It seems unclear about whether or not Daniel Alfredsson wants to come back to play hockey for the Detroit Red Wings or even when he might make his decision. We take a look at the Red Wings’ roster to see if Alfredsson is needed and who we’d like to see make it if he is absent.
Is Daniel Alfredsson needed for the Wings or should Ken Holland move on?
Chris Burke: They need him. The youth movement is exciting, but the Wings also need to make sure they have some reliable veterans on the roster — no, Danny Cleary does not count. Alfredsson can still put up points, especially if Detroit mixes and matches him in the lineup with a couple of those kids, so he plays 60ish games and then is ready for the playoffs. Let’s also not forget that he is a right-handed shot, hence his added value as a point man on the power play.
Assuming a contract for him does not break the bank, the Wings have to get this done.
Rob Starrs: I think having Daniel Alfredsson on the team is a plus any way you look at it. The Swedish veteran is, as Chris said, our big right handed shot on the power play. If he can stay healthy he could give the Wings around 20 goals this season. And with a great locker room presence and the leadership qualities every team needs, I think he still fits well in the lineup.
Max DeMara: Considering the lack of anything else added in the offseason, I think Alfredsson is a must at this point. People forget that he scored 18 goals last season, and was a nice player to have for the power play. Hopefully for Detroit, the veteran gives it a go for one more year. He can still be a significant player, and is conditioned well enough to make a difference for these Red Wings, who need a quality, consistent veteran presence up front. With him, the team can be a playoff squad again that could make a bit of noise. Without him, who knows what will happen.
Andrew Tomlinson: The Red Wings keep saying that Anthony Mantha will have a chance to make the Wings in training camp and if Alfie comes back I just don’t see how that is possible. Mantha is a somewhat polarizing player in the sense that people either firmly believe he should be on the team or firmly believe he needs more seasoning. I for one believe he needs to learn at the NHL level, Alfredsson has been injury prone and streaky for the Wings and I just don’t know how much he has left.
Where does Anthony Mantha fit in?
CB: I think Mantha fits where the Wings more or less have hinted all along that he fits: As a high-minors guy in 2014-15 and as a huge piece of the puzzle in the future. Just because he might open the season in the minors does not mean he’ll stick there — we saw enough proof otherwise last year. Giving him a little more time and keeping him in their back pocket for later in the year is not an awful strategy.
RS: I think we all know the truth here, he’s not going to see much NHL time this year, even though he should be brought up immediately and placed In the lineup. The track record for the Wings bringing up guys when fans want them has not been favorable, so I don’t expect a huge change. Unfortunately it appears he fits in as our top prospect in Grand Rapids and barring any noteworthy injuries he might only skate a few games in the winged wheel this season.
MD: It’s hard to say where Mantha fits in right now. Probably somewhere in Grand Rapids. Aside from having a breakout camp, I don’t see him making the big club immediately. That being said, if Mantha plays well with the Griffins throughout the year, there’s no reason the team shouldn’t consider calling him up at some point. It will be a delicate balance with him this year. Is he as good as last season’s record scoring shows? Maybe, but expect a bit of a learning curve this year.
AT: Where he fits and where he plays are two different questions. I think he fits in Detroit. We saw what having a young kid around can do for the whole team. It gives everyone a little pep-in-their-step and really provides some electrifying uncertainty to watching the Wings play. In the true “Red Wings Way” though, he will definitely play in Grand Rapids to at least start the season. The Wings have too many contracts as it is.
Who is the prospect you would most like see make the team?
CB: Ryan Sproul. Oh, the Wings want a puck-moving defenseman who shoots from the right side? Well, they have one. Sproul may be raw but he definitely offers more upside than Kyle Quincey or Jakub Kindl or Brian Lashoff. Hopefully, he’ll start the season strong with Grand Rapids so the Wings feel compelled to give him a shot.
RS: I am going to ride on Chris’ coattails here, Ryan Sproul is the right handed defenseman that Ken Holland and Mike Babcock so desperately covet, give the youngster a shot! There are plenty of prospect moving up the ranks but Sproul is the player who fills the void for this team right now. But as a PS: I want Mantha on the team, I just don’t think it will happen
MD: In my dream world, Petr Mrazek always comes from nowhere and steals the goaltending job from Jimmy Howard with elite play. But, since everyone knows that will never happen (regardless of how good Mrazek plays) I’ll stick with defense position and also go with Ouelllet. Since Detroit struck out on the free agent and trade market, they’ll have to hope that their rookie defenders are the real deal. Right now, it looks as if Ouellet is the one closest to being a difference maker. Detroit better hope so, because if not, they’ll have a tough time selling the youth to fans who expected a quality outside addition.
AT: I think most of us are going to go with a defenseman here and I want Alexei Marchenko on the team. THe kid seems like he has the size and speed to play the NHL level and really looks like he could fit in on this back line. He already has pro experience in the KHL and the NHL and I do not think would be wowed by the big Joe Louis lights. Additionally, being Russian, he has a built in mentor in Pavel Datsyuk and we just don’t know how much longer Pavel will be around.