Red Wings: 8 Takeaways from the Red & White Game

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 23: Bobby Ryan #54 of the Detroit Red Wings skates in front of his goal against the Nashville Predators during the first period at Bridgestone Arena on March 23, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 23: Bobby Ryan #54 of the Detroit Red Wings skates in front of his goal against the Nashville Predators during the first period at Bridgestone Arena on March 23, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Red Wings played their Red and White game in front of a sold out crowd at Center Ice Arena in Traverse City. Here were the rosters, noting that Dylan Larkin, Jonatan Berggren, Jakub Vrana and Marc Staal were absent. (The Malik Report had some news on Larkin, Berggren, and Vrana)

Mitchell Stephens opened the scoring when he scooped up a puck sent around the boards by Bobby Ryan and zipped in alone, wristing one past Alex Nedeljkovic to give team Red a 1-0 lead. Dominik Shine would get Team White on the board when he buried a rebound chance past Thomas Greiss with just over four minutes in the first period.

The first half of the second period was scoreless, but Team White had numerous chances to score.  Stephens buried another goal in the second half of the second, before Pius Suter answered with a goal to even it up. Regulation ended dead locked and Team White would notch two shootout goals to take the scrimmage victory 3-2. Lucas Raymond notched the first one while Vladislav Namestnikov got the second.

Following the first period and the first half of the second period,  both teams were given a chance to run their special teams on a power play–and the power play was scoreless for both teams.

Here are eight takeaways from the game:

Zadina’s Still Appears Frustrated

Zadina’s body language screams frustration. The poor kid has been snakebitten when it comes to scoring, and yes, we all know he was drafted to “fill the net.” He will. But on a power play opportunity, he teed off a shot on an open look that didn’t connect–and just skated off with a demeanor that felt like a “here we go again” vibe. Perhaps it was the camera angle, or just my perception. I still believe Zadina is going to find this season to be the one where things click more.

Thomas Greiss Continues to Play Well

Greiss picked up where he left off–looking calm and collected in the net. Greiss certainly had a much better second half of the season last year and appears to have continued that momentum into the scrimmage. Obviously the regular season is a different beast, but it was promising to see Greiss playing like he was in midseason form.

Bobby Ryan making his case for the Red Wings Roster

Ryan looked sharp–being on the ice for both Team Red goals and chipping in an assist on the first goal by Stephens. It only seems right that Ryan gets a hard look for the roster–he brings an offensive upside to the team, and if he can stay healthy, would certainly be another piece of the puzzle to get the Red Wings on the scoresheet more often.

So is Lucas Raymond

Raymond appears the consummate professional–and he’s just 19 years old. From the shootout goal he buried to just being in the right place at the right time during his opportunities on the ice, Raymond continues to make a case to log real time during the preseason to determine if he should be on the final roster before the Red Wings’ October 14th season opener.

Moritz Seider will be Just Fine

Much was said in the Red Wings chat on the feed about Moritz Seider at times looking pedestrian. This is my appeal to just remember to those fans of either opinion that he’s only 20, and he will not be a constant highlight reel. Suter’s goal was a result of him stripping Seider of the puck, getting around him, and then burying it. Seider also had a poor pass earlier that nearly turned into a goal as well.

Red Wings fans were treated to his outstanding season in the SHL, many times in highlight clips that showed just a snapshot of an entire game. This is important to remember as he learns and grows as a member of the Detroit Red Wings. Those highlights will certainly happen in Detroit–but growing pains will be a part of the process, too.

Mitchell Stephens looked fantastic

Stephens showed the speed that made him a target for Yzerman to bring into the fold. Red Wings fans have seen that speed before on the bottom two lines, Darren Helm comes to mind immediately. Stephens corralling the puck beating two defenders, and snapping the wrister to get team white on the board.

During the second half of the second period, he led the offensive chance into the Team White zone, and then finished it off on a beautiful feed from Taro Hirose right in the shadow of the net. Stephens certainly made his case to not only center that fourth line, but also made a compelling argument–if it holds up–to shift between the third as well.

Special Teams were Featured

Both the power play and penalty kill seemed way more active in terms of movement. The last couple seasons at times it felt as if players were standing around and almost bolted into specific spots on the ice. The penalty kill saw skaters harrassing the puck carriers more, preventing cleaner passes that set up shots. Conversely, the power play was moving around more, and that movement allowed for Zadina to get a beautiful chance, that while it didn’t go in, will at some point if given those chances consistently.

Hirose Had Some Great Plays

Hirose had a hand in the second goal and also was buzzing around the ice often, making things happen in the other zone. For a guy that is certainly on the roster bubble, he should carry this assertiveness into the preseason and make a case for himself.

I believe Hirose is one of the better playmakers the team has and could be an absolute asset if he can play his way onto the roster. I also think having him in the power play could be a boon for a team that always felt like it was looking for a guy to make that right pass to find a goal.

If given the chance if he earns the spot, Hirose might be a pleasant surprise for the Red Wings offense.

Pickard Held his Ground

Calvin Pickard may be third on the depth chart, but it shouldn’t go unnoticed that he’s a solid presence for not only Grand Rapids, but if Detroit gets into injury trouble between the pipes. Pickard stood on his head in the second period when Team Red was constantly peppered with shots and Pickard calmly batted them away, which included a couple Pius Suter point blank chances. For a team that needs to score more, having security in net three guys down is crucial.

It was great to see some Red Wings hockey–albeit in scrimmage form–but it certainly gave us something to watch and enjoy before the preseason schedule opens up.

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