Detroit Red Wings: Expectations for Every Player at Training Camp

The Detroit Red Wings main training camp will start on Thursday, September 22, with 40 forwards, 21 defensemen, and eight goalies. The camp runs until Monday, September 26, and the preseason schedule begins the next day. The Red Wings will play eight preseason games in 12 days.

Let’s break these 69 players into four groupings to determine where each player is expected to start the season.

Expected to start in Detroit

Captain Dylan Larkin

Forwards (14 with one placed on IR)

  • Filip Zadina (RW/LW): Zadina will be 23 this November, and the time is now to follow through and become the offensive force predicted when he was drafted. After recently signing a three-year extension, the highly skilled winger is due for a breakout season.
  • Robby Fabbri (C/W): Fabbri signed a three-year extension that kicks in this season. According to Yzerman, he will start the year on the IR and will not be ready to play until mid-January. When he is healthy, Fabbri will play on the wing in the middle-six for the Red Wings.
  • Jakub Vrana (LW/RW): Vrana is healthy and should be ready to play a full season for the first time since his trade from Washington. Vrana has two years left on his current contract before becoming a UFA. He will play in the top-six forwards and should get plenty of time on the power play this year.
  • Andrew Copp (C/LW): Copp signed a five-year deal to play for his hometown team. He will likely play center with Jakub Vrana and David Perron to start the year. According to Yzerman, Copp is recovering from surgery and should be available to play games during the first week of the season. Copp adds depth and experience to an already lethal top-six forward unit.
  • Lucas Raymond (RW): Raymond had a terrific rookie season in the NHL last year. While playing all 82 games, he scored 23 goals and 57 points. He finished fourth in the Calder Memorial Trophy voting last year. Raymond will likely play on the top line with Larkin and Bertuzzi again this year.
  • Pius Suter (C/LW): The 26-year-old Suter will likely slide down to play on the third line with Filip Zadina and Dominik Kubalik. This line should be one of the top third lines in the league. Suter is playing for a contract extension as he will be a UFA at the end of this season.
  • Michael Rasmussen (C/LW): Rasmussen was one of the most improved forwards again last year. He might start the year in the bottom-six forwards but could move up and get plenty of power play time if he continues to develop.
  • David Perron (LW/RW): Perron is a veteran winger who can play anywhere in the lineup. Perron signed a two-year deal with Detroit and will add depth, experience, and scoring to the Red Wings lineup.
  • Tyler Bertuzzi (LW/RW): Bertuzzi had a terrific 30-goal season a year ago. He will likely play on the top line again with Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond this season. Bertuzzi can become a UFA at the end of the season. If he can’t agree on an extension by the trade deadline, look for Bertuzzi to be a part of a blockbuster trade next spring.
  • Oskar Sundqvist (C): Sundqvist was acquired at the deadline in the deal for Nick Leddy. He will likely add depth on the fourth line but will also probably be dealt at the trade deadline as he is a UFA next summer.
  • Dylan Larkin (C): Larkin led all Red Wings players in scoring a year ago. After a core muscle injury surgery, Larkin is healthy and would love nothing better than signing an extension with his hometown team. If Detroit and Larkin can’t agree on an extension, he will become a UFA next summer.
  • Adam Erne (LW/RW): Erne, 27, will likely be the first UFA domino to fall this year. With too many forwards signed to start the year, the impending UFA may not have a spot in the lineup once Fabbri returns after Christmas.
  • Dominik Kubalik (LW): Kubalik, 27, signed a two-year deal to play in Detroit. The former 30-goal scorer should bring a great deal of skill to the middle-six in Detroit.
  • Joe Veleno (C): The time is now for Veleno to play full-time in Detroit. He plays a 200-foot game and, with experience, will move up the depth chart in Detroit. Playing in the bottom six with Rasmussen and Sundqvist should give opponents fits because of their size and tenacity.

