Detroit Red Wings: 4 forwards on the bubble heading into camp

(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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Steve Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings made a conscious effort to improve their roster over the summer, primarily through free agency. The new additions to the lineup will help the team be more competitive but also leaves a few players on the outside looking in.

When you start looking over Detroit’s newly formed roster, it won’t take long to realize that some familiar faces will struggle to find a role with the team in 2022-23.

This will also leave Yzerman and the newly appointed head coach Derek Lalonde with a few difficult decisions to make as they try and trim the roster to 23 players ahead of opening day.

Let’s look at four Detroit Red Wings forwards firmly on the bubble heading into training camp.

Detroit Red Wings, Joe Veleno
(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

The first name on this list is Joe Veleno.

When you look at the addition of Andrew Copp, who is expected to center Detroit’s second line behind Dylan Larkin, that pushes Pius Suter down to the third group, which should suit his skill-set a bit better.

That only lengthens Detroit’s lineup moving center Michael Rasmussen down to the fourth line in a checking role he excelled in last season under Jeff Blashill. This role should not change with Lalonde, who is known for his defensive expertise.

Where does that leave a player like Veleno?

Sure, Veleno can play a wing, but his style of play is not one of a fourth-line winger. The Detroit Red Wings recently signed Filip Zadina to a contract extension, plus signed scoring winger Dominik Kubalik in free agency, who will be penciled in on the third line. Veleno needs to skate in the top nine to be effective, and barring an injury, I don’t see a spot in Detroit for the 22-year-old to begin the season.

Veleno began the year in Grand Rapids last season, scoring six goals and 10 points over 11 games before getting the call to Detroit. Veleno recorded 15 points with the Red Wings, including eight goals over 66 games.

It’s worth noting that Veleno does not need to pass through waivers if the Detroit Red Wings elect to send him back to Grand Rapids; that will factor into the decision unless Veleno plays his way into the top nine during training camp and the preseason.