Final Cuts

With last night’s win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Red Wings ended their North American exhibition season. They play one more pre-season game against Farjestads on Wednesday, in Sweden, before opening the regular season with a pair of games against the Blues in Stockholm.

Immediately following the Penguins game, the final cuts were made and the team that will be traveling to Sweden was set.

With the injuries to Andreas Lilja and Darren Helm, a spot was available for Justin Abdelkader to slide into. Lilja has been added to long-term injured reserve, and Darren Helm is on short-term injured reserve. Both will travel with the team, neither will play.

In addition to the goaltending duo of Chris Osgood and Jimmy Howard, the Red Wings are allowed to bring a third goaltender overseas, in case of an emergency. It’s my understanding that Daniel Larsson will not count against the cap, or the roster limit, and may only be activated if another roster player has been deactivated – which, presumably, would be the injured goaltender necessitating Larsson.


Your 2009-10 Detroit Red Wings:

Johan Franzen — Pavel Datsyuk — Tomas Holmstrom
Todd Bertuzzi — Henrik Zetterberg — Dan Cleary
Ville Leino — Valtteri Filppula — Jason Williams
Kris Draper — Darren Helm (+)/Justin Abdelkader — Patrick Eaves
Kirk Maltby

Nicklas Lidstrom — Brian Rafalski
Niklas Kronwall — Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson — Andreas Lilja(+)/Brett Lebda
Derek Meech

Chris Osgood
Jimmy Howard
[Daniel Larsson]

Ryan Oulahen, Dick Axelsson, Cory Emmerton, and Gleason Fournier remain with the team in name only, as you’re not allowed to “cut” or demote injured players. Expect the first three to be assigned to the Griffins as soon as they’re able to be, with Fournier headed back to Rimouski of the Q.
In related news, all the players that were put on waivers cleared and have been assigned to Grand Rapids. Those players were defensemen Andy Delmore and Doug Janik, along with forwards Evan McGrath, Jeremy Williams, and Kris Newbury. Congratulations to McGrath and Williams on going through waivers for the first time!
It remains to be see what will become of Tomas Tatar for this season. The newly signed 18-year-old may play in Grand Rapids, or be assigned to the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL, where everyone expects him to blow the roof off of Juniors.
As it stands, the Griffins look a little something like this:
Mattias Ritola — Justin Abdelkader (DET) — Jeremy Williams
Kris Newbury — Evan McGrath — Johan Ryno/Tomas Tatar
Dick Axelsson — Francis Pare — John Vigilante (GR ONLY)
Jamie Tardiff — Cory Emmerton (+) — Jan Mursak/Ryan Oulahen
[Walsh-GR ONLY]
Jakub Kindl — Doug Janik
Andy Delmore — Sergei Kolosov
Logan Pyett — Sebastien Piche
Travis Ehrhardt/[DaCosta/Peterson-GR ONLY]
Larsson (DET)
**Brad May will be joining the team on a professional tryout soon. A decision will be made about offering him a contract when the Red Wings return to North America.

Well, that was fast…

Just as I posted about the recent Red Wings cuts, more were announced.

Kris Newbury – recent Toronto Maple Leafs signee has been placed on waivers with the intention of sending him to Grand Rapids.
Jeremy Williams – ditto. Even the Maple Leafs part.
Evan McGrath – placed on waivers with the intention of sending him to Grand Rapids.
Andy Delmore – placed on waivers with the intention of sending him to Grand Rapids.
Doug Janik – placed on waivers with the intention of sending him to Grand Rapids.
Johan Ryno – assigned to Grand Rapids.
Cory Emmerton – assigned to Grand Rapids.
Logan Pyett – assigned to Grand Rapids.

This is what it looks like:

Johan Franzen — Pavel Datsyuk — Tomas Holmstrom
Todd Bertuzzi — Henrik Zetterberg (+) — Dan Cleary
Ville Leino — Valtteri Filppula — Jason Williams
Kris Draper — Darren Helm (+) — Patrick Eaves
Kirk Maltby — Justin Abdelkader — *Brad May
Mattias Ritola — Francis Pare — Jan Mursak
Dick Axelsson — Ryan Oulahen (+)
Nicklas Lidstrom — Brian Rafalski
Niklas Kronwall — Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson — Andreas Lilja (+)
Brett Lebda — Derek Meech
Jakub Kindl
Chris Osgood
Jimmy Howard
Daniel Larsson
Thomas McCollum

More Cuts

Yesterday, the Red Wings made their second round of training camp cuts, assigning five players to Grand Rapids, and releases three others from their tryouts. Today, the club continued their sweep by assigning a sixth player to the Griffins, leaving the total number of players in training camp (including injured players and new tryout Brad May) at 41.

