from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
While the coronavirus pandemic continues to threaten almost any plans, the NHL has a framework for a 56-game schedule, slated to begin Jan. 13. The Wings can start training camp on Dec. 31; it will be the first time the team will be together since practicing on March 11, the day before the NHL paused its season with roughly three weeks to go. Yzerman — now halfway through his second year as general manager — has made numerous changes to the team that finished 17-49-5, bringing in forwards Bobby Ryan and Vladislav Namestnikov, defensemen Marc Staal, Jon Merrill and Troy Stecher and goaltender Thomas Greiss.
Hence, Yzerman’s anticipation.
“We’ve made a lot of changes,” he said this week. “It will be interesting to see who plays with whom and how we do. I’m excited to see the team. I hope we’re improved from last year. I believe we will be improved; how much, I don’t know. I”m anxious to watch the team play. We’d love to get off to a good start — we all probably have our own opinion of what a good start for the Red Wings will be this year.
“But nonetheless I’m excited, and I really don’t know what to predict.”
One issue, right off the hop, is the uncertainty over whether the American Hockey League will be able to operate, given its dependence on attendance revenue. If not, what will happen to players that don’t make the cut out of camp? NHL teams are limited to 36 skaters at camp, and an unlimited number of goaltenders. Once the season begins, rosters have to down to 23 players, but there will also be a taxi squad, featuring no less than four and no more than six players.
That will provide some leeway, but there still could be tough decisions regarding prospects such as Michael Rasmussen, Givani Smith and Dennis Cholowski.