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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Detroit Red Wings, Givani Smith
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Time is running out for Detroit Red Wings forward Givani Smith.

Detroit Red Wings power forward Givani Smith has quickly become a fan favorite due to his willingness to defend his teammates and his rugged style of play. Red Wings fans and physical power forwards go together like peanut butter and jelly.

When you look across Detroit’s roster, there just isn’t a spot for both Smith and Adam Erne.

Erne is a more proven player and someone Steve Yzerman brought over with him from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Although Erne struggled last season, two years ago in a Covid-19 shortened season, he recorded 11 goals and 20 points in just 45 games. That’s some efficient production for a bottom six grinding-type forward.

Next. Ranking the top six prospects heading into training camp. dark

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Unfortunately for the Red Wings, Erne struggled to make the same impact last season, scoring just six times in 79 games.

Givani Smith scored four times last season, totaling seven points in 46 games. Smith has totaled 14 points in 83 career NHL games over parts of three seasons. Last year was the first time Smith remained with the Red Wings splitting time on the ice and in the press box as a spectator.

Like Erne, Smith brings a physical dimension to the Red Wings’ fourth line. Again, I don’t see a path that puts Smith and Erne both on the active roster, and both players need to clear waivers if sent down. I believe there is a better chance that Smith clears waivers over Erne, but with most NHL teams making tough cuts early on in the season, I see a scenario where either clears waivers.

I will say this, making tough roster decisions are a good thing. This suggests the overall talent on the roster is improving, which points to the rebuild progressing in a positive direction.