The preseason is in full gear now, as opening night is just two weeks away. The Red Wings managed to split their first two games with the Chicago Blackhawks. Heading back home, we’ll start to see more prominent NHLers lace up.
For tonight’s game they take on the New York Islanders, who are going with a traditional mix of prospects and tier two NHL players from their roster. Oliver Wahlstrom is the blue chipper to keep an eye on from the other side, the BC product is a dangerous goal scorer who can break open any shift.
But I know you don’t care! It’s preseason after all! You want the Detroit lineup.
The Wings will be icing a lot of big names, such as Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi, Anthony Mantha, Filip Zadina, and Moritz Seider. From that alone, I already know many Wings fans will be tuning in. Still no Dylan Larkin, however. Being the team’s best player, I’m sure there is some load management going on. Expect to see him soon in the coming games.
For the full roster for this Friday night affair, see below:
Tonight’s roster. Zadina with Nielsen & Erne. pic.twitter.com/DRcv8HLJeN
— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) September 20, 2019
Some things to consider for the game:
1. Is Michael Rasmussen getting an extended look?
It’s not out of the ordinary for bubble prospects to play well over half of the exhibition games, after all, this is really the opening chance they get to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Yet, Michael Rasmussen is set to play in his third preseason game, while the likes of Joe Veleno, Oliwer Kaski, and Zadina, among others, are only drawing in for the second time. If you’ve been keeping up, that means Rasmussen has yet to miss a game.
Rasmussen of course, was doomed by the NHL-CHL agreement, being too good for juniors but not good enough for the big leagues, and because of his age, he couldn’t be sent down to the AHL. Many have already penciled him onto the Grand Rapids Griffins roster, but maybe management has a different idea. The sense I get is that they are putting the ball in his court, giving him a spot over the other forward prospects, but he has to take it and run with it. It’ll be interesting to see how many total games he’ll play.
In the home and home series against Chicago, he had a sneaky good first game, and a pretty forgettable second game. This matchup versus the Islanders could be big in determining what the future holds for him.
2. Can Filip Zadina finally breakthrough?
The highly touted prospect out of Halifax has struggled to find the back of the net since the prospects tournament started. Getting rubber on the net hasn’t been the issue, however.
Zadina was unable to score a goal in Traverse City (although collected a handful assists) and only generated a few scoring chances in Chicago. As a noted goal scorer, you can see he is hungry for one. Not to say he has been bad or anything, but there are pros and cons to the style of play he’s adopted. On one-hand, you have to think someone with his goal scoring prowess will eventually catch a break as long as he sticks with it. On the other hand, you can see him forcing the play too much, and not letting the game come to him.
For most of the prospects tournament I leaned towards the latter. I thought he tried to force unnecessary plays, which in his mind was meant to find some additional space and get a shot off. At the United Center, I liked his game way more. At the end of the day, I think that if he plays cohesive and stops over thinking it, the bounces will go his way.
3. Does Evgeny Svechnikov have his confidence back?
Svechnikov is one of my favorite stories within the organization. He is such an easy guy to root for, and seeing him take the ice earlier in the week after missing out on the entire 2018-19 season was a true joy.
But as great of a story as it is, there is still jobs on the line. With limited spots available for forwards, he needs to make a statement if he wants to remain in Detroit. Confidence has been a big thing with him. Even before the injury, his confidence in his own play was questioned after tough a 2017-18 season.
A confident Geno compared to non-confident Geno are two completely different entities. When he gets it going he can be a force on the ice, making plays both on his stick and along the boards. If he can regain the trust in his play tonight, it could be a long game for the Islanders.