Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Questions Before Camp

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Q: Seems like most of the roster spots are decided even before camp. Is there someone who might surprise in camp and steal a job from a veteran, other than maybe (Joe) Veleno? I’m thinking either (Lucas) Raymond or (Jonatan) Berggren. What are their chances?

A: On defense, their top eight is set (Danny DeKeyser, Filip Hronek, Nick Leddy, Gustav Lindstrom, Jordan Oesterle, Moritz Seider, Marc Staal and Troy Stecher), so their goaltending (Thomas Greiss and Alex Nedeljkovic).

There could be an opportunity at forward for a waiver-exempt player to step up and grab a job with an impressive camp and preseason.

Veleno might be in the best position based on his experience, which includes a five-game stint in Detroit at the end of the season. But Mitchell Stephens might have the best chance to emerge from the preseason as the fourth-line center.

Berggren, selected only three spots after Veleno in 2018, is someone to keep an eye on. He had a breakout season in Sweden’s top men’s league (12 goals, 33 assists in 49 games for Skelleftea). His speed and offensive ability could provide a spark if there is an opening at wing on one of the top three lines.

Berggren, 21, is two years older than Raymond and further along in his development. Raymond missed a significant chunk of the season with Frolunda due to elbow surgery and likely will need development time in Grand Rapids, as will Berggren in all likelihood.

Q: I don’t get it. We have a bevy of centers and not enough right wings. Centers – (Dylan) Larkin, (Pius) Suter, (Robby) Fabbri, (Sam) Gagner, (Michael) Rasmussen, Veleno, Mitchell Stephens (signed another when we already have a full house?). Right wings – Anthony Mantha (traded, .50 points per game), Bobby Ryan (.42 points per game, almost same as Mantha. Bobby was injured and did this). Gagner doesn’t even match Ryan’s production but Stevie (Yzerman) signs him again. Yzerman should have signed Bobby Ryan as a fourth-line or third-line RW that can still produce at almost .50 points per game. Am I missing something here?

read on

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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com