Defensemen (10 with two placed on IR)

  • Olli Maatta (LD): Maatta is a top-tier defenseman who will likely play in the top-four with Hronek. Maatta was only signed for one year and could be moved at the deadline if the Red Wings view one of their prospects ready for full-time NHL action.
  • Simon Edvinsson (LD): Edvinsson is the top defensive prospect in the Detroit system. He had an exceptional Prospects Tournament. Edvinsson will get plenty of playing time during the preseason. If he is deemed ready, Edvinsson will likely play on the opening night roster with Lindstrom. If he is not ready for NHL action, Edvinsson will start the year in Grand Rapids.
  • Ben Chiarot (LD): Chiarot is the gem of the summer defense signings. The defensive specialist will likely be on the top pairing with Seider. Chiarot signed a four-year contract with Detroit and should be an anchor on the Detroit blueline.
  • Filip Hronek (RD): The terrific play of Seider will continue to take some of the pressure off of Hronek. Hronek needs to continue to work on the defensive part of his game if he wants to remain in Detroit. Hronek will likely quarterback the second powerplay unit again this year.
  • Gustav Lindstrom (RD): The almost 24-year-old Lindstrom played 63 games for Detroit last year. He will again play on the bottom defensive unit and kill penalties for the Red Wings.
  • Robert Hagg (LD): Hagg was a late free agent signee for Detroit. He will make the opening night lineup and see action until the Red Wings deem the prospects ready for NHL action. Hagg will be lucky to make it through the deadline with Detroit, as he will be a UFA again next summer.
  • Mark Pysyk (RD): Pysyk signed a one-year contract with Detroit. He will start the year on the IR and, according to Yzerman, will not be ready to play games until mid-January. Pysyk will also be a UFA at the end of the season.
  • Moritz Seider (RD): Seider came to Detroit as advertised. He won the Calder Memorial Trophy and is one of the top defensemen in the NHL. This year, he will play in all situations as a second-year defenseman with the Red Wings.
  • Jordan Oesterle (LD): Oesterle will enter the season in a make-or-break situation. Last season, Oesterle played 45 games and was used on the bottom-pairing defensive unit. Oesterle will be a UFA at the end of the season and could be traded before the deadline.
  • Jake Walman (LD): Walman was traded to Detroit from St. Louis at the deadline last season. According to Yzerman, he will start the season on the IR and should be ready to play by mid-November. When healthy, he will bump someone from the lineup. Walman is in the final year of his current contract before he can become a UFA.

Goaltenders (2)

  • Ville Husso: Husso was traded from St. Louis before free agency started. He signed a three-year contract to play with Detroit. Husso was excellent in 40 games last year and should help solidify the goaltending situation with Alex Nedeljkovic.
  • Alex Nedeljkovic: Nedeljkovic had an up-and-down year a season ago in Detroit. He will share goaltending duties with Husso. Nedeljkovic will be playing for a contract extension, as he can be a UFA at the end of this season.

On the Bubble

Jonatan Berggren is likely headed back to Grand Rapids this year

Forwards (4)

  • Taro Hirose (LW/RW): Hirose would love nothing more than to start the year in Detroit. He has nothing left to prove in the AHL, but there aren’t any openings in the Red Wings roster. Hirose signed a two-year extension so that he can continue to play in the Red Wings organization.
  • Chase Pearson (C/LW): Now 25, Pearson got his feet wet playing three games for Detroit last year. Pearson needs an excellent preseason to have any chance of making Detroit. According to Yzerman, Pearson is out indefinitely due to personal reasons. When he resumes hockey activities, he will likely start the season in Grand Rapids and will be insurance should an injury occur amongst the Red Wings forwards this year. Pearson will need to clear waivers for the first time if he is sent to the AHL unless it is for conditioning purposes.
  • Givani Smith (RW/LW): Smith, 24, needs to prove that he is more than a fighter in the NHL. This is a make-or-break season for the young winger, as numerous prospects make their way into the lineups in Detroit and Grand Rapids.
  • Jonatan Berggren (LW/RW):  At 22 and after an excellent season in the AHL, Berggren should be a lock to make the Red Wings roster. The problem is that the Red Wings signed three forwards, and Berggren is too good offensively to play on the fourth line. He will make decisions difficult for the Detroit management team if he has an outstanding preseason.

