Red Wings News & Rumors: Kane, Veleno & More

The Hockey Writers

The Detroit Red Wings are set to kick off the preseason Tuesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. In the meantime, catch up on the latest news and rumors, including more Patrick Kane talk, consistency in Joe Veleno’s game, season projections, and more.

Patrick Kane Rumors Update

The Patrick Kane-to-Detroit rumor surfaced again over the weekend – this time with The Hockey News’ Lyle Richardson suggesting that it wouldn’t be a good fit.

Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks
Patrick Kane skating with the Chicago Blackhawks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

A quick recap:

  • John Dietz of the Chicago Herald suggested that Kane would be interested in a reunion with Alex DeBrincat if there was interest on Detroit’s side as well.
  • Kane’s agent Pat Brisson commented that his client would prefer to play for a team that has a chance to win the Stanley Cup.
  • Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen added that Kane “has always been the kind of player that Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman respects. Hard-nosed. Skilled. Dogged. Relentless.”

I’m in agreement with Richardson – for a variety of reasons. But until Kane signs with an NHL team, don’t expect this rumor to go away.

During Monday’s press conference, Derek Lalonde was asked about Joe Veleno and what he wants to see from the young center this year.

“Consistency in his game,” Lalonde replied. Detroit’s coach noted that Veleno started the 2022-23 campaign on a high note, but saw his production decline toward the end of the year.

Joe Veleno Detroit Red Wings
Joe Veleno has looked good so far in training camp for the Detroit Red Wings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Regarding a more consistent approach to his game, Lalonde added that he’s “confident [Veleno] can do that.”

It’s an interesting situation for Veleno. He’s likely Detroit’s fourth-line center and should get some time on the penalty kill – consistency in this role is certainly achievable. But what next?

Dylan Larkin, Andrew Copp, J.T. Compher, and (possibly) Michael Rasmussen are ahead of him on the depth chart. Plus, Detroit doesn’t have a Pius Suter-type of depth player who can slide into a center role if Veleno moves up. Essentially, he’s blocked.

In my opinion, the Red Wings can reward a consistent Veleno with their call-up strategy. If a top-nine forward has to miss time, they could move him up and recall someone like Austin Czarnik to man the fourth-line center role, rather than calling up Marco Kasper or Elmer Soderblom for that top-nine spot.

In the meantime, Veleno needs to play a consistent game night in and night out.

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2023-24 Projections for the Red Wings

Over the weekend, The Athletic shared their season preview for the Red Wings, which included an 85-point projection and a 14 percent chance of making the playoffs. (from ‘Detroit Red Wings 2023-24 season preview: Playoff chances, projected points, roster rankings’ – The Athletic – 9/24/23)

Detroit Red Wings Celebrate
Are the Red Wings really only an 85-point team? (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Allow me to explain the rationale with a Marvel analogy. Think back to Avengers: Endgame when Doctor Strange was evaluating the 14,000,605 possible outcomes of the Avengers battling Thanos. Only one worked. And that involved giving Thanos the Time Stone. They followed that path and eventually defeated their foe.

Back to the Red Wings, there are a wide variety of outcomes for a handful of key issues. Will Dylan Larkin and Alex DeBrincat mesh on the top line? Can Jake Walman repeat his breakthrough 2022-23 campaign? Can Ville Husso step up? Can J.T. Compher make an impact? The list goes on.

Detroit’s less-than-stellar projection is based on the perspective that, for all of the questions above (and more), there is a high probability for each that the end result is negative. Essentially, this team has too much risk associated with it. That, and there are other teams in the Eastern Conference that have less risk.

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This jives with the betting market, too. BetMGM currently lists the over/under for Detroit’s point total at 85.5.

While The Athletic’s rationale makes sense, I think Detroit’s improved offense is understated. They’re going to score more with DeBrincat, Compher, and others joining the lineup in place of players who didn’t contribute much offensively. 

I’ll have more on this closer to the start of the season. I put together a statistical model that projects the scoring totals for Detroit’s players, and the results will be shared out soon.

Red Wings Training Camp Notes

With the preseason upon us, here are a few notes from training camp and the Red vs. White game:

  • It was no coincidence that Detroit’s coaching staff paired Simon Edvinsson with Jeff Petry and Albert Johansson with Shayne Gostisbehere to open up camp. Petry and Gostisbehere are great mentors and have roles similar to what’s expected from their prospect partners. Edvinsson, in particular, can learn a great deal from an all-situations workhorse in Petry.
  • Lucas Raymond was one of the three Red Wings that I identified as needing to step up this year. He was also one of the main standouts from training camp, earning high praise from Derek Lalonde and his teammates.
  • Detroit’s coaching staff rotated forward lines and defense pairs throughout camp as a test to see what clicks. It’s also a test of flexibility – knowing players can be effective with a variety of linemates/partners will allow the Red Wings to mix and match strategically throughout the season.
  • Raymond, in particular, jelled with Larkin and DeBrincat on Day 1, then thrived with Compher and Robby Fabbri on Day 2. The latter line combo gives Detroit two scoring lines, plus a defensive matchup line of Michael Rasmussen, Andrew Copp, and either Christian Fischer or Klim Kostin.
  • Raymond will play with Larkin and DeBrincat in Detroit’s first preseason game.
  • Olli Maatta looked great in the Red vs. White game. He’s out to prove that he shouldn’t be the odd-man out on Detroit’s reloaded blue line.
  • Simon Edvinsson should be considered a legit contender to start the season in Detroit with how he’s looked so far.

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