With the preseason now over, teams are making cuts to their roster to get to their 23 man rosters, Red Wings included. The Red Wings have assigned forward David Pope, forward Givani Smith, center Dominic Turgeon, 2018 1st round winger Filip Zadina, defenseman Vili Saarijärvi, and goalie Harri Sateri to Grand Rapids. The Red Wings have also released veteran forward Jussi Jokinen from his PTO.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) September 30, 2018
Sateri is expected to be the starter in goal for Grand Rapids this season, splitting the cage with Patrik Rybar in what may turn out to be a 1A/1B situation.
Vili Saarijärvi showed good improvement in the preseason and should have a bigger role on the Griffins blue line this season.
Givani Smith and David Pope are both entering their first pro seasons. Smith has plenty of time to grow as a player and looks to be well on his way to becoming a bottom 6 NHL forward.
David Pope on the other hand is already 24 years old and has spent a full 4 years in college. He’ll need a big AHL season as he’ll look to prove the Red Wings right by signing him. Filip Zadina will benefit from time in Grand Rapids as he adjusts to the pro game.
It doesn’t surprise most that watched him in the preseason, he just wasn’t quite there yet. Being in Grand Rapids will allow him to develop his game at the pro level without being overwhelmed. There’s a chance the Wings might also release him to the Czech National Team for World Juniors in Vancouver if he isn’t already up with the Wings by then.
If you’re still feeling discouraged, take a look at David Pastrnak’s career arc, which shows AHL time is a valuable tool for a young prospect. Especially one who could be back in juniors instead.