Detroit Red Wings eager for training camp, next season; but will Dylan Larkin be ready?

Detroit Free Press

The 2021-22 NHL schedule is expected to be released Thursday, and training camp in Traverse City is two months away — and at last, the Detroit Red Wings can interact with fans again.

Forward Robby Fabbri and coach Jeff Blashill represented the team Monday at a street hockey clinic at Patton Memorial Center in Detroit, the highlight of which was the smile on the face of 10-year-old Harold Washington, Jr., when it was announced he had won the draw to assist general manager Steve Yzerman in revealing the name of the team’s selection at No. 6 in the 2021 draft on Friday evening.

To be out and about among fans was a welcome change after more than a year spent restricted by the pandemic.

“This was a lot of fun, for sure,” Fabbri said. “We missed doing that throughout the year. I’m happy I’m able to do this.”

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Fabbri missed the last month of the season because of a concussion, but said he’s begun training and will be ready for camp.

“I’ve been training for a couple months now and everything is back to normal,” he said. “It’s nice to get healthy.”

Fabbri was one of multiple Wings who didn’t finish the the season because of injuries: Notably, captain Dylan Larkin was hurt when Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn pushed his stick into Larkin’s neck April 20. Larkin required hospitalization and a brace, and Blashill hedged about his readiness for Traverse City.

“He’s progressing in a manner that we think that he’ll be ready,” Blashill said. “Obviously in those two months, things happen, so I certainly would never guarantee anybody would be ready, because over the course of time, things can happen. But I know Dylan is at LCA on a daily basis, and I know he’s progressing.”

MORE ON CAPTAIN: Larkin feels ‘pretty lucky’ after injury forced him into neck brace

Blashill said the same regarding Tyler Bertuzzi, who didn’t play after a back injury in January and underwent surgery in April.

“They are in the same boat that way,” Blashill said. “They are moving at that rate together. They are beginning the process of skating, beginning the process of lifting.”

Camp will feature a new face in defenseman Nick Leddy, who was acquired Friday in a trade with the New York Islanders. Blashill was at dinner with his wife when Yzerman texted that the deal was done.

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“It adds a player who’s been a legit top-four defenseman for a long time in this league,” Blashill said. “I’ve known Nick a long time as a player. Obviously an excellent skater. He’s been part of an organization that wins in a fashion that we’re going to have to win like. Barry Trotz is one of the best coaches in the league. We’re excited about it.”

Leddy, a 30-year-old veteran who shoots left, and the thinking is he’ll be a good partner either for Moritz Seider, or Filip Hronek, both talented, right-shot defensemen. For a team that is very much still in a rebuild, it has potential to make the current team more competitive.

“We believe we’re on the upswing and when you add players like Nick Leddy, it hopefully accelerates that a little bit,” Blashill said.

Contact Helene St. James at 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 AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

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