Red Wings Coach Jim Blashill is confident that Niklas Kronwall will be healthy