MLive’s Ansar Khan discusses the battle for jobs on the Red Wings’ roster this upcoming season, and he specifically discusses coach Jeff Blashill’s takes on Lucas Raymond’s chances of beating out someone for a top-six role…
“You should walk out of games and feel like he was one of the better players on the ice,” Blashill said. “It shouldn’t be a hard decision. If guys are equal, then you keep your depth by starting a guy like Lucas Raymond in the minors and letting him earn his way back on the team. Guys that are trying to grab jobs, you can’t be just as good as the other guy, you got to be way better. Ultimately, I think he’s a guy who can really be an elite power-play guy. So, help our power play look elite when he’s out there. Have the puck on his stick a good amount. Find a way to have the puck more either by going to get it yourself, or by making sure you’re facilitating and getting yourself open.”
Joe Veleno’s chances of earning a third or fourth-line spot ahead of Mitchell Stephens or possibly Bobby Ryan…
“If he ends up a much better player than some of those guys we foresee in those spots and we can find him a spot in the top nine then it’s a discussion,” Blashill said. “The discussion for fourth-line center, we’d have to (determine) what’s best for Joe Veleno. Is he a little better than another guy? Is that the best thing for our organization and the best thing for him in terms of development? Those are talks Steve (general manager Yzerman) and I will have as we go through exhibition season. He just needs to make a statement every time he’s on the ice that he’s going to make us better.”
And Moritz Seider’s learning curve:
“When he gets the puck, he’s really good. When he’s engaged with a player, he’s really good,” Blashill said. “It’s without the puck that he’s got to make sure offensively he knows what he’s going to do with it before he gets it. He’s got great poise and size, so he draws people to him and makes plays but sometimes the right play is to just move it right away. Let’s play fast, let’s get it moving and then you jump into the play.
“Defensively, when he’s engaged in people, he’s a really good defender but you have to work and think ahead so that you’re in the proper position to have really good gaps so you can get engaged in that guy quicker. I just think it’s without the puck, and those issues are just learning things for young defensemen.”