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Red Wings’ roster moves get weird: Emmerton remains in NHL, Ouellet recalled to maximize LTIR space

And then things got weird. When the Red Wings finally released their 23-man roster list, it included Patrick Eaves on the LTIR...And Xavier Ouellet recalled from Grand Rapids as an 8th defenseman, as well as Cory Emmerton still on the NHL roster.

According to Capgeek, the Red Wings have absolutely no cap space right now and $3.275 million on the long-term injured reserve list.

Why did they do so? Here's the rub, per the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:

Cory Emmerton thought he was heading to Grand Rapids after clearing waivers Monday, but he remains on the roster because Eaves went on long-term IR.

The Wings also needed to add defenseman Xavier Ouellet and goalie Jared Coreau to the 23-man roster in order to reach the cap limit.

In order for teams to get cap relief from long-term IR, a team must use up all of its cap space and roster spots first.

“We’re ready to go,” Holland said. “We have 23 able bodies as the coaches’ disposal. We’ll evaluate the roster as we go.”

Once Tootoo returns, which could be as early as Friday, Ouellet could be heading back to the Griffins.

Submitted rosters to begin the season must be in place for only 24 hours before more shuffling can be done.

Emmerton was passed up on the center depth chart by Joakim Andersson and therefore made him a candidate to go to the minors if he cleared waivers.

“Cory’s come a long way, but really what got a little bit in his way is Andy got a little bit in his way,” Babcock said. “That’s just the way it is. We felt Dan Cleary was a guy we needed on our team. We’re in a cap situation that isn’t friendly until you get things worked out.”

As the Free Press's Helene St. James notes, Eaves and Helm will have to miss either 24 days of time or AND 10 regular season games, whichever comes first, so...

"By submitting a roster that included Emmerton and Ouellet, we maximized our cap space and our 23-man roster," general manager Ken Holland said.

Nyquist was the only forward who could be sent to the minors without being exposed on waivers. It's not an ideal situation, given his NHL-level skill, but it also isn't permanent.

"We like Gus, and he'll be with the team sooner or later," Holland said. "Unfortunately we've got some difficult cap issues and we're going to start out the way we're going to start out, and we'll sort it out as we go."

Nyquist didn't like the news, coach Mike Babcock admitted, but it's a good opportunity for growth.

"Adversity is not about the decision made, it's about how you handle it," Babcock said. "You choose your attitude. Justin Abdelkader had the same thing happen to him. Jonathan Ericsson had the same thing happen to him. It's not the first time that's happened here. I'm sure he's very, very disappointed, but I know him good and he'll go down and be a real good pro and he'll be prepared when he gets the opportunity."

Helm's $2.125 million salary and Eaves' $1.2 million salary trimmed enough to get the Wings just below the $64.3 million ceiling for 2013-14. It's complicated, but in essence, the salaries of LTIR players do count against the cap, only without penalty. A team is better off being close to the cap, if there are players on LTIR to start the season, because that allows the club to continue to operate with as high a budget as possible.

Eaves is dealing with a sprained knee. He hasn't even started practicing yet, so being out at least three weeks is a reasonable time line. Helm has battled a sore back dating to last season and a pulled groin dating to just before training camp began this season. There's no timeline for his return, and Helm sounded like he thought it was the right move to go on LTIR.

Quoting Pleiness...

“I don’t know when I’m going to be ready,” Helm said. “This gives me the opportunity to relax – not relax – but keep my mind off being ready now. It was kind of getting close to some pressure put on me, this takes some pressure off and get better at a little slower pace, might be better for my body.”

Helm participated in another full practice on Monday, centering a line with Drew Miller and Mikael Samuelsson.

“I need to string together a few of those before I feel like I’m ready to play,” Helm said. “I’ve only played four periods in the last 18 months. This will give me some time to get a little bit of a training camp, I guess, give me an opportunity to get ready, get in some skates, do some stuff after.”

Players placed on short-term injured reserve (minimum seven days) provide no cap relief, but it does open up a roster spot, while long-term trips (minimum 10 games and 24 days) provide cap relief.

Tootoo and Gustavsson are on the STIR.

“I’ll be playing this year, I’m confident in that,” Helm said. “Fairly small improvements throughout the whole process of injuries that have gathered up but I do feel it has gotten better the last week or so. Every day I keep doing a little more. Hopefully in a couple of weeks I’ll be 100 percent and ready to go.”

