The week ahead features a short homestand and then it’s back on the road for the Detroit Red Wings.
They take on the Nashville Predators on Tuesday at Little Caesars Arena, freshly rested after a week in Florida. The Wings went 1-2-1 in miniseries against the Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning, finishing the trip with a rousing 5-1 rout of the defending Stanley Cup champions. Other than the first 10 minutes of the first Florida game, it was, all in all, a good stretch for a team that has struggled as much as the Wings have.
That’s why this week’s stock watch has a preponderance of players who are on the upswing.
Thomas Greiss: Greiss began last week as the backup to Calvin Pickard, but was back in the starter’s role midway through the first period Tuesday. Greiss played his best game of the season in Sunday’s victory over the Bolts, capping his best week. He went 1-1-1 in four appearances, posting a 1.86 goals-against average and .941 save percentage. That’s the Greiss the Wings hoped they were getting when they signed him in the offseason for two years, $7.2 million — not the guy who has been on the downside of the stock watch multiple times.
Adam Erne: He matched his career high in goals Thursday and broke it Saturday when he netted his eighth of the season. He collected his fifth assist of the season on Sunday. Erne always works hard, and he, Luke Glendening and Darren Helm have developed terrific chemistry, forming one of the team’s most effective lines. To see Erne so confident with the puck — hanging onto it, making plays, taking it to the net — is a nice development, and is likely to lead to a contract extension.
Vladislav Namestnikov: Like Erne, Namestnikov had a good outing against his former team. He assisted on two goals Sunday, including what ended up being the game-winner. Namestnikov does a bit of everything, playing center and wing, and kills penalties. This was a good week for him, and hopefully a sign more production is coming.
Michael Rasmussen: He continues to impress, earning shifts in the top six and both the power play and penalty kill. The 2017 first-round pick scored his second goal of the season Sunday, and provided a screen on Marc Staal’s goal. He picked up his fifth assist Thursday at Florida when he used his 6-foot-6, 229-pound body to protect the puck along the boards and send a pass to Anthony Mantha.
Patrik Nemeth: He had two assists and was a plus-5 the past week, setting up Erne and Mantha in the first game against the Panthers, a 3-2 loss in overtime. The Wings allowed 10 goals during their games against the Panthers and Bolts, and Nemeth wasn’t on the ice for any of them. He’s a pending unrestricted free agent and could appeal to a contender looking for a reliable stay-at-home defenseman.
Evgeny Svechnikov: He has played well when given a chance, but the Wings showed where they value their 2015 first-round pick by exposing him on waivers again last week. (He also was waived before the start of the season). Svechnikov had to be put on waivers in order to be put on the taxi squad, which is where he spent Sunday — despite Robby Fabbri’s undisclosed injury, the Wings opted to go with 11 forwards rather than insert Svechnikov.
Calvin Pickard: He was a nice story while it lasted, backstopping the team to consecutive victories over the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 27–28. But a bad start by the team Tuesday left Pickard with ugly stat lines for this week, including a 14.50 GAA and .625 save percentage. With Jonathan Bernier (lower body injury) practicing, Pickard might not see much action again soon.
Contact Helene St. James at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.