The players the Red Wings sent West were as follows:

Tomas Tatar — an 18-year-old draft pick that turned heads at prospect camp, and main camp. He was signed to a contract way ahead of what the Red Wings usually do with their prospects, but in signing with the big club, he was able to void his contract in Slovakia. Thus, the Wings have more control over his development, by either sticking him in Grand Rapids – or allowing him to play Junior with the Plymouth Whalers, who own his OHL rights.

Sergei Kolosov — a second-year pro that many were hoping would become call-up material this season, playing behind Jakub Kindl in Grand Rapids. He only got into one pre-season game with the Wings, so perhaps they feel he’s a bit further away than the fans had hoped.

Jamie Tardif — became an immediate fan favorite, scoring a goal in the pre-season opener and also dropping the gloves in the winning effort. He got into one more exhibition game, but the fact is he’s got a long climb up the depth chart to even begin thinking about being called up by the Red Wings. That’s not to say that he’ll never get there, but he’s certainly got a long journey ahead of him.

Sebastien Piche — a defenseman who was signed late last season, and didn’t get into any pre-season games. He was a big scorer (for a blueliner) in Junior, and one would hope he gets a good chance to play important minutes for the Griffs.

Travis Ehrhardt — signed as a free agent after the prospect tournament, he – like Piche – did not get into any exhibition games, and will benefit greatly by playing in Grand Rapids – assuming he gets into the lineup.

Dan Cloutier — the infamous goaltender played his half-game admirably, surprising many. He didn’t earn a contract with the Red Wings, but he should feel good about his effort and we wish him well. Although, Kris at Snipe Snipe Dangle Dangle thinks this is all part of Kenny Holland’s master plan. I think she’s giving away too much of the plan, but hey…

John Vigilante — the coolest name left at camp was also released from his tryout. He’s already on contract with the Grand Rapids Griffins, so the former Plymouth Whaler will be nearby.

Francis Lemieux — he’s been a Griffin in the recent past, was in Red Wings training camp as a tryout, and still does not have a contract, though I wouldn’t rule out pen-to-paper with the Griffins soon.

Jordan Pearce — the former Notre Dame goaltender didn’t get into any pre-season action, and looks to have lost the battle to be the Griffins backup to Thomas McCollum. He’s been sent to Grand Rapids for now, but may find himself in Toledo in a few weeks.

The players remaining in camp are:

Johan Franzen — Pavel Datsyuk — Tomas Holmstrom
Todd Bertuzzi — Henrik Zetterberg (+) — Dan Cleary
Ville Leino — Valtteri Filppula — Jason Williams
Kris Draper — Darren Helm (+) — Patrick Eaves
Kirk Maltby — Justin Abdelkader — *Brad May
Kris Newbury — Johan Ryno — Jeremy Williams
Mattias Ritola — Cory Emmerton — Jan Mursak
Dick Axelsson — Evan McGrath — Francis Pare
Ryan Oulahen (+)

Nicklas Lidstrom — Brian Rafalski
Niklas Kronwall — Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson — Andreas Lilja (+)
Brett Lebda — Derek Meech
Jakub Kindl — Andy Delmore
Doug Janik — Logan Pyett

Chris Osgood
Jimmy Howard
Daniel Larsson
Thomas McCollum

Dollars to donuts, the next players to go are going to be Logan Pyett, Jan Mursak, Dick Axelsson and Frankie Pare. You heard it here first!

Photo Credit: Scott Galvin, U-M Photo Services

Red Wings lineup for Pre-Season Game 6

Friday night, the Red Wings will take on the Maple Leafs in the first half of a home-and-home. They’ll be icing mostly regulars, with a complement of call-ups. Or, as Red Wings fans call it, February.

The expected lineup:

Johan Franzen — Pavel Datsyuk — Tomas Holmstrom
Todd Bertuzzi — Valtteri Filppula — Dan Cleary
Kris Draper — Justin Abdelkader — Mattias Ritola
Brad May — Kris Newbury — Francis Pare

Nicklas Lidstrom — Brian Rafalski
Niklas Kronwall — Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson — Brett Lebda

Chris Osgood
Jimmy Howard


1. That back-end and goaltending tandem looks an awful lot like what you should expect on October 2nd.

2. Justin Abdelkader is officially the Red Wings Pre-Season Iron Man – having suited up for all six.

3. Recent try-out addition Brad May will be in the lineup right away, and might make things interesting.

4. Dan Cleary makes his return to the lineup after catching the groin injury bug last week.

5. There are seven players who – after this game – will not have suited up for the Red Wings, yet remain on the roster. Most of those are due to injury (Zetterberg, Lilja, Helm, Oulahen), but Sebastien Piche, Dick Axelsson and Jordan Pearce might just be getting the snub.

