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Detroit Red Wings send 11 to Grand Rapids, but top rookies still in camp



Lucas Raymond, Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings sent 11 players to Grand Rapids Thursday, but all of the prime rookies are still in training camp.

DETROIT — The first bus has left for Grand Rapids, and Lucas Raymond, Joe Veleno, Jonatan Berggren and Chase Pearson were not on it.

The Detroit Red Wings on Thursday assigned defensemen Jared McIsaac, Wyatt Newpower and Donovan Sebrango, and goaltender Victor Brattstrom to the Grand Rapids Griffins. They returned forwards Turner Elson, Jon Martin, Dominik Shine, Tyler Spezia, Kirill Tyutyayev, Hayden Verbeek and Dennis Yan, to their American Hockey League affiliate.

That simply means coach Jeff Blashill and general manager Steve Yzerman want their top youngsters in camp as long as possible. Riley Barber and Taro Hirose are also still in the Detroit camp. They were in the lineup Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Raymond, Veleno and Berggren are also playing.

At best, the Red Wings would only have room for one or two rookies, depending upon if veteran Bobby Ryan makes the team and whether Michael Rasmussen’s injury will land him on the injured list. Rasmussen’s injury seems short-term, meaning roster room is in short supply unless Yzerman makes a major event.

Lucas Raymond Has Been Impressive

Raymond has been the best of the rookies, showing an offensive flair that the Red Wings could desperately use. It’s almost as if the youngster has a cloak of invisibility in the offensive. You don’t notice him and then he slides into a seam and launches a quick shot toward the goal.

You can come up with several reasons why the Red Wings shouldn’t rush him.  However, his offensive instincts might trump them all. If Raymond is sent to Grand Rapids, then he will likely be called up soon if he plays well.

Blashill has said he would like to have his team settled by Friday. The Red Wings’ opener is Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Blashill could send more to Grand Rapids tomorrow.

The Griffins will hold their first practice in Grand Rapids on Monday at 10:30 a.m. at Griff’s IceHouse at Belknap Park. They play their opener against Rockford Friday, Oct. 15 at Van Andel Arena. Practices are closed to the public but open to registered media.