Another year, another bottom five finish for the Detroit Red Wings. The team continues to trudge through the rebuild, slowly gathering assets and trade capital along the way. Some of the past few year’s acquisitions might finally make their way into the roster, and training camp will be the first chance to see them in action.
The Red Wings Rookies
Perhaps the biggest storyline heading into training camp will be the return of players that spent their 2020-21 season in the SHL. Although Moritz Seider is essentially a lock for the NHL, other players like Lucas Raymond and Jonatan Berggren will have camp to prove themselves.
Lucas Raymond signed his entry level deal with the Red Wings last month. Training camp will be important for Raymond, as his performance will certainly shift whether he starts with the Griffins in the AHL or heads straight onto the main roster.
Jonatan Berggren could also change his trajectory based on training camp. While he had an extremely statistically impressive season in the SHL (45 points in 49 games in the regular season), he doesn’t quite have the raw skill that Raymond does. The adjustment from European hockey to North American hockey might prove tough to navigate. Training camp could show the organization what they need to know about where Berggren in the transition. If he still shows major flaws, let him improve in Grand Rapids. If he can make that adjustment quick enough, he could be ready for the NHL sooner than some think.
The Red Wings had a hard time with the injury bug this season, especially during the latter half. Dylan Larkin and Robby Fabbri missed the last couple of weeks of the season, Bobby Ryan has been out since before the trade deadline and Tyler Bertuzzi only played nine games.
On paper, all four should be healthy by training camp. Even Bertuzzi, who underwent back surgery on April 30, is on schedule to be ready for camp. But recovering from an injuries is not that simple, especially for a physical player like Bert. Training camp will show fans if he has truly recovered from his surgery.
Because of a limited roster (Because of both injuries and lack of talent), Blashill often deployed a very conservative “low-event” style of hockey, where pace-of-play is key for a victory. This year, Blash might get a bit of an injection of talent, with Seider, Raymond, Berggren and others potentially landing on the main roster. If this is the case, will Blashill adjust accordingly? Instead of playing not to lose, could the head coach start to run a team with less focus on the system and more focus on the players? Any sort of style change will be evident to the public at camp.
If Blash doesn’t return, training camp becomes even more intriguing. A new coach means a whole new system, with new schemes and new players.
As the future continues to brighten in Detroit, development of the prospects is one of the more important aspects of the rebuild to keep an eye on. This year, fans will get to see plenty storylines in action during training camp.