Four games remaining in the exhibition season — and chances are good we’ll be seeing the guys that are fighting for a roster spot in at least three of them. Tonight’s lineup against the Blackhawks features only a handful of regulars — but quite a few guys worth keeping an eye on in light of Jan Mursak’s injury.
Abdelkader :: Helm :: Conner
Miller :: R Johnson :: Eaves
Nyquist :: Emmerton :: Brunnstrom
Tatar :: Andersson :: Ferraro
Ericsson :: Kindl
Janik :: Smith
Ehrhardt :: Commodore
In limited pre-season television viewing, I’ve got the in-the-hunt players ranked THUSLY:
13 Mursak — Very fast. Very competent. Very unfortunately timed injury.
14 Tatar — Really beginning to show he might belong in the NHL, but probably won’t be because he CAN go down.
15 Nyquist — The most exciting prospect in years. He’s not far off, but — like Tatar — he can play big minutes in GR.
16 Emmerton — Good, but not exceptional. Kind of a “default” insertion into the lineup. May get the Ritola treatment.
17 Brunnstrom — Could certainly use some getting accustomed to the system in Grand Rapids, if signed.
18 Conner — I was looking forward to him, but I’m underwhelmed so far. Not pushing the guys above him.
19 R. Johnson — Doesn’t sound like he’s interested in the AHL, and hasn’t proven he belongs in Detroit. Buh bye.
20 Andersson — A far shot off of the rest of the pack. Not even sure why he’s still in camp.
5 Kindl — Remarkably good given the small chances he’s gotten to play big minutes.
6 Ericsson — Looks steady (when compared to the scrubs who dress for the pre-season).
7 Commodore — I haven’t noticed a single second of his on-ice play. His mall tour, on the other hand…
8 Janik — It’s pretty clear he’ll be in Grand Rapids, but he’s not at all a bad option for a 7th/8th defenseman.
9 Smith — Needs some more seasoning in the AHL. Didn’t push for a spot the way Tatar and Nyquist have up front.
10 Lashoff — Really interesting prospect. Will he ever be an NHL kind of guy? Maybe… but not this year or next.
11 Exelby — Meh.
Photo Credit: Dave Chidley, AP/The Canadian Press