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Duffer’s Dabbles: Still Plenty Of Red Wings Connections Left In Playoffs



Yzerman-Lambert cooking
New York Islanders assistant coach Lane Lambert and Wings GM Steve Yzerman were roommates as Detroit rookies in 1983-84

The elimination of the Colorado Avalanche from the Stanley Cup playoffs is leaving one last chance for a member of the 2021 Detroit Red Wings to gain an inscription on the storied mug this season. The Avs acquired defenseman Patrik Nemeth from the Wings at the NHL trade deadline.

Another Wings defenseman, Jon Merrill, dealt to the Montreal Canadiens at the deadline remains in the Cup hunt. He’s currently out with an undisclosed injury, though

There are also plenty of players with Red Wings connections still in the hunt for Lord Stanley’s mug.

The Vegas Golden Knghts go two deep in former Wings – three if you’re counting Red Wings draft pick Mattias Janmark, who was traded before he ever got the chance to play a game for Detroit. Forwards Tomas Nosek was taken from Detroit by the Golden Knights in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft. However, he’s been out with an injury since Game 2 of the first round against the Minnesota Wild. Tomas Jurco is an extra forward with the Golden Knights who’s yet to see playoff action.

Tatar With Habs

Ex-Wings forward Tomas Tatar is with the Canadiens. Defenseman Xavier Ouellet is an extra with the Habs. There was some speculation he might replace the injured Jeff Petry in Game 4 against the Winnipeg Jets, but Canadiens coach Dominque Ducharme opted for rookie Alexander Romanov.

New York Islanders assistant coach Lane Lambert launched his NHL playing career as a Red Wings forward in 1983-84. He was the second player chosen by Detroit in the 1983 NHL entry draft following current Wings GM Steve Yzerman. Lambert is frequently mentioned as an NHL head coach in waiting. Ex-Wing Dmytro Timashov is an extra with the Isles.

The defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning don’t have any ex-Wings, unless you count defenseman David Savard. He was a paper Red Wing briefly during the three-team deal this season between Detroit, Columbus and Tampa Bay.

Brown’s Son In Vegas

There are also a number of family connections to former and current Wings that dot the rosters of the Stanley Cup final four. Vegas center Patrick Brown is the son of two-time Detroit Cup winner Doug Brown. Cayden Primeau, Montreal’s third goalie, is the son of Keith Primeau. Tampa Bay forward Gemel Smith is the older brother of Wings forward Givani Smith. And Vegas forward Reilly Smith is the younger sibling of Brendan Smith.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: With the Penguins evidently in the market for veteran goalie help, imagine how it must feel in Pittsburgh watching Marc-Andre Fleury four wins away from taking Vegas back to the Cup final series.

San Jose Hockey Now: The Sharks are looking to dump one of their big contracts. With cap space available, the Wings might be willing to help out a team seeking to shed salary. Could these two teams find common ground? Wings fans desperately wanted the club to sign defenseman Erik Karlsson when he was a UFA.

Colorado Hockey Now: Yet more evidence that the regular season and playoffs are two different animals. All three nominees for the Hart Trophy – Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon, Toronto’s Auston Matthews and Edmonton’s Connor McDavid – are out of the playoffs. Between them they won nine playoff games this year and their teams were a combined 9-12.

Just Like 1999 Red Wings

Remember the 1999 playoffs, with the Red Wings opening 6-0 and looking like sure Cup winners, only to collapse, losing the next four games to be eliminated in the second round by Colorado? Well, that’s exactly what just happened to the Avs at the hands of the Golden Knights.

Boston Hockey Now: Out of the playoffs, the Bruins face some big decisions this summer. Goalie Tuukka Rask and forwards David Krejci and Taylor Hall are all UFAs.

New York Islanders Hockey Now: The Islanders-Lightning series is only the fourth Stanley Cup semifinal rematch since 1990 involving the defending Cup champs. Pittsburgh-Boston (1991-92), Dallas Colorado (1990-2000) and Chicago-Los Angeles (2013-14) were the others.