Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

Opening Night Lineup

08/08/2021 at 7:19am EDT

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

The Wings take the ice for training camp Sept. 22 and begin their season Oct. 14. Here is an early projection for how they will look...

Line 3: Vladislav Namestnikov-Joe Veleno-Sam Gagner
Yzerman said in late July that Veleno, who played five games for the Wings after his season in the Swedish Hockey League ended, isn’t a shoo-in for a spot in Detroit. But Veleno looks poised to stake a claim, strengthened by the experience he gained playing for Malmö and by gotten significantly stronger. Gagner is a good fit because he’s a savvy veteran who keeps things calm. Both he and Namestnikov can take faceoffs if needed.

Line 4: Givani Smith-Michael Rasmussen-Adam Erne
Rasmussen took advantage of the opportunity he got last season to show he’s ready for the NHL. He’s filled into his 6-foot-6 frame and uses it to protect the puck. Smith brings physicality and the willingness to fight on behalf of a teammate. Erne is another thick body, and he rediscovered his scoring touch last season. This has the potentially to be a heavy line that grinds down opponents.

The others
Jonatan Berggren, the No. 33 pick in 2018, is the sort of creative forward the Wings need, and he’s got a good shot and drives the net. He is, however, waiver exempt, so he’d have to have a phenomenal camp to earn a spot in the lineup out of camp. Lucas Raymond, the No. 4 pick in 2020, projects to need some time in Grand Rapids. Mitchell Stephens, a late-July trade acquisition, could push for a spot in the bottom six. Veteran Frans Nielsen was on the outside looking in when training camp began last season, and probably will be the 13th forward. If it comes down to it, he could be placed on waivers and assigned to the minors. There’d be a little north of $1 million in salary cap relief, but the bigger gain would be a roster spot.

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added 7:28am, below, watch Robby Fabbri's season highlights.

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