Who will win the final forward spot?
- Drew Miller (56%, 45 Votes)
- Mattias Ritola (15%, 12 Votes)
- Other (13%, 10 Votes)
- Derek Meech (9%, 7 Votes)
- Kirk Maltby (7%, 6 Votes)
Total Voters: 80
One of the biggest questions going into the season for the Detroit Red Wings has to be, who is the spark at the end of the bench that can help you the most on the fourth line. The first few preseason games without a doubt with showcase the talent on the edge of making the parent club roster. With the defense all but shored up for the start of the season, the battle of the 2010 preseason will be for the last forward position. Among the young talent will be a host of veterans that have had success in the NHL. The truth is that the Wings have 15 Forwards and will need to cut one before the season starts. Here are the forwards who could be battling for “the last spot.”
Drew Miller – Last Season: 66 Games, 10 Goals, 9 Assists
Claimed of waivers last season, Miller responded when the Wings needed some help battling off injuries and finding a spark offensively. As a part of the third line last season, his ability to kill penalties and play the grinder role made him an imperative part of an injury depleted 2009-2010 season. This year, I suspect he will be used at less of a capacity, but he will still have a major role on the team. The fact is that he doesn’t have the burst or size of some of the other forwards on the roster.
Kirk Maltby – Last Season: 52 Games, 4 Goals, 2 Assists
Many thought it was over for Maltby at the end of the season, after he and the Wings opted for Shoulder surgery in March. It goes without saying what Maltby’s value is. At one time his was a very good penalty killer, known for his ability to get shorthanded points. With over 1,000 games played, he has the most experience of any of those battling for a roster spot. That real facts are that he has a two way contract. The Red Wings will most likely start him in Grand Rapids if he clears waivers, because then if they need him, he can be called up without a cost to the team.
Patrick Eaves – Last Season: 65 Games, 12 Goals, 10 Assists
It seems after coming close to the 20 goal plateau, that Eaves’ spot on the roster is pretty darn safe. A penalty killer, with more speed then the rest of this bunch, a solid frame, and ability to make things happen. The goal is still for him to get 20+ goals, but Eaves is hopefully being groomed to be the next Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby. He has the ability to be that all-around type player, and I think that is what makes him so valuable to this team. He will see the same amount of playing time this season, if not more.
Mattias Ritola – Last Season: 5 Games
Though the youngster is really starting to show his future value, it seems to me that he will be the first one waived down to Grand Rapids. With an option year that allows him to be waived back and forth to Grand Rapids, he could become a part of the Wings down the stretch when they need to get some regulars rest. If he clears waivers, it’s most likely another season at the AHL level. His inconsistencies will be a major factor in why he doesn’t make this team out of preseason action.
Feel free to share your thoughts on the poll!