Acquisitions Mitchell Stephens, Pius Suter pack scoring punch for Red Wings

Detroit News

Traverse City — The Red Wings returned to playing actual hockey Sunday, and saw some new players making positive statements.

Team White defeated Team Red 3-2 in a shootout at Centre ICE Arena. Free-agent acquisition Pius Suter and Dominik Shine scored goals for the White, while trade acquisition Mitchell Stephens scored both Red goals.

In the shootout, a 2-0 White victory, Lucas Raymond and Vladislav Namestnikov scored goals for Team White.

“Playing games is always fun,” said Suter, who signed with the Wings after the Chicago Blackhawks declined to retain the restricted free agent. “It’s not an exhibition game or something like that, but it’s fun to play and get into those things.”

More: Red Wings’ Jakub Vrana to see specialist about injured shoulder

Suter signed a two-year deal worth $6.5 million ($3.25 million cap hit) after scoring 14 goals with 13 assists in Chicago. He had options, but the Wings were his focus.

“There’s opportunity here, there are some spots open,” Suter said. “I want to play and I also want to help the team grow. There’s a lot of guys around my age (25) that you can grow up together and gain experience and win more games every year and go from there.

“They were interested in me and I felt it was a good spot and a great organization with a lot of history and definitely will be fun.”

Suter got position inside of defenseman Moritz Seider to a loose puck, drove to the net and beat goalie Calvin Pickard for his goal.

Coach Jeff Blashill likes what he has seen from Suter thus far in camp.

“He’s a real smart player, I’ve been impressed with him,” Blashill said. “He’s a very heady player. He won’t wow you physically. He doesn’t shoot it a million miles and doesn’t skate like crazy. But he’s a real heady player and super smart. He knows where to be … offensively and defensively.”

The Wings acquired Stephens, 24, from Tampa for a 2022 sixth-round draft pick.

After playing just seven games last season due to a knee injury, Stephens was excited to be back on the ice again.

“The pace was good out there,” Stephens said. “For me, it was getting to play with guys again and getting to play in a real game situation. It was exciting to have some of that competition and get that game-like feel.”

Stephens had a difficult time cracking the two-time Stanley Cup champion Lightning’s roster. The opportunity in Detroit is appreciated.

“I’m excited to show the players, management and staff what I can bring to the team,” Stephens said. “To show I can help the team win.”

Stephens showed quickness, an ability to get to the net, and a knack to change momentum with his speed and skating ability.

“The skating can lead to momentum and that’s important, momentum matters,” Blashill said. “He’s been involved, brought energy. He’s come to work every day and brings an element of speed. He’s a right (-hand) shot. If he can win faceoffs on the right side, it would be huge.”

Blashill held out Jakub Vrana (shoulder), Dylan Larkin (neck) and Marc Staal (rest) from Sunday’s scrimmage.

Both lineups had equal power play opportunities and shootout attempts, before a lively crowd.

“We did some things good and some things we have to be better at,” Blashill said. “It does guide you a bit, it gives you some feedback. You take everything with a grain of salt, and don’t make a big deal out of a good play or bad play.”

Twitter: @tkulfan

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