Detroit Red Wings short-staffed heading into match-up with Panthers

The Detroit Red Wings were forced to call up a veteran as they are short-staffed as the team heads into their match-up with the Florida Panthers.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Zach Aston-Reese (12) skates toward the face-off dot.
Toronto Maple Leafs center Zach Aston-Reese (12) skates toward the face-off dot. / Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Red Wings are in a spot where they need to win every single game. In a sense, the playoffs start now. Detroit needs to get its points on the board if they have any hope of making a playoff run. However, it's calling in reinforcements and not the exciting kind; in fact, it's the concerning kind.

As the Detroit Red Wings prepare for a big match-up with the Florida Panthers, where they need to find a way to gut out a win, they are looking at an even tougher match-up. Both Patrick Kane and Austin Czarnik are out injured. The two are doubtful to suit up for Detroit on Saturday, meaning Detroit needed to call up another forward under emergency conditions.

Zach Aston-Reese was recalled from the Grand Rapids Griffins and brought to Detroit to step into the team's lineup. There's hope that he can serve as added depth. But with a challenging game ahead, it could be tough to do well without Kane in the lineup. Getting Dylan Larkin back in the lineup helped the top line with Kane, and Larkin did well in his limited time back.

However, now, the team will rely on other players to step up. Sure, Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Larkin could go off and help the Red Wings come out on top, but it's really worrisome and hard to buy into that. But Detroit is a bit short-staffed, and they have to bet on Zach Aston-Reese to plug a hole in the bottom six.

Detroit Red Wings call up Zach Aston-Reese; they're short-staffed vs. Florida.

The Red Wings have stashed Aston-Reese in the minors, keeping him with the Grand Rapids Griffins as depth. They have called upon him only once, with one game played on the 2023-24 season for Detroit. However, Grand Rapids has seen Aston-Reese become a mainstay in the lineup.

Aston-Reese has played 56 games for Grand Rapids, where he scored 13 goals and added 15 assists, totaling 28 points on the campaign. He may not be scoring like Jonatan Berggren in the AHL, but he's playing his role, something he's become accustomed to during his career bouncing between the AHL/NHL.

He's logged NHL games every year since the 2017-18 season; after five seasons in Pittsburgh, he moved to play for Anaheim and Toronto before grabbing a spot in the Red Wings organization. He's served as good forward depth for Detroit but has not been called upon much.

He's coming up to join the Red Wings and likely will play a key role in the bottom-six, sort of. He'll slot in and be asked to play a sound game for the Red Wings, who need everything to go right on Saturday.