The Detroit Red Wings are still adding after acquiring center Mitchell Stephens from Tampa Bay for Detroit’s 2022 6th round pick.
The 24-year-old Stephens is known to Steve Yzerman, who drafted him back in 2015 during the second round when he was running the Lightning. With the departures of Luke Glendening and Darren Helm, a spot was open and Stephens is certainly a candidate to fill that role on a team that is seeking to increase its depth with younger players that fit Yzerman’s blueprint.
What Stephens Brings to the Red Wings
If not for injury, it seems that Stephens would have been more of a mainstay in the Lightning lineup during the playoffs. Seeing seven playoff games during the Bolts’ 2020 Cup Run, Stephens didn’t get a look in the most recent run. Tampa’s depth spoke to that as well as an injury that slowed Stephens down prior to the playoffs, but that won’t be an issue in Detroit where Yzerman is looking for players to fill out the roster.
Stephens is a 200 foot forward who may not score a lot of goals but will contribute where he can. If you look at the video below, that burst of speed in the neutral zone leads to his first NHL goal, and would definitely be a nice asset on the fourth line. You can see how he keeps up with the play off the initial save and doesn’t try to complicate the play–simply shooting and following up on the rebound to notch his first goal.
Without the competition he had in Tampa, it’s wide open for Stephens to center the fourth line. As it stands, Dylan Larkin, Pius Suter, and Michael Ramussen should be the first, second and third line centers respectively. Robby Fabbri could be interchanged in there, while Joe Veleno would be the biggest competition for Stephens for the fourth line center.
Being a right hand shot gives him an advantage as well, something Yzerman mentioned in several press conferences that he needed to add to the roster.
Stephens’ cap hit is a mere $737.5k, and he’ll be an RFA following the season.
It’s a neat pickup for Yzerman–providing depth at a very reasonable price and giving up little in the way of draft capital to get it.
Lashoff Returns to the Red Wings
In other Red Wings acquisition news:
Lashoff was “traded” to Tampa in the David Savard deal where Yzerman acquired Savard from Columbus just to eat salary and then flip him to Tampa. Lashoff was initially dealt to Columbus and then to Tampa in a deal that was quite the merry go round:
Lashoff never left the Griffins as Tampa opted to have him stay in Grand Rapids.