Detroit Red Wings preseason lessons: Simon Edvinsson to minors; how other newcomers look

Detroit Free Press

Having needed the bodies, the Detroit Red Wings took care of some business Sunday and reduced their roster — including assigning Simon Edvinsson to the minors.

The Wings went 3-5 in preseason games, and got plenty of looks at young hopefuls. They were able to utilize two of them to get a look at a lineup that in large part will resemble the one that is introduced Friday, when the Wings open the regular season against the Montreal Canadiens.

Having so many exhibition games allowed new head coach Derek Lalonde to experiment with chemistry, but it also made it harder to judge certain areas. Let’s take a look at what we learned during exhibition season, who is still around and who made impressions:

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Roster reductions

Edvinsson, the No. 6 pick in 2021, was among players assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins Sunday; others were Jonatan Berggren, Albert Johansson, Jared McIsaac and Eemil Viro. Goaltender Victor Brattström was also assigned to the Griffins, a day after Sebastian Cossa.

Edvinsson had some good shifts during his five preseason appearances, but he’s only 19. Assigning him to the Griffins mirrors the path taken by Moritz Seider, who played in the AHL in his first year of North American hockey.

Elmer Söderblom, the 6-foot-8 forward who had two goals and an assist in five games, remained on the roster. Sunday’s cuts trimmed it to 32, but that included players who were placed on waivers — a group that includes Givani Smith and Taro HIro — and who will be sent to the minors if they clear.

Teams have to submit 23-man rosters by 5 p.m. Monday.

Special teams

Only so much can be discerned from how special teams perform during the exhibition because the units at times included players who won’t make the 23-man roster, and because the units at times weren’t facing NHL-caliber opponents. Still, for a team that has been so painful to watch during man advantages (14.6% over the last three seasons, 16.3% last season), it would have been nice to see more than three goals on 24 power play opportunities. There were games when the Wings had all NHL players on the units — like in the home game against the Penguins, when one unit comprised Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, Lucas Raymond, David Perron and Seider, and the other unit was Filip Hronek, Jakub Vrana, Dominik Kubalik, Filip Zadina and Michael Rasmussen. The Wings’ penalty kill allowed seven goals over 28 opportunities.

The new guys

Kubalik, a free-agent signing, stood out for his engagement. He made plays with the puck, shot it at every opportunity, dirtied it up around the net, and provided pressure on penalty kills. Plus he seems to have a positive effect on Filip Zadina; the two have looked good as linemates. For two years, $5 million, Kubalik looks like an excellent addition. David Perron had no points and six shots in four games — it will be interesting to see how he does once Andrew Copp, who missed the exhibition season recovering from core surgery, joins the second line, which will be for the opener. Ben Chiarot certainly looks like a good partner for Seider, someone who’ll enable Seider to play on his toes, which is when he is at his best.

More:How Robert Hagg being cleared affects Detroit Red Wings’ defense spots

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 latest book, “On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft,” is available from  Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

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