaltending (Thomas Greiss and Alex Nedeljkovic).
There could be an opportunity at forward for a waiver-exempt player to step up and grab a job with an impressive camp and preseason.
Veleno might be in the best position based on his experience, which includes a five-game stint in Detroit at the end of the season. But Mitchell Stephens might have the best chance to emerge from the preseason as the fourth-line center.
Berggren, selected only three spots after Veleno in 2018, is someone to keep an eye on. He had a breakout season in Sweden’s top men’s league (12 goals, 33 assists in 49 games for Skelleftea). His speed and offensive ability could provide a spark if there is an opening at wing on one of the top three lines.
Berggren, 21, is two years older than Raymond and further along in his development. Raymond missed a significant chunk of the season with Frolunda due to elbow surgery and likely will need development time in Grand Rapids, as will Berggren in all likelihood.