It’s difficult to explain precisely what Jonatan Berggren or Lucas Raymond have to do to earn an NHL roster spot this season, but the Red Wings coaches will know it when they see it.
“We’re not going to rush them into the NHL,” Detroit Assistant General Manager Pat Verbeek said. “When they’re ready, they’re ready. ”
The Red Wings’ decision to buy out Frans Nielsen opens up another possible roster spot for younger players, but that doesn’t mean the Red Wings have to give it to a younger player. They could trade for another veteran or pick up someone off waivers. But they would prefer a younger player earn the job.
“We’re going to give them every opportunity to make the team and if they’re not quite ready then they’ll play in Grand Rapids and develop there,” Verbeek said.
What they want to avoid is a prospect trying to develop at the NHL level.
Verbeek said the Red Wings are excited about Berggren and Raymond because of their “skill level, their hockey sense, their ability to provide offense.”
Holtz vs. Raymond
Prospect analyst Russ Cohen recently wrote an article for EliteProspects.com comparing Raymond (No. 4 in 2020) to the New Jersey Devils’ top Swedish prospect Alexander Holtz (No. 7 in 2020) who is expected to play this season.
“I give Raymond the edge in skating and stick and puck control.,” Cohen wrote. “This forward can weave his way in and out of traffic. He’s the flashier player for sure, and he wins more puck battles. InStat has Raymond winning 45 percent of his puck battles last season compared to Holtz’s 36 percent.”
Cohen says Holtz is a sniper. The presumption is he was drafted to be Jack Hughes’ scoring winger.
“The Devils were fortunate to get a player with the best one-timer in that draft at that spot,” Cohen said. “His wrist shot is almost as good, and he has some playmaking in him. His two-step quickness must continue to get better for sure. His hockey IQ is very good, and that’s how he finds those open spots on the ice. “
Cohen said he believes Holtz will beat Raymond into the NHL because he has an easier path. But he thinks Raymond is more dynamic.
“I am flopping here a bit based on what I’ve seen in the early part of both players’ development,” Cohen wrote. “I think the overall impact of Raymond’s first year will beat Holtz. “