After missing the playoffs for the first time in 26 years and with team captain Henrik Zetterberg set to turn 37 in October, the Red Wings must move in a new direction and have started their new chapter well by beginning to stock the cupboards for the future. Fantasy owners will need Dylan Larkin to build on his rookie season after an offensively disappointing sophomore season where he recorded just 32 points in 80 games last year. Zetterberg, last seasons point leader with 68, will once again be relied upon to be one of the offensive leaders on the team.
Detroit has had a relatively quiet summer in terms of their ventures into free agency. On July first the Red Wings signed mobile, veteran defenseman Trevor Daley and depth defenseman Luke Witkowski. Their most significant moves came from within from the resigning of Tomas Tatar on July 21st, young defenseman Xavier Ouellet and goal scoring prospect Martin Frk. Although discussions are still going on, Detroit has yet to resign RFA forward Andreas Athanasiou and RFA defenseman Robbie Russo as they try and work around some salary cap concerns.
TOP 10 FANTASY RANKINGS
1. Ryan Sproul – On July 24th Sproul began skating again after having surgery to repair his ACL but it is unclear whether or not the young defender will be ready for Detroit's season opener on October. He has the potential to earn a full time spot on the Red Wings but will be in tough after the team signed veteran defenseman Trevor Daley and depth defenseman Luke Witkowski not to mention Nick Jensen looking to have claimed a spot on the team. Although there was deficiencies in his game last season, Sproul is a right handed defenseman with offensive upside, something that all teams covet. In order to be sent down to Grand Rapids this season, the Red Wings would have to run the risk of losing the young defender on waivers.
2. Evgeny Svechnikov – Despite an incredibly slow start to the season where he had just 4 points in his first 20 games, Svechnikov was able to have a successful first season in the AHL tallying 51 points in 74 games. He has been praised for how quickly he learns and has arguably the highest offensive upside of any Detroit prospect. His defensive still needs improving.
3. Tyler Bertuzzi – Hard working, versatile forward that likely has the best chance of any of the Detroit forward prospects of making the team. His offensive game is still developing but Bertuzzi has the potential to play on different lines and in different roles at the NHL level. Did I mention that he was the named the 2017 Calder Cup MVP?
4. Jared Coreau – Coreau will enter the season as the number three goalie on the depth chart and will look to challenge Mrazek for the backup position. Mrazek had a disappointing season last year but if he impresses early then Coreau will likely be sent down to Grand Rapids through waivers. He made his NHL debut last season playing in 14 games with Detroit and won the Calder Cup with the Griffins in June. With 25 of the NHL's 30 teams using at least three goalies last season, don't be surprised to see Coreau get into some games with the Red Wings regardless of where he starts.
5. Robbie Russo – Calm, smooth skating defender who made his NHL debut this season playing 19 games with the Red Wings. He has become one of the leaders on the back end for the Griffins and has tallied 71 points in 129 regular season games in his first two seasons in the AHL. The Red Wings still have not signed Russo