The loss of Mitchell Stephens (lower-body injury) means the Detroit Red Wings are down to 12 healthy forwards. As they embark upon a four-game road trip starting Monday at Columbus with a game against the Blue Jackets, it’s a virtual certainty that the club will reach down to their AHL farm club the Grand Rapids Griffins for help.
— Nolan Bianchi (@nolanbianchi) November 14, 2021
“I would anticipate at some point calling somebody up,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said.
As Men At Work once famously asked, who could be it be now?
Certainly, Joe Veleno will be the popular choice in the hearts and minds of the fan base. Maybe he could even catch a ride to C-bus with GM Steve Yzerman. He’s already served a four-game tour of duty this season, and like Stephens, is a center. However, Veleno isn’t someone who should get recalled to be Detroit’s fourth-line center.
Rookie Jonathan Berggren has posted 3-5-8 numbers in 11 games. However, he’s a left-winger, not a center.
Red Wings Should Recall Chase Pearson
When you get right down to it, the guy who is making the most sense to be the recall is Chase Pearson. Prior to acquiring Stephens from the Tampa Bay Lightning, Pearson was the guy the Wings were penciling in as the team’s No. 4 center. It’s the role the team is projecting him to fill as an NHLer.
— Grand Rapids Griffins (@griffinshockey) October 31, 2021
Certainly, Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill liked some elements of Pearson’s game in training camp.
“He’s a big body,” Blashill said. “He knows how to use his body. He’s got pretty good defensive instincts.”
The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder is showing 3-6-9 numbers through 11 AHL games. Pearson is also 24. His window to make something happen is smaller than many of the other prospects in GR.
Pearson will be a restricted free agent next season. Shouldn’t the Wings at least get a peek at him in the NHL before offering him a new deal? And opportunity to do that is knocking right now.
It doesn’t mean that Pearson will be the guy who gets the call. At the same time, it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s the one who in fact does.