Analyzing the Red Wings’ Organizational Depth Heading Into 2024-25

The Hockey Writers

Prior to any offseason decisions, it is imperative for Steve Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings to take a moment to evaluate the depth of the organization. This analysis will shed light on both the strengths and weaknesses from a positional/role perspective.

We know the Red Wings need to improve team defense. They also need to increase high-danger opportunities offensively, while replacing departing players.

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How can they accomplish these objectives? Are there internal options ready to take on larger roles? Can free agents solve the issues at hand? Or is a trade needed? And in the event of a trade, what surplus can Detroit deal from?

To answer these questions, let’s dive into Detroit’s depth – first at the professional level, then focus on the collection of players and prospects aged 22 and under.


More Red Wings Offseason Analysis:


Red Wings’ Current Depth Chart

First, we’ll cover players from North American professional teams – Detroit’s immediate depth. The chart below ranks the players based on a full view of their abilities heading into the 2024-25 season. And note that the wingers and defensemen are sorted by handedness – left shot and right shot.

LW C RW

Michael Rasmussen Dylan Larkin Lucas Raymond

Robby Fabbri J.T. Compher Alex DeBrincat

Jonatan Berggren Andrew Copp Carter Mazur

Elmer Soderblom Joe Veleno  

Cross Hanas Marco Kasper  

Tim Gettinger Nate Danielson  

  Amadeus Lombardi  

  Alexandre Doucet  
LD RD G

Jake Walman Moritz Seider Ville Husso

Simon Edvinsson Jeff Petry Alex Lyon

Ben Chiarot Justin Holl Sebastian Cossa

Olli Maatta Brogan Rafferty Carter Gylander

Albert Johansson Antti Tuomisto  

William Wallinder    

Shai Buium    

Eemil Viro    

Up front, the Red Wings have great depth down the middle with Dylan Larkin, J.T. Compher, Andrew Copp, and Joe Veleno at center. They also have NHL-ready players beyond those four if Copp or Veleno shift to the wing.

On the topic of wingers, there’s a deficit. Patrick Kane, David Perron, Daniel Sprong, and Christian Fischer are all unrestricted free agents, though some could return – namely Perron and Fischer. Entering the 2024-25 season with two of Robby Fabbri, Michael Rasmussen, and/or Jonatan Berggren in the top six would be a risky proposition. Perron, if he returns, in the top six would be an overslot, too. In short, the Red Wings have several capable bottom-six wingers, and just two bonafide top-six wings in Lucas Raymond and Alex DeBrincat.

Jonatan Berggren Detroit Red Wings
Where does Jonatan Berggren fit in Detroit 2024-25 lineup? (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

It’s also worth noting that the Red Wings will likely employ a checking line once again next season. Andrew Copp’s end-of-year comments alluded to that. If/when Copp returns to that role, Rasmussen will likely join him. As for the other forward on the checking line, Joe Veleno and Elmer Soderblom are internal options. Fischer could be brought back, too, if the price is right. 

Defensively, there’s plenty of depth. There’s misalignment, too:

  • Moritz Seider is locked in as the first-pair right defenseman.
  • Simon Edvinsson should line up as the second-pair left defenseman and needs a defense-first partner for his aggressive style to blossom.
  • Jake Walman and Ben Chiarot can play on the top pair, but are better off lower in the lineup.
  • Chiarot and Albert Johansson can play both sides.
  • Johansson, Jeff Petry, Olli Maatta, and Justin Holl are best-suited on the third pair.
  • Seider shouldn’t be tasked with all the tough assignments; there needs to be better distribution there.

Based on the notes above, it’s fair to say that the Red Wings have several puzzle pieces on defense, yet some appear to be from different sets.

Detroit could get by with Walman-Seider and Edvinsson-Chiarot as the top four. It’s not optimal, though – running it back with the same group doesn’t exactly align with the objective to improve team defense. Quantity doesn’t mean quality.

Related: Detroit Red Wings’ 2023-24 Final Grades: Forwards | Defense

The same could be said for Detroit’s goalies. There’s risk in moving forward with Ville Husso and Alex Lyon as the tandem. The free agent market is thin, though, and trading for a bonafide starter doesn’t make a lot of sense with Sebastian Cossa getting closer to NHL readiness.

Red Wings’ Prospect Pipeline Depth

Next up are Detroit’s 22-and-under players and prospects. Please note that I said players and prospects – not just prospects. Those 22 or younger are likely ascending in their overall trajectory, regardless of which junior or professional league they’re playing in.

LW C RW

Elmer Soderblom Marco Kasper Lucas Raymond

Cross Hanas Nate Danielson Carter Mazur

Dmitri Buchelnikov Amadeus Lombardi Sam Stange

Dylan James Alexandre Doucet Kienan Draper

Noah Dower Nilsson Liam Dower Nilsson  

Emmitt Finnie Red Savage  

Max Kilpinen Theodor Niederbach  

Kevin Bicker Ethan Phillips  

Chase Bradley Owen Mehlenbacher  

  Brennan Ali  
LD RD G

Simon Edvinsson Axel Sandin Pellikka Sebastian Cossa

William Wallinder Andrew Gibson Trey Augustine

Shai Buium Anton Johansson Carter Gylander

Brady Cleveland Jack Phelan Jan Bednar

Eemil Viro   Rudy Guimond

Donovan Sebrango    

Larry Keenan    

Tnias Mathurin    

Kyle Aucoin    

Note: Moritz Seider (RD), Jonatan Berggren (LW), Albert Johansson (LD), and Antti Tuomisto (RD) are now 23 and outside the age range of this group.

The Red Wings have a deep and mostly balanced prospect pipeline. Looking at the forward group, there’s sufficient depth at center with Marco Kasper and Nate Danielson leading the way. And, of course, Lucas Raymond is a franchise cornerstone on the wing. But beyond these three, more firepower is needed. 

On defense, there’s volume and talent. When you factor in the three 23-year-old blueliners mentioned above, it’s clear that both sides have similar distribution of talent:

  • Tier 1: Moritz Seider (RD), Simon Edvinsson (LD), Axel Sandin Pellikka (RD)
  • Tier 2: Albert Johansson (LD), William Wallinder (LD), Shai Buium (LD), Andrew Gibson (RD), Antti Tuomisto (RD)
  • Tier 3: Brady Cleveland (LD), Eemil Viro (LD), Anton Johansson (RD)

Looking a few years down the road, the Red Wings will have an impressive blue line. The same could be said of their goaltenders – Sebastian Cossa and Trey Augustine are among the 10 best goalie prospects league-wide.

It’s worth pointing out that the Red Wings have a surplus of Tier 2 defensemen and Tier 3 forwards. After years of rebuilding, the cupboard is full. And at this point, it’s not preposterous to suggest that Detroit could use some of this depth to bolster the NHL roster. Trading a prospect or two wouldn’t decimate the pipeline – especially if those dealt likely won’t be part of the top two lines or pairings in the future.

Final Word

Yzerman said he wants to improve the team in all areas. The depth charts above show what he’s working with. 

It’s not unreasonable to say that this could be the most important offseason of Yzerman’s tenure as general manager of the Red Wings. There’s talent on the NHL roster and a burgeoning prospect pipeline. There are plenty of issues to navigate as well – salary cap constraints, misaligned blue line, and improving both offensive and defensive outputs.

The rebuild is over. Now it’s time to strengthen and solidify the organization.

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