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Injuries Could Open the Door Wider for Detroit Red Wings’ Top Prospects

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The Detroit Red Wings’ growing list of training camp injuries could increase playing opportunities for the team’s top prospects and veteran Bobby Ryan.

Rookies Lucas Raymond and Joe Veleno and Ryan mightplay in the Red Wings’ opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning as much out of necessity as merit.

“It’s a whole bunch of (injured) guys,” Blashill said. “We don’t know who is going to be available and who’s not. We are taking it day by day.”

Blashill didn’t say who is injured. The injured players previously identified are Michael Rasmussen who has only played one preseason game and Givani Smith.  The severity of either injury is unknown.

“We will make decisions when we have to make decisions,” Blashill said, “and not before then.”

Defenseman Moritz Seider is the only top prospect considered a lock to make the team. Lucas Raymond and Joe Veleno are bubble candidates. Raymond posted six points in his first three preseason games and then was scoreless in the past three. He was a non-factor in the Red Wings’ 3-1 loss to Buffalo Saturday afternoon.

Veleno had played better as the preseason has worn on. Raymond is more offensively gifted and Veleno is the better all-around player.

Top prospects still in the mix for roster spots

Blashill said the top prospects have to make the Red Wings “way better” to make the team this season. He also said it should be obvious to everyone that they should be on the team. They probably haven’t done that every game, but they can make the Red Wings different if they are on the team.

Raymond, 19, boasts elite skill, an ability to hide in plain sight in the offensive zone. It’s as if he’s wearing an invisibility cloak. You don’t see him and suddenly he has fired a shot on goal or created a scoring opportunity.

Veleno has made himself more valuable this season by becoming stronger. He added several pounds of muscle. Veleno said it has helped him mentally and physically against bigger opponents. He is playing with overflowing confidence.

Both players can help Detroit, even if they aren’t completely ready.

Seider will make a few mistakes

Seider has played to mixed reviews. As a rookie, his talent shows on one shift and then defensive mistakes occur on the next shift.

“You are going to have the odd mistake because he is so assertive,” Detroit center Sam Gagner said. “It’s going to be really big for us for him to play like that. He has been really impressive – his poise with the puck, his ability to read the play…”

Top prospect Jonatan Berggren never really got going because he was injured early in camp. He was sent to Grand Rapids on Saturday. Goalie Calvin Pickard was also put on waivers. Presuming he will clear, Pickard will also be assigned to Grand Rapids.

Meanwhile, Ryan’s future still seems up in the air. The Red Wings like him and it still feels as if he can be a 15-plus goal potential given the right opportunities.

The Red Wings plan to keep eight defensemen, 13 forwards and two goalies. The eight defensemen seem set. Seider and Gus Lindstrom (no options left) are the young player additions. But veteran Jordan Oesterle has only played two preseason games. Is he one of the injured players?

The Red Wings have 13 players on one-way contracts, but Jakub Vrana’s long-term injury creates one opening. Does Rasmussen’s injury create a second spot?  Vladislav Namestnikov has also only played two games. Is he injured? Does “a bunch of guys” possibly injured mean three or four openings? We could know more Monday, or maybe not.

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