Helm, who played one game last season, has yet to be cleared for contact due to his back.

“I’m doing pretty much everything that everyone else is doing, maybe a little lighter weight,” Helm said. “That’s another thing I need to build up before I get playing. I don’t think a week or two will give me that opportunity to be at that level. Long-term will give me a chance to take some pressure off myself and go at my own pace and be ready.”

Tootoo and Gustavsson spoke to MLive's Ansar Khan about their respective statuses...

General manager Ken Holland said right wing Jordin Tootoo will start the season on short-term injured reserve but is close to returning. It's retroactive to Sept. 19, so he can come off IR at any time.

“I’m feeling better. The shoulder is coming along,'' Tootoo said. “You don’t want it to keep lingering on for the style I play. It’s better to be 100 percent rather than go in and aggravate it again. Today’s practice was pretty intense for me. Added a little physicality in there for me and it felt good.''

Backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson took the ice after practice, the first time he's faced shots since hurting his groin on Sept. 21.

He will be placed on IR and has no time frame for his return.

“Groins are a special thing for goalies because you really have to be 100 percent,'' Gustavsson said. “You can't really go out there if you feel a little sore. You won't be able to play as good as you want and you might make it worse. That's why we're taking it slowly, not trying to force anything.''

And Holland told Khan that Eaves, who has both a sprained MCL and a sprained ankle after a wacky collision in practice, is simply too banged-up to "go":

“Had a conversation with Patrick Eaves and he felt he wouldn't be ready to go in the next 2-3 weeks, he needs the necessary 10 games and 24 days on long term IR to get ready,'' general manager Ken Holland said. "We were able to maximize our 23-man roster and cap space.''

The Windsor Star's Bob Duff spoke with Coreau about his status as the Wings' back-up...for now...

Forwards Darren Helm (back, groin) and Patrick Eaves (knee/ankle) were place on the long-term injury list, meaning they must sit out a minimum of 10 games. Forward Jordin Tootoo (shoulder) and goaltender Jonas Gustavsson (groin) were placed on the regular 14-day injured reserve list.

Centre Cory Emmerton cleared NHL waivers but instead of being assigned to Grand Rapids, is expected to be in Detroit’s lineup for Wednesday’s season opener at Joe Louis Arena against the Buffalo Sabres. Meanwhile, goaltender Jared Coreau and defenceman Xavier Ouellet were recalled from Grand Rapids.

“They just want to give me some more practice time,” said Coreau, who played for Grand Rapids in Sunday’s AHL pre-season game at the WFCU Centre against Lake Erie. “I’m going back down to Grand Rapids soon and Mrazek will probably come back up.”

In fact, it’s expected that the two will switch places before Wednesday’s season opener.

The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan reiterated Babcock's comments about Nyquist, whose wavier eligibility will expire when he plays in two more NHL games...

"Adversity is not about the decision made, it’s about how you handle it and choosing your attitude right,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Justin Abdelkader had the same thing happen to him, Big E (Jonathan Ericsson) the same thing. It’s not the first time that’s happened here. I’m sure he’s very disappointed. But I know him good, and he’ll go down and be a real good pro and be prepared when he gets the opportunity.”

Nyquist had three goals and three assists in 22 games with the Red Wings last season. During the playoffs, he had two goals and three assists in 14 games.

Coreau will practice with the Red Wings for the next couple days but likely will be returned to Grand Rapids before the Red Wings' season opener Wednesday against Buffalo.

Ouellet is one of the Red Wings' promising defensive prospects but his stay on the present roster is also for salary cap reasons. He'll likely go back to Grand Rapids in a matter of days -- and another round of roster moves likely will take place.

The Macomb Daily's Pleiness spoke with Tomas Tatar about his likely status as a healthy scratch come Wednesday (Wednesday's game only airs on NBCSN, and there's no word as to whether we'll see the pre-game introductions prior to puck drop between Detroit and Buffalo)...

Tomas Tatar made the roster, but knows the question is when will he get in the lineup.

“I know the chance is coming, so just have to wait for a spot and when it’s open just grab it and hold it,” Tatar said after practice Monday.