6. Doug Janik has played in one pre-season game. What’s that about? Ditto Jan Mursak, Logan Pyett, and Evan McGrath.

7. Of the “regulars,” only Jonathan Ericsson has dressed more than four times – presumably to get him in the groove and ready to play 82. The Red Wings playing in four are Nick Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Derek Meech, Brett Lebda, Brian Rafalski, Kris Draper, Johan Franzen, and Tomas Holmstrom.

8. Playing the fewest: Cleary, Kirk Maltby, and Jason Williams – all with 2. Cleary and Williams have battled injuries, should we assume Kirk Maltby has as well, or is he getting ready for his slot in the 13-hole?

9. Aside from Justin Abdelkader, who has dressed in all of the games so far, Kris Newbury and Mattias Ritola lead the call-up brigade, with five games each.

Lineup for Pre-Season Game #4

Dan Cloutier is expected to split duties with Daniel Larsson tonight against the Rangers, leaving four players still on the roster who have yet to suit up in an exhibition game (Pearce, Axelsson, Piche, Kolosov). I’m beginning to wonder if these guys are injured because for what other reason would surefire Griffins Kolosov and Axelsson be held out?

The expected lineup, per Khan:

Johan Franzen — Pavel Datsyuk — Tomas Holmstrom
Ville Leino — Valtteri Filppula — Mattias Ritola
Johan Ryno — Cory Emmerton — Kirk Maltby
Kris Newbury — Justin Abdelkader — Tomas Tatar

Kronwall — Stuart
Meech — Ericsson
Kindl — Delmore

Larsson / Cloutier

Tatar gets a second straight look, with Kindl and Abdelkader going four-for-four in the pre-season so far.

Red Wings sign Tatar and Coetzee

Early favorite for a nickname: Tots

It was a busy day for the Red Wings, first announcing that they had signed 2009 second round pick Tomas Tatar, followed by inking training camp tryout Willie Coetzee.

Tatar had a wonderful prospect camp, followed by a strong main camp. Ansar Khan broke the news:

The Red Wings have agreed to terms on a three-year contract with forward Tomas Tatar, their second pick in this year’s entry draft.

Tatar, 18, had a terrific prospects tournament and training camp and will continue to practice with the team, likely getting into a preseason game or two, before the Red Wings decide where to put him this season.

Since the Wings drafted him 60th overall, Tatar has been vocal about his desire to stay in North America this season, despite having another year on a contract from Zvolen of the Slovak Extraliga. Evidently, that contract contained an out clause, allowing his to void the final year if he were to sign an NHL contract.

Earlier in the summer, he was drafted by the Kitchener Rangers in the OHL Import Draft before being traded to the Plymouth Whalers. His new contract gives the Red Wings control of his immediate destiny: if he performs well enough to warrant going pro right away, he’ll be a Griffin. If the Wings decide he could benefit from being a triple-digit point producer in Juniors, they’ll tuck him away in Plymouth. If he was to be sent to the OHL before playing in ten games, the clock on his contract will not begin ticking. The deal is for three years.

Red Wings General Manager/Demigod Ken Holland has said Tatar definitely has a chance to play with the Griffins this season. Per the Detroit News:

“We want him to play in North America,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “He had an out in his contract in Slovakia if he signs a contract over here. We think we can do a better job of controlling his development over here. Grand Rapids (AHL) or Plymouth (OHL) are the two options. We’re going to give him every opportunity to earn a spot in Grand Rapids.”

Later in the day, it was learned that Willie Coetzee was also signed to a three-year, entry level deal. Teammates with Red Wings draft pick Landon Ferraro, Coetzee was invited to prospect camp, and stuck around for a few days in regular camp. But, the Wings obviously liked what they saw, and made sure Willie put pen to paper.

The Red Deer Scene, the same publication that broke the “Coetzee to Wings Camp” story in July, has the news:

After an impressive prospects tournament, Coetzee was off to main camp, along with Rebels teammate Landon Ferraro.

How did he fare? Well after today, the answer is pretty obvious. The undrafted product of Maple Ridge B.C. is the proud owner of a brand new three year entry level NHL contract.

Coetzee is probably not headed to Grand Rapids, and will benefit from another season or two in Juniors. His contract will not begin until he begins playing for the Griffins.

Photo Credit: Dave Reginek, Getty Images

Lineup for Pre-Season Game #2

Todd Bertuzzi — Justin Abdelkader — Dan Cleary
Ville Leino — Valtteri Filppula — Jason Williams
Francis Pare — Cory Emmerton — Kirk Maltby
Mattias Ritola — Evan McGrath — Jan Mursak

Niklas Kronwall — Doug Janik
Brett Lebda — Brad Stuart
Derek Meech — Jakub Kindl

Chris Osgood
Thomas McCollum

*Henrik Zetterberg was slated to go, but is going to be a scratch again, due to the nagging groin injury. Looks like a great opportunity to get some guys in the lineup that fans are aching to see, like newly signed Tomas Tatar or Dick Axelsson.

