Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

Improving Detroit's Power Play

10/02/2021 at 7:56am EDT

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

“You’re more evaluating individuals than you’re evaluating the unit,” coach Jeff Blashill said Friday. “What we’re trying to do is put individuals in spots where we think they can be successful. That’s one of our biggest things on the power play. So we’re putting them in those spots and then they have to execute. The challenge is they may have only practiced that morning in a pregame skate, so you don’t have a whole lot of chemistry.

“Right now, we have a whole lot of guys trying out for spots on the power play and if a guy is not excelling in a certain spot on the power play, we might try him somewhere else as the camp moves along. Guys have to grab those spots and find a way to show us that they’re going to make our power play better. There’s a lot that goes into that.”

Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi haven’t appeared yet in exhibition season, but Blashill said they’re cleared for contact (Larkin suffered a neck injury in April; Bertuzzi hasn’t played since January and underwent back surgery in April) and that “we’d like to get those guys in a game here soon.”

That’s two spots accounted for. There’s also Pius Suter (a newcomer who looked dangerous on his unit Thursday), Robby Fabbri, Filip Zadina and Sam Gagner. Presuming he earns a contract, add Bobby Ryan. (That’s all the more likely with Jakub Vrana sidelined at least through January because of shoulder surgery.)

Michael Rasmussen, Adam Erne and Givani Smith are candidates for the net-front spots. Lucas Raymond and Joe Veleno, recent first-round draft picks, skated with the Grand Rapids group Friday, a sign that's where they are likely to start the season.

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