In an offseason that saw the Detroit Red Wings overhaul their roster with several acquisitions came the subtraction of some players. Whether through trade or contract expiration the Red Wings saw some players that played a big role on the team last season leave the organization. The question is, how have they done since leaving?
Magnus Hellberg & Alex Nedeljkovic
Both of the Red Wings’ backup goaltenders from last season, Magnus Hellberg and Alex Nedeljkovic, left the team via free agency, albeit to the same team in the Pittsburgh Penguins. The two battled it out in the preseason for the backup role behind starter Tristan Jarry who signed an extension in the offseason. Nedeljkovic edged Hellberg out for the spot after a solid preseason but was short-lived due to a lower-body injury that he sustained on Oct. 25.
While healthy, “Ned” compiled a 1-1 record with a .904 save percentage (SV%). Since Nedeljkovic went down to injury, Hellberg has slid into the backup role and earned a shared shutout on Nov. 7 when Jarry went down with an injury late in the second period against the Anaheim Ducks. Overall, he has played in three games for the Penguins and has put up a 1-1 record with a .922 SV%.
One of the players included in the package Steve Yzerman sent to the Ottawa Senators for Alex DeBrincat, Dominik Kubalik has started to play like the player that many Senators fans hoped he could be, tallying three goals in his last five games. He has slotted himself into a third-line role with the Senators so far this season as well.
While he will not be able to fully replicate what DeBrincat is capable of doing on the scoresheet, Kubalik has proven in the past that he has a scoring side to his game. The Senators are hoping that his recent play can continue throughout the season and that he can become a vital piece for a team that is going to be fighting for a playoff spot, most likely with the Red Wings (hopefully).
After signing an extension with the Red Wings on July 1, there was a belief that Gustav Lindstrom was going to be given one last chance to prove his worth in the lineup. That ended up not being the case, as Yzerman shipped him to the Montreal Canadiens on Aug. 15 for fellow defenseman Jeff Petry.
Latest News & Highlights
While Petry has not been a massive fan-favorite so far this season, Lindstrom has struggled as he did in Detroit to crack the lineup with the Canadiens. So far this season, he has only suited up for two games while spending most of his time playing in the American Hockey League (AHL) for the Laval Rocket. He has played in four games for the Rocket while compiling a plus/minus of minus-6.
While Jordan Oesterle did not make a huge impact on the ice last season for the Red Wings, he did suit up in 52 games for the team before leaving via free agency to sign with the Calgary Flames. So far, he has struggled to stay in the lineup, having only played in four games this season while also spending the same amount of games in the AHL with the Calgary Wranglers.
After being buried behind a plethora of defensive prospects in Detroit, Donovan Sebrango became one of the pieces that was sent to the Senators in the DeBrincat trade. While only 21 years old, there is plenty of time for him to develop into an everyday NHL defenseman, but he has not had the best of starts to his time in the Senators organization.
So far on the season, he has only suited up once and that has been in the ECHL for the Allen Americans and tallied a goal in the lone game. The Senators organization has high hopes for the former third-round pick of the Red Wings, so time will only tell if they made the right call of pushing for him to be included in the aforementioned trade.
After two solid seasons with the Red Wings that saw him score 29 goals, Pius Suter was not re-signed by the organization amid the overhaul of the roster. This led to Suter signing a two-year deal with the Vancouver Canucks. While the Canucks have taken the league by storm so far with an 11-3-1 record, Suter has found himself getting hot the last few games.
While not on par with players like Elias Pettersson or J.T. Miller, Suter has tallied three goals in his last five games and is starting to play more like the player who recorded 14 goals in 55 games in his rookie season with the Chicago Blackhawks. He has also been able to bring energy to the third line of the Canucks in the young season.
Since being taken in the top ten of the 2018 Draft by the Red Wings, Filip Zadina was not able to live up to the expectations bestowed upon him during his time in Detroit. After being given a few chances to prove his worth, the Red Wings released him during the offseason and he has since landed in San Jose with the Sharks.
The Sharks have been the league’s worst team through their first 15 games, going 2-12-1. Zadina has been given another chance by the Sharks dressing in every game this season. But after a hot start, scoring twice in the first three games, he has cooled off and has only scored once since. Even with only scoring one time in the past 12 games, he currently sits tied for second on the Sharks in goals.
With the three goals so far this season, he’s matched his total from last year with the Red Wings in half of the time. But, he also has compiled the team’s second-worst plus/minus, sitting at a minus-16 so far. It is safe to say that Zadina has still not been able to get over the “bust” status that he earned while playing for the Red Wings.
Yzerman Made the Right Calls
Between trading away or letting these players walk in free agency, it seems as if Yzerman has made the right call with these players so far this season. While it is still early, the results for the players that have replaced the departed have vastly been better and have made way more of an impact on the ice for the team.