Defensemen (4)

  • Albert Johansson (LD): Johansson looked smooth during the two games he played during the Prospects Tournament. Johansson will move to North America after playing the last three seasons in the SHL. Johansson is only 21 and is likely only a few months away from playing in the NHL full-time.
  • Jared McIsaac (LD): McIsaac played his first professional season last year. He is almost ready to play in the NHL but will benefit from playing big minutes in the AHL again this year.
  • Donovan Sebrango (LD): Sebrango wore an “A” during the two games he suited up during the Prospects Tournament. Sebrango has already played two seasons in the AHL. At 20, Sebrango keeps improving and may push for a roster spot in the NHL once we get closer to the trade deadline.
  • Steven Kampfer (RD): Kampfer recently played in the KHL, then signed a one-year deal to play in the Detroit organization. Kampfer is insurance should an injury occur to the Red Wings top-six defensemen.

Grand Rapids, AHL

Forwards (13)

  • Austin Czarnik (C/RW): Czarnik, 29, is a veteran of 142 NHL games. He signed a two-year deal with the Red Wings this summer. Czarnik provides veteran leadership at the AHL level and can be a depth player if needed in Detroit.
  • Matt Luff (RW): Luff, 25, signed a one-year, two-way deal to play in the Red Wings organization. Luff played 23 games for Nashville a year ago and brings organization depth at both the AHL and NHL levels.
  • Pontus Andreasson (C/RW): Andreasson signed a one-year deal to play in the Detroit organization. Andreasson needs playing time in the AHL after a terrific rookie season in the SHL a season ago.
  • Kyle Criscuolo (C): Now 30, Criscuolo is entering the final season before he can become a UFA. Criscuolo adds depth and is a scoring threat at the AHL level.
  • Dominik Shine (RW): Shine is signed to a minor league contract to play in Grand Rapids this year. At 29, Shine is a role player and depth forward at the AHL level.
  • Drew Worrad (C): Worrad, 25, had an excellent Prospects Tournament in Traverse City. Worrad wore an “A” during all three games for the Detroit prospects. After playing four years at Western Michigan (NCAA), Worrad signed a free agent contract with Grand Rapids. After his NCAA season ended last year, Worrad played 11 games for the Griffins, picking up one goal and four points.
  • Joel L’Esperance (RW/C): After spending the first five years of his professional career in the Dallas organization, L’Esperance will play for Grand Rapids this year. Signed to a minor league deal, L’Esperance has played 33 games in the NHL and 183 games for the Texas Stars (AHL). L’Esperance will bring depth to the Grand Rapids roster.
  • Trenton Bliss (LW/C): Bliss, 24, had a nice Prospects Tournament playing for the Red Wings. After four seasons at Michigan Tech, Bliss signed a contract to play with the Griffins. After his season ended last year, Bliss played three games in the AHL with Grand Rapids.
  • Cross Hanas (W/C): Cross Hanas had an exceptional Prospects Tournament and looked like a solid NHL prospect. Hanas earned an entry-level contract after being the top-scoring prospect in the Detroit organization last year. He will be given every opportunity to develop in the AHL before he is given a chance at moving up to the NHL.
  • Cedric Lacroix (C/LW/D): After playing for three teams in two leagues last year, Lacroix has signed to play with the Griffins this year. In 55 games split between the AHL and ECHL, Lacroix scored six goals and 15 points, to go along with 147 penalty minutes. Before turning professional, Lacroix played four seasons at the University of Maine (NCAA) and for two seasons played with fellow Griffins forward Chase Pearson.
  • Tyler Spezia (LW): The Griffins re-signed Spezia to a one-year contract extension to play in the AHL this season. At 29, Spezia is a role player at the AHL level.
  • Kirill Tyutyayev (LW/C): Tyutyayev looked healthy and dominated during the Prospects Tournament. At 22, Tyutyayev signed a one-year contract extension to play for Grand Rapids this year. Tyutyayev dressed for nine games with the Griffins last year before sustaining a season-ending injury.
  • Elmer Soderblom (LW/RW): Soderblom looked excellent, playing against prospects from other teams during the Prospects Tournament. Soderblom is a top forward prospect with the Red Wings. He will start the year with Grand Rapids but could move to Detroit if he dominates as he did in the SHL last season.

