A look at the Red Wings forward depth chart and who might be recalled next

As injuries start mounting, here’s a look at a possible depth chart for the Detroit Red Wings and who should be next in line to recall from the Grand Rapids Griffins (and why).

Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 5
Next

Marco Kasper

A group of us were standing, waiting for the table with Marco Kasper and Albert Johansson. A lady in front of me asked who was who. Of course, I couldn't see the table.

"Kasper is the one with the flow," I replied. She wasn't sure of what flow is, and though Johansson has his own style, I'd reckon flow is a bit more Kasper's thing. We were able to identify the difference based on hat versus no hat, Johansson's signature look is a hat. On the other hand, Kasper likes to let his locks flow freely.

If the Detroit Red Wings are looking to win games, I think there is no better candidate than Kasper.

It's funny, as I'm not sure I've seen such a Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde in real life. He's the most respectful, helpful dude I've watched. One example, the teddy bear toss night was a blast. Players were all having fun with the various stuffed animals, but Kasper was dedicated. Meticulously, going from pile to pile, helping to collect every last stuffed animal he could to help the workers. (Maybe he was just trying to get back to playing the game as quickly as possible, but he's usually good about getting pucks in the same way after practice, so I think it's just a part of his personality.) Either way, he’s a tremendous human being.

To opponents on the ice, he’s an absolute nightmare.

Although his campaign was slow to start, understandably so, he’s steadily improved. He’s becoming one of the most reliable, hardworking, and play-driving forwards the Grand Rapids Griffins have in their lineup.

Since Berggren’s recall to the Detroit Red Wings, the line with Carter Mazur and Kasper has slowed (expectedly so). This proves that Berggren is insane at driving play and creating chances. He makes all players better (directly and indirectly), but that’s an article for another day.

In Berggren’s absence, Kasper has had to adjust. It wasn’t as quick as I had hoped, but with every shift, he’s getting more confidence and growing in assertiveness. He always puts in the effort to retrieve pucks along the boards. Not afraid to go to the dirty areas, take or dish a hit to make a play, or tussle with opponents, Kasper plays a hard-nosed game without the nonsense. (It’s likely why Berggren and Kasper play so well together).

While other candidates on this list do all of the above well, nobody battles harder than Kasper. His effectiveness can sometimes be questioned, but his effort is always there. Effort alone isn’t why he should join the Detroit Red Wings, but his effectiveness matches his effort output.

He's a mean ghost who doesn't take crap from anyone, doesn't back down, and will protect his teammates to Hell and back. His conditioning is second to none. Not to mention he’s thicker than a 200-year-old oak tree; Kasper is physically ready for a chance in the NHL.

I’d argue that Kasper is among the best puck retrievers on the Grand Rapids Griffins roster. He’s still improving on holding on to pucks and making plays once he gets the puck, but those skills are also coming along nicely. Though not always the case, it’s likely these areas of opportunity would greatly improve with time spent practicing and playing alongside Detroit Red Wings players (likely quicker than if he remains with the Grand Rapids Griffins).

Kasper kills penalties, plays on a power play unit, and is stellar on five-on-five play.

It may be premature to bring Kasper up now, and he may not flourish right away in the National Hockey League (NHL), but it’s likely he will pay the most dividends after the first handful of games.

He’s a quick, dedicated learner who I would love to see in a third/fourth-line role with the likes of Robby Fabbri, Christian Fischer, and/or Daniel Sprong. He likely would start as a winger, but with a center’s mindset where he is defensively responsible. He could even trade-off with duties in the faceoff dot, where not all the burden of center duties is placed on one player. He could be eased into the center role and specialty teams duties and wouldn’t look out of place.