It appears Babcock will sit Tatar in the season opener, opting to go with a more veteran look as Andersson will center Todd Bertuzzi and Cleary.

“I’m out of the lineup right now, but I don’t know what will happen to the Wednesday, so just wait for a chance,” Tatar said. “I’m the youngest guy in the locker room, so I wait and when chance comes I’m going to grab it and hold it.”

Tatar, 22, was the American Hockey League MVP last season, scoring 16 goals to go with five assists in 24 games.

“I like him,” Babcock said. “I think he’s a good player. He’s a very usable player, has a knack for the net. But early going in the season, tie goes to the veteran not to the kid. That’s just life. It’s amazing how that works. We’ll get it worked out.”

And Holland offered some cap talk to DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:

Monday’s moves were necessary for the Red Wings to get the roster down to 23-players and become compliant with the league’s new salary cap of $64.3 million

Forward Gustav Nyquist and goalie Petr Mrazek have been assigned to the team’s AHL affiliate, and veteran grinder Patrick Eaves (MCL, ankle sprain) and center Darren Helm (lower back) are on long-term injured reserves, while backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson (groin) and agitator Jordin Tootoo (shoulder) have been placed on seven-day injured reserve, retroactive to when they were injured.

Eaves and Helm are out for a minimum of 10 games, Holland said. By moving Nyquist to Grand Rapids, and placing Eaves and Helm on LTI, the Red Wings are compliant with the cap.

“The cap is very complicated,” Holland said. “IR gets you a roster spot. Players on IR, their money counts against your cap. When you put a player on LTI you get a roster spot plus they're off the cap. The other guys we're going to put on IR, but it doesn't matter (if it's long or short term). You can put somebody on LTI a week from now.”

Detroit also recalled rookie defenseman Xavier Ouellet and goalie Jared Coreau. Both are expected to make impacts in their first AHL season with the Griffins.


The Wings’ roster now consists of 13 healthy forwards, eight defensemen and two goalies. With Helm on LTI it clears a space for a goalie from Grand Rapids to backup starter Jimmy Howard.

Gustavsson skated with the goalies after practice on Monday, though he will not play Wednesday. Coreau was called up Monday morning from Grand Rapids and practiced with the Wings' goaltenders. Holland isn’t sure who will back-up Howard on Wednesday, but it will either be the former Northern Michigan University standout or Mrazek.

“Gustavsson is on IR, don't know if he's going to be hurt longer than one week or if he's on IR, but he's not playing Wednesday,” Holland said. “So we'll have a backup goalie other than Jonas Gustavsson on Wednesday.”

So the Wings have to spend to the cap's daily limit to maximize their LTIR space...Which means that we're likely to see a significant amount of shuffling over the next couple of weeks, given that Tootoo and Helm may be the closest to returning.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


RhymeTimeWingsDings's avatar

My poop feels like mind

Posted by RhymeTimeWingsDings on 09/30/13 at 10:25 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

The only people who like the salary cap business are the 30 CPA’s and Actuarial’s who keep track of this Sh##.

Posted by Down River Dan on 09/30/13 at 10:31 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

There’s a reason that the Red Wings’ assistant general manager used to be their capologist, and he happens to be an attorney who LOVES MATH.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/30/13 at 10:40 PM ET


I said this in another thread, but ...

What’s stopping Detroit from, as soon as its 24 hours are up, demoting Emmerton and Ouellet (cutting about $1.1 million), reactivating Tootoo (who can come off IR at any time) and recalling Nyquist?

Roster spots work out. Cap calculations seem to work out to the best of my knowledge.

The fact that Holland is saying stuff like “sooner or later” on Nyquist’s return makes me think I must be wrong, but I don’t see why this wouldn’t be a legal maneuver.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 09/30/13 at 10:47 PM ET


blame Fehr for this mess not Bettman. this rule keeps 23 men on the roster at all times for capped out teams. can’t use 20 or dress 18 like they have in the past. it also means players will not get as much back in escrow.

Posted by jkm2011 on 09/30/13 at 10:50 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

As the Free Press’s Helene St. James notes, Eaves and Helm will have to miss either 24 days of time or 10 regular season games, whichever comes first

Helene is wrong. It’s and, not or.


such that the Club’s physician believes, in his or her opinion, that the Player, owing to either an injury or an illness, will be unfit to play for at least (i) twenty-four (24) calendar days and (ii) ten (10) NHL Regular Season games...

