Red Wings: Still Some Roster Decisions That Need Finalized

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The Detroit Red Wings exited the preseason with an even 4-4 record, and instead of giving more certainty about the roster, it created plenty of questions.

The roster is nearly finalized, but some injuries and stellar prospect performances have made decisions quite difficult.

Jakub Vrana’s absence in the lineup creates a longtime spot in the top-six forward group. Michael Rasmussen, projected as the third line center, is nursing a minor injury and could very well end up on IR to open the season. That frees up a short-term position at center, which is interesting, as the fourth line position has been one of the most competitive roles throughout the preseason.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few of the players that fans should keep an eye out for as roster decisions are finalized.

Roster Moves to Watch

Lucas Raymond: Even with a relatively quiet performance in his last preseason game, Raymond lead the team in exhibition points, with two goals and four assists in five games played. He was one of, if not the best overall offensive player for the Red Wings throughout exhibitor, showcasing not only his skills as a playmaker, but also illustrating his improved shot. After such a stellar performance and overall off-season, it’s going to be hard to send Raymond down to Grand Rapids. But it can be a fools errand trying to predict Steve Yzerman’s next move.

Givani Smith: Smith hasn’t really done much in the preseason. He’s projected as a bottom-six forward on the team, likely as a fourth liner winger, but he hasn’t done much to lock up that spot. Add to that a minor injury, and you have a downright bad exhibition experience for Smith. After signing an extension with Detroit, it’d be a pretty big disappointment if Smith failed to make the team and had to make his way down to Grand Rapids.

Bobby Ryan: Still on his pto, Ryan has certainly made a case to end up on the main roster on day one. Considering the current injuries on the roster, his last year with the organization and his performance in the preseason, it’s likely that Ryan ends up back in Detroit for another season. But it’s not a certainty.

Joe Veleno: Veleno had perhaps his best performance of the preseason against the Penguins, nabbing a goal and an assist in the 4-2 victory. Altogether, he scored two goals and two assists in six games while looking like one of the best forwards on the team most nights. His entire off-season has been one of the best of Detroit’s prospects; he’s extremely close to the main roster. Considering Rasmussen’s injury, there is a bit more space at center as well – although for a short term replacement, they might go with Carter Rowney and wait for a full-time position for Veleno. They could just as easily bump Mitchell Stephens up to the third line and put Velenonon the fourth. There are plenty of options for Detroit at center.

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