Training Camp comes to an end today, as the Detroit Red Wings prepare for the grind of pre-season, which begins tomorrow against the most heinous Pittsburgh Penguins.
The traditional Red-White game will take place today at noon, and can be viewed via this stream.
The Wings made their first round of training camp cuts on Monday — sending all but one of the junior-eligible players back to their respective clubs. The lone man standing, and one of two guys who may be signed to a contract, is Trevor Parkes — an undrafted nineteen year old winger from Montreal Juniors of the QMJHL. Despite being somewhat hindered by a back injury, he’s been — by all accounts — impressive enough to warrant consideration for a contract. The Red Wings have made a habit of signing “bonus draft picks” in the last few years, which is how guys like Willie Coetzee and Brian Lashoff found their ways into the system.
Thanks to George James Malik, we’ve been able to read incredibly thorough reports from each day of training camp — and it sounds like another junior-eligible kid turned some heads. Defenseman Marc Zanetti, a defenseman with the Ottawa 67’s of the O, is the other guy that is in the running to put pen to paper — per GJM. Sounds like he’s a solid kid, standing over 6 feet, weighing in the 200’s and doesn’t mind dropping the mitts. Remember that name — methinks he’ll be inked.
The only player under contract that was cut was Mitchell Callahan, and he returns to the Kelowna Rockets to kick some asses. Red Wings drat picks Louis-Marc Aubry, Landon Ferraro, Brooks Macek, Andrej Nestrasil, Gleason Fournier, and Petr Mrazek also punched their tickets for Canadian Juniors.
Red Wing draft pick-turned-free agent tryout Stephen Johnston was also released, most likely ending his time on the Wings radar.
The other free agent tryouts that were released were Darren Archibald, Alex Cord, Antonin “Best Name Nominee In The Making” Honejsek, and injured Brendan Kichton — who broke some fingers on the first day of camp.
Speaking of players on tryouts, only three remain in camp. Aaron Downey, the once-Wing, remains on the roster, as does the aforementioned Trevor Parkes and Grand Rapids Griffin signee Greg Amadio. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Downey sign an AHL-only contract, with the potential to be elevated to a two-way deal later in the season. But that’s just me talkin’.
THE FOURTH LINE
Possibly the most intriguing thing to watch this pre-season is the battle for icetime for the bottom half of the roster. With the top six (nay…top nine) fully etched in stone, the battle for fourth line minutes comes down to Darren Helm, Patrick Eaves, Justin Abdelkader, Drew Miller, Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, Mattias Ritola, and — to a much lesser extent — prospects like Cory Emmerton and Jan Mursak.
Kris Draper has injured his groin and likely won’t see much action in the coming weeks. He’s not going anywhere, because he — ya know — has a No-Trade Clause, but he is by no means guaranteed a spot in the lineup each night.
Kirk Maltby has a two-way deal and is very likely to begin the season in Grand Rapids. That said, it sounds like he’s one of the most consistent and confident guys in this group.
Frankly, it’s going to come down to Drew Miller vs. Mattias Ritola — and we all know it. By the way things have played out, Miller likely has the inside track: he’s been impressive, including scoring two goals in yesterday’s scrimmage, while Ritola has been — by many accounts — invisible. Mike Babcock was sure to say that the battles don’t begin until tomorrow, but it’s hard not to think that Miller has a leg up heading into the games, especially considering he’d likely be picked up off of waivers and Ritola could possibly sneak down, thanks to his inexperience at the NHL level. Never underestimate the other 29 clubs desire to shaft the Wings, however.
Speaking of waivers, Derek Meech has looked — according to Malik — completely uninspired and resigned to the fact that he’s no longer in the Wings plans.
Uncle Mike stated that Osgood will play two periods tomorrow, and that he and Howard will each start three of the eight pre-season games, leaving two to be split between Joey MacDonald and Thomas McCollum. For what it’s worth, Babcock has stated that MacDonald will be the emergency call-up, not McCollum, this season.