After a unique 2020-21 season, some normalcy is upon us as The Red Wings are finally back in Traverse City, MI for their annual training camp. After the last two seasons, expectations are higher as the competition for spots all over the 23-man roster really ramps up.
No Bertuzzi for all games in Canada this season
During Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman's press conference it was revealed that Tyler Bertuzzi was the only player on the team to not get vaccinated against Covid-19. According to the NHL protocol's for unvaccinated players, you can not travel into Canada without a vaccination. With that, Bertuzzi will lose a projected $450k in salary due suspension from not being to participate in team activities on days where the Red Wings are either traveling or in Canada, a total of 9 games. Regardless on stance of the vaccine, Bertuzzi out of the line-up those games will be a huge loss to the team, especially to his long-time linemate Dylan Larkin who struggled last season only playing 9 games with Bertuzzi on his wing. GM Steve Yzerman and head coach Jeff Blashill both said that it was Bertuzzi's personal choice not to be vaccinated and they supported his decision. Blashill went on to mention that the 9 games Bertuzzi will miss will be a huge opportunity for other guys to earn a top-6 role.
Line Combinations to Start
During the first two days of camp here are the line combinations the Red Wings were going with, worth noting that Jakub Vrana isn't at camp yet due to visa issues but should be in the Traverse City by Saturday. It is safe to assume that Bobby Ryan who signed a PTO on Tuesday is a spot filler in that 2 RW spot. Also Jonatan Berggren is skating but not with contact after the upper-body injury he suffered during the second game versus St.Louis at the prospect tournament last week. I personally view that "5th line" as the guys just on the fringe, along with Joe Veleno. Both Lucas Raymond and Joe Veleno played strongly in the prospect tournament and they both have a shot to earn a spot in the top-9. But of those guys, Mitchell Stephens is most likely to earn a spot as the Red Wings traded a 2022 6th round pick to Tampa Bay on July 30th for the 24 year old center.
On defense there is a lot less debate on who's going to make the 23-man roster. During Steve Yzerman's press conference on Wednesday, he stated the plan was to carry 8 defenseman to start the season at least and the first 4 parings are the guys. Missing from the bottom 4 pairings would be Jared McIsaac who took a nasty hit in the corner during the last game of the prospect tournament and had to be brought out on a stretcher. He was diagnosed with a concussion but was doing a lot better according to Yzerman.
Moritz Seider Is Here
The most exciting part of training camp thus far has to be Moritz Seider likely slotting in the opening night line-up. Currently he is paired with veteran Nick Leddy who was brought in from a trade with the New York Islanders right before the Expansion draft. This pairing brings back elements from Seider's pairing this past season with Rogle of the Swedish Hockey League, which featured him along side ex-NHLer Eric Gelinas. Both Gelinas and Leddy play a more offensive-style game while Seider is more of a two-way defenseman who is very responsible in his own zone. After winning SHL defenseman of the year last season, Seider is looking to make the jump and become a top-4 defenseman from the start, and judging from the pairings to start, Blashill is giving him every chance to prove that. Seider's biggest question mark in his game right now is that can he develop his offensive side of the game to the NHL. Last season he got to develop his offensive side by working with long-time Red Wing, Niklas Kronwall and was able put up 7 G and 21 A for 28 PTS in 41 SHL games. The two were seen working after practice on Thursday which will some nostalgia to any Red Wing fan to see Kronwall in a Red Wings tracksuit.