The time has finally come. After years of head-scratching decisions and frustrating signings, the Detroit Red Wings‘ youth movement is here. It’s come at a slower pace than many have expected, but it appears to be paying off. By playing it conservatively, the Red Wings have slowly injected younger players into their lineup. This allows them to slowly adjust to NHL pacing while learning from older, more experienced players. By avoiding a situation where the younger players are thrown into the fire, general manager Steve Yzerman has opted to play it safe and smart.
The Youth Movement in Detroit
It’s been a while since the Red Wings have seen a true youth movement. For years, veterans like Frans Nielsen, Justin Abdelkader, and Jonathan Ericsson have clogged the lanes for youth development. With Abdelkader and Ericsson out of the picture and Nielsen on his way out, an opportunity has arisen in Detroit. Slowly but surely, the younger players are seizing their roles on the ice. Filip Zadina has earned a role on the team’s top line. Michael Rasmussen has shown excellent prowess in redirecting pucks. Givani Smith isn’t afraid to pick a fight. Even Dennis Cholowski has begun to nudge his way onto NHL ice.
The Youth Movement So Far
The taxi squad system has allowed the Red Wings to create a revolving door for the rookies. This gives the young guns a chance to dip their toes into NHL ice without overwhelming them. So far, they appear to be running with the opportunity. Michael Rasmussen had the same amount of ice time as Dylan Larkin during April 3rd’s bout against the Stanley Cup-winning Tampa Bay Lightning. Evgeny Svechnikov is scoring at just a little under a point-per-game. Filip Zadina is fifth in Red Wings point totals. There’s a lot to love with the young guns.
Change Is in the Air for the Red Wings
Yesterday, the Red Wings called up Evgeny Svechnikov, Givani Smith, Frans Nielsen, Alex Biega, and Michael Rasmussen from the taxi squad. While this may seem like a paper transaction, it’s important to note that the NHL trade deadline is April 12. Many players on other rosters like Kyle Palmieri and Taylor Hall have been scratched to avoid injuries before they’re inevitably traded. The Red Wings will likely adopt a similar strategy with Bobby Ryan, Marc Staal, Luke Glendening, and Jonathan Bernier. With four potential roster spots opening up, the chance for one of the rookies to secure a long-term role is nigh.
What the Red Wings Youth Movement Means for the Future
The trust the front office is putting into the Red Wings youth movement is nothing short of promising. For the first time in what feels like forever, they’ve allowed the kids to flourish in their respective roles. Roster spots are ripe for the taking as the younger players seize the day. Next season will see the emergence of roster spots for Moritz Seider and, potentially, Jonathan Berggren. Putting the trust in the kids is the best way to aid a rebuilding roster. It allows them to relax and learn from their mistakes without the pressure of a playoff push. With a few years of rebuilding left for the Red Wings, the best thing the team can do is allow this youth movement to continue to bloom.
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