Mar 25, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock talks with right wing Mitch Callahan (57) during the first period against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Does Mitch Callahan have a place in the Detroit Red Wings lineup?

Right or wrong, the Detroit Red Wings over the last decade have been labeled as a skilled team full of “soft-euros.” After employing a series of fourth line enforcers who never saw the ice, see Brad May and Jordin Tootoo, the Wings seem resigned to continue to build a team based on speed and skill at the cost of toughness. Whether skill and speed can get the Wings past the likes of the Boston Bruins can only be answered at the end of next season, however, it leaves Red Wings’ Mitch Callahan’s future with the club in doubt.

Out of waiver exemption and re-signed to a one-year deal just above the player minimum, it is likely that Mitch will exposed to the waiver wire after training camp. Mitch played one game for the Red Wings without finding his way onto the score sheet in any form. A fan favorite in Grand Rapids, Mitch started to find his offensive touch on his way to winning the Calder Cup and continued to shine throughout the last year. Mitch posted career highs in both goals, 26, and assists, 18, for 44 points in 70 games played, while reducing his penalty minutes to 51 from 93 the year before.

For perspective however, Cory Emmerton, scored more points in less games played once relegated to Grand Rapids.
For perspective however, Cory Emmerton, scored more points in less games played once relegated to Grand Rapids. In 53 games Cory Emmerton contributed 16 goals and 30 assists for 46 points. Being exposed to waivers multiple times in the 2013-2014 season, Emmerton was never claimed and chose to leave for the KHL this summer. It is likely that if exposed to waivers Mitch will pass through to Grand Rapids due to his lack of eye-popping production.

The Detroit development system does not favor players with Mitch’s skillset, as enforcers are forced to more than one-dimensional. Jordin Tootoo was brought in from Nashville to provide toughness and production to the Wings fourth line. Through either mismanagement of his ice-time ora simple lack of production, Tootoo was relegated to Grand Rapids.

If Mitch is going to become a Red Wing regular he will have to continue to improve his offensive production and steal a job if given the opportunity through injuries or a roster realignment of some sort.

As it stands today, there are just too many NHL forwards that bring more to the table for the 2014-2015 season. It is likely Mitch will be playing top-six minutes in Grand Rapids following training camp with the hopes of being a top call up over Landon Ferraro.

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Tags: Detroit Red Wings Mitch Callahan

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