Post-Free Agency Roster Predictions and Thoughts

Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider Celebrate after Red Wings Goal.(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider Celebrate after Red Wings Goal.(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Red Wings
Andrew Copp. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The New and Improved Roster

I have the Red Wings new and Improved opening night roster looking something like this.

Note, for purposes of our discussion here, it’s not so much about whether the projected roster ends up being correct as it is being able to really see the upgrades that have been made. As such, I’ve shown how many lines players that were in the pre-free agency lineup have been demoted due to the free agent signings.

Vrána, Larkin, Bertuzzi
Raymond, Copp, Perron
Kubalik, Suter (-1), Zadina
Rasmussen (-1), Veleno, Erne (-1)

Extras/Top Prospects: Berggren (-3), Söderblom (-1), Czarnik, Smith (-1), Sundqvist (-1), Fabbri (IR)

Chiarot, Seider
Määttä, Hronek
Edvinsson (-1), Pysyk

Extras/Top Prospects: Lindström (-1), Oesterle (-3), Sebrango, Johansson, Viro, McIsaac, Newpower, Walman (IR)

Husso, Nedeljkovic

Without a doubt, the #1 takeaway is that we added proven NHL players to fit specific needs we have in the here and now. As shown, this pushes some less talented roster players like Suter, Oesterle, and Lindström, down in the lineup, likely closer to where they belong on a good team. It also means prospects like Berggren don’t have to immediately step into high-leverage minutes.

One of the Wings’ biggest issues the last year or two is the distinct gap between the 1st line and everyone else. Now with 2 signings, the Red Wings have gone from the underwhelming Pius Suter and a (promising) rookie in Berggren, to Andrew Copp and David Perron. Perron scored at a 71-point pace last year. Pair that and Raymond’s skills with an all-around solid center like Copp, and you’ve turned your 2nd line from “hopefully good” to a real threat. The other huge, gaping need this team had was defense.

That hole was also plugged, at least for a year, by the smart signings of not one, not two, but three solid, reliable defensemen. None of them are game-breakers or Norris Trophy candidates, but they fit the need perfectly.

This new defensive core will ensure that the Red Wings are able to ice six NHL quality defensemen each night for the first time in what feels like a long time. It’s hard to overstate the importance of that improvement.

But despite all the roster upgrades, and all the various positive impacts that will have on the team’s performance, I actually think there is still a lot of movement to go this offseason…