Things to watch for:

1. I can’t wait to see how Tomas McCollum fares in his first taste of NHL action. I had him pegged as the goalie of the future in the Red Wings Roundtable, and this will be a nice mini-test.

2. Meech and Kindl are each playing in their second pre-season game. Besides the injured Andreas Lilja, there are two defensemen left on the training camp roster who have not been in the lineup (Sebastien Piche and Sergei Kolosov).

3. Justin Abdelkader, Mattias Ritola, and Cory Emmerton all playing in their second game of the pre-season, as well. Remaining players who have not been in the linup yet: Jordan Pearce, Dick Axelsson, Tomas Tatar, and tryouts John Vigilante, Francis Lemieux, and Dan Cloutier.

4. This is the first look we’ll get at the new third line, which has been turning heads in camp.

And here…we…go…

Give em hell, Gator.

I’m a little late to this party, and some of the following things to watch have been mentioned by our friends at Nightmare on Helm Street, but the roster has been set for tonight’s pre-season game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Per Khan:

Johan Franzen — Pavel Datsyuk — Tomas Holmstrom
Kris Draper — Justin Abdelkader — Patrick Eaves
Mattias Ritola — Kris Newbury — Jan Mursak*
Johan Ryno — Cory Emmerton — Jeremy Williams
*Jan Mursak was a late scratch. He was replaced by Jamie Tardif.

Nicklas Lidstrom — Jakub Kindl
Derek Meech — Brian Rafalski
Jonathan Ericsson — Andy Delmore

Jimmy Howard
Daniel Larsson

Yeah, it’s just the pre-season, but there is plenty at stake. Things to keep in mind:

1. It should be interesting to see how that new top line clicks.

2. Justin Abdelkader is the assumed replacement until Darren Helm can get back into the lineup, but it’s clear that there’s a battle for fourth line minutes once the regular season starts. Maltby, Helm, Draper, and Eaves have been the de-facto guys at the bottom of the roster on everyone’s depth chart, but there are whispers that Kris Newbury and Jeremy Williams might make themselves factors. We’ll see about that…

3. Speaking of Abdelkader, this is his best shot to make it difficult for the Wings to demote him…

4. Speaking of EAVES, this is our first chance to see where his confidence is and how wearing the winged wheel will boost it.

5. Mattias Ritola is expected to get some calls during the season, so I assume they’ll be giving him a good look.

6. Ryno is beginning to ascent back up the depth chart, after nearly making the team a few seasons ago.

7. Jan Mursak disappointed last season in Grand Rapids. He’s got a long climb ahead of him, but a good showing in pre-season could go a long way.

8. What does it say about Jakub Kindl if Uncle Mike is pairing him with Nick Lidstrom? Even just for the pre-season? They expect huge things from him in the future.

9. Mike Mouat of the Detroit Examiner claimed there might be a spot on the team for Andy Delmore – in lieu of Derek Meech. I’m not so sure, but no one can argue they won’t be watched shift-by-shift tonight. Important time for Meech.

10. Make no mistake: the goaltending should be the focus tonight. Howard and Larsson are set to split time this evening and exactly zero people are excited about Jimmy Howard. I feel like Daniel Larsson could position himself to make the Red Wings think twice about their goaltending situation heading into the season. And you heard it here first: I think Daniel Larsson gets in one of the Sweden games to open the regular season. Just sayin’…

Photo Credit: AP

First Cuts!

**CORRECTION** Gleason Fournier has also been cut, according to John Hahn, Senior Director of Communication for the Detroit Red Wings.

The first cuts were made from the Training Camp Roster, leaving 50 by my count – a figure that includes the injured Andreas Lilja, Darren Helm, Ryan Oulahen. Players may not be cut while injured, per NHLPA rules.

The players leaving the Wings include and all but one prospect that has Junior eligibility:

49 Brian Lashoff – who by many accounts was the best defenseman at prospect camp. He is being returned to the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL.
54 Gleason Fournier – returned to the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL.
56 Andrej Nestrasil – returned to the Victoriaville Tigres of the QMJHL.
57 Landon Ferraro – returned to Red Deer Rebels of the WHL.
62 Brent Raedeke – may be the next captain of the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL.
71 Stephen Johnston – returned to the Belleville Bulls of the OHL.
73 Mitchell Callahan – returned to the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL.
Tomas Tatar is the final Junior-bound player remaining at camp. At least, the Wings hope he’s Junior-bound. His Slovakia team may have something to say about that.
The tryouts who were cut are:
65 Austin Fyten
66 Chris Whitley (thanks, Dan Cloutier!)
70 Willie Coetzee