It’s a pedantic point and won’t matter because it can fit retroactively, but it’s not either/or (although it’s good that it’ll apply retroactive, because if not, then both Helm and Eaves would be required to miss the Senators game on the 23rd, which would be the 11th game of the season, but would be within the 24-day period).

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/30/13 at 10:55 PM ET


Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/30/13 at 10:55 PM ET

I’ve learned not to take anything the media says about CBA rules at face value, ever, without double-checking it myself. I have seen Khan, St. James, and many more make far too many errors—great and small—and repeat them over and over for me to think they have any authority on this topic.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 09/30/13 at 11:01 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I needed to know that, J.J. Thank you—seriously.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/30/13 at 11:03 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

So perhaps more egregious than Nyquist not being one of the top 12 forwards… how does Tatar start in the press box on Wednesday while Emmerton is on the ice? Drew Miller, Justin Abdelkader, Henrik Zetterberg, and Johan Franzen can all play center.

Tatar was, at worst, one of the two best forwards in the preseason. Emmerton was unnoticeable.

I think it is safe to say for at least the first 10 minutes of game one, we will see:

Abdelkader - Datsyuk - Zetterberg
Alfredsson - Weiss - Franzen
Bertuzzi - Andersson - Cleary (?)
Miller - Emmerton - Samuelsson (?)

Don’t the bottom two lines look way better with Emmerton out, Miller in his center slot, and Bert (who has looked ready to play) riding shotgun with Tatar and Andersson?

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 10/01/13 at 09:14 AM ET

Figaro's avatar

And Holland told Khan that Eaves, who has both a sprained MCL and a sprained ankle after a wacky collision in practice, is simply too banged-up to “go”:

  “Had a conversation with Patrick Eaves and he felt he wouldn’t be ready to go in the next 2-3 weeks, he needs the necessary 10 games and 24 days on long term IR to get ready,’’ general manager Ken Holland said. “We were able to maximize our 23-man roster and cap space.’‘

And by Eaves said he felt he needs the 10 & 24, he actually means Kenny told him he’s going to be sitting for 10 & 24.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 10/01/13 at 10:02 AM ET


Bertuzzi - Andersson - Cleary (?)
Miller - Emmerton - Samuelsson (?)

Those are really horrendous lines but I don’t see anyway around it if Z and Pav stay together. Miller at C? there’s a 100% loss in the face off circle.

Can we please do a conditional 7th round draft pick for Tootoo? Conditional as in…he makes the flight to his new team? Anyone? Please?

Posted by AZWinger on 10/01/13 at 12:27 PM ET

perfection's avatar

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 10/01/13 at 09:14 AM ET

with the amount of ice time our fourth line gets, I think it makes sense to dress Emmerton so we can keep the top two lines in tact, hopefully allowing them to start developing some good chemistry (Dats and Z excluded obviously).

with that said, I can’t agree with you more about Tatar sitting. I just don’t get the logic. We are clearly a better team with him on the ice. I get that “ties” go to vet, I just don’t get what vet was remotely close to tying him in level of play.

I would simply swap Tats and Sammy, then swap Tats and Bert on the lines. Emmerton is plenty solid to center the fourth. There’s no need to blow up all the lines to accommodate that one position on the line that gets the least ice time.

but dammit, Tatar should be out there. I keep reminding myself that he’s only 22 and perhaps that has something to do with all of this. Hell, even Nyquist is 24, which is a big difference.  You get the sense Babs might be doing some serious Coaching with him, playing mind games with him. It’s easy to forget that 22 year olds are definitely still just kids, so who knows where there are gaps in Tats’ maturity. but these mind games need to be over in the first month or two of the season. By Thanksgiving, I expect to see a thriving, solidified third line with Gus and Tats playing together and hope it stays like that for the rest of the season. I actually think it’ll happen.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 10/01/13 at 12:31 PM ET


Can we please do a conditional 7th round draft pick for Tootoo? Conditional as in…he makes the flight to his new team? Anyone? Please?

I would say he’s worth a conditional 7th if the condition is that he has to score 100 goals this season in order for Detroit to get the draft pick.


Posted by Garth on 10/01/13 at 12:36 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.