Defensemen (4)

  • Brian Lashoff (LD): Lashoff enters his 14th season in the Detroit organization. The captain of the Griffins last year returns on an AHL contract. He continues to bring a veteran presence and leadership to the Grand Rapids blueline.
  • Wyatt Newpower (RD): Newpower enters this season playing in the second year of a two-year entry-level deal to play in the Detroit organization. At 24, Newpower will continue to develop and is getting closer to playing in the NHL. Last season, Newpower played 55 games with the Griffins and had an even +/- rating.
  • Seth Barton (RD): Barton wore an “A” during the Prospects Tournament and looked like an excellent prospect. The 23-year-old Barton is entering year two of his two-year entry-level contract with the Red Wings. Barton only played 25 games split between Grand Rapids and Toledo (ECHL) last year. If he remains healthy, Barton should continue to develop by playing the entire season in the AHL this year.
  • Eemil Viro (LD): Viro scored one goal during the Prospects Tournament. He doesn’t do anything flashy, but he is a reliable defenseman who doesn’t make many errors. Viro will finally bring his defensive game to North America. Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2020 draft, Viro has an outside chance of moving quickly through the Detroit minor leagues.

Goaltenders (4)

  • Sebastian Cossa: Cossa is the top goaltending prospect in the Detroit organization. That doesn’t guarantee that he will play in the AHL this season. Cossa will be in a battle for playing time with the two veteran European goaltenders also signed to NHL deals.
  • Victor Brattstrom: Brattstrom, 25, will enter his second year in Grand Rapids. Last season, Brattstrom split the season between the Griffins and Toledo (ECHL). Brattstrom will attempt to develop with strong competition from top goalie prospect Sebastian Cossa and veteran Finnish goalie Jussi Olkinuora.
  • Jussi Olkinuora: Olkinuora, 31, is a veteran who could very well be the third goaltender in Detroit. Last year, he played in the KHL, Olympics, and World Championships. Olkinuora adds depth to an already strong goaltending group in the Detroit organization this year.
  • John Lethemon: Lethemon, 26, provides veteran depth to the Grand Rapids goaltenders. Last season, Lethemon primarily played in the ECHL. If everyone is healthy, Lethemon will likely play in Toledo (ECHL) this year.

Back to Junior

Pasquale Zito is likely headed back to Niagara (OHL)

Forwards (9)

  • Pasquale Zito (W/C): 2021 6th round- #166: Zito didn’t do anything special during the Prospects Tournament. Zito was recently traded to Niagara (OHL) and should receive plenty of ice time for the rebuilding IceDogs. This is a contract year for Zito, and if he plays well, he should have a chance of securing at least an AHL deal with the Red Wings.
  • Riley Piercey (LW/RW)-Camp Invitee: Piercey played well in his three games during the Prospects Tournament. Piercey led all players with five goals during the tournament. Piercey has been playing for a contract and will likely go back to junior and play as an OA for Flint (OHL) this year.
  • Jake Uberti (C)- Camp Invitee: Uberti was slated to play in the Prospects Tournament but did not get into any games. Last year, Uberti split the season between Mississauga and Niagara (OHL). In 52 regular season games, he scored 19 goals and 35 points. Uberti is slated to return to Mississauga and play his OA year in the OHL.
  • Amadeus Lombardi (C): 2022 4th round- #114: Lombardi, 19, was not drafted during his first year of eligibility. After missing his draft year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Lombardi scored 18 goals and 59 points in 67 regular season games in Flint (OHL). Lombardi had a good Prospects Tournament, but probably not enough to earn a contract this year. Lombardi should get plenty of ice time playing on the top line in Flint in the OHL this season.
  • Marcus Limpar-Lantz (C)- Camp Invitee: Limpar-Lantz showed a great deal of skill during the Prospects Tournament. He even received time on the power play during the tournament. Last season, he scored 13 goals and 37 points in 42 games in the J20 Nationell. This year, Limpar-Lantz will play for Sarnia in the OHL.
  • Julien Anctil (C)- Camp Invitee: Anctil played sparingly during the Prospects Tournament. Anctil, 21, has completed his junior eligibility and is currently playing for a professional contract. Last year, Anctil played 67 games for Sherbrooke (QMJHL), scored 26 goals and 68 points during the regular season, and scored 14 points in 11 playoff games.
  • Ivan Ivan (C)- Camp Invitee: Ivan showed some skill during the Prospects Tournament. He has already played two years for Cape Breton in the QMJHL. Last season, Ivan scored 31 goals and 65 points in 65 regular season games. Ivan will return to Cape Breton for his OA year and be an alternate captain with the Eagles.
  • Jacob Mathieu (C)- Camp Invitee: Mathieu made enough of an impression during the Prospects Tournament to be invited to the main camp. He will return to Rimouski (QMJHL), where he will build off his first full season in the QMJHL. Last year, Mathieu scored 23 goals and 35 points in 68 games.
  • Mitchell Martin (LW)- Camp Invitee: Martin played a physical game during the Prospects Tournament. He scored one goal during the tournament. He will return to Kitchener (OHL) and build on a rookie campaign where he scored 17 goals and 40 points in 65 regular season games last year.

Defensemen (3)

  • Jeremie Biakabutuka (RD)- Camp Invitee: Biakabutuka played excellently during his three-game audition at the Prospects Tournament. Time will tell if he did enough to earn a contract with Detroit. Last year, Biakabutuka split the year between Rimouski and Charlottetown (QMJHL). In 60 regular season games, he scored ten goals and 26 points and had a +32 rating. Now 20, Biakabutuka will likely return for his OA year to play for Charlottetown.
  • Oscar Plandowski (RD): – 2021 5th round- #155: Plandowski looked good at the Prospects Tournament. This summer, the smooth-skating Plandowski will see plenty of action after a trade to Drummondville (QMJHL). This is Plandowski’s contract year, and he needs to play well at both ends of the ice if he wants an entry-level contract with the Red Wings.
  • Tnias Mathurin (LD): – 2022 5th round – #137: Mathurin was named to the Prospects Tournament rost, but he was injured and unable to play. This year, Mathurin will likely be on the top defense pairing in North Bay (OHL). He has plenty of time to develop as Detroit owns his rights until June 2024.

Goaltenders (2)

  • Andrew Oke (G): Camp Invitee: Oke played two half games in goal during the Prospects Tournament. During his first game, Oke did not allow a goal. His second game was miserable as he allowed five goals during half a game. Last year, Oke played 36 games as a rookie for Saginaw in the OHL. His statistics were not impressive, but he was only 17 when the season began. Oke will return to Saginaw for his second season in the OHL this year.
  • Jan Bednar (G): – 2020 4th round- #107: Bednar had an exceptional Prospects Tournament, only allowing one goal in two half games. Bednar is in a unique position in that Detroit owns his rights for four years because he was drafted out of Czechia. Bednar is entering his OA season in Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL). If he doesn’t earn an entry-level contract by June 2024, Bednar will become a free agent.

Final Thoughts

Detroit General Manager Steve Yzerman has indicated that the club will once again carry 13 forwards, eight defensemen, and two goaltenders to start the season.

Injuries to players expected to make the opening night roster will alter which 23 players remain at the end of camp.

Detroit will start the year with at least three players on the IR. Robby Fabbri is still recovering from season-ending knee surgery and will not be in the opening night lineup. Defenseman Jake Walman will also start the season on IR. Recently signed free agent defenseman Mark Pysyk will also start the year on IR. Andrew Copp is recovering from injury and may be ready to play in the opening night lineup.

The roster will remain fluid throughout the preseason schedule as the team plays eight games in 12 days. The Red Wings will begin the preseason schedule on September 27 in Pittsburgh. Team management, players, and fans will have a better idea of the opening night roster the closer we get to opening night at home against Montreal on Friday, October 14.

Chris Giles

Chris Giles is a former junior hockey player and coach from Canada. He has been a diehard Detroit Red Wings fan for almost 50 years. Chris is an avid golfer who has volunteered at several PGA and Canadian Open Championships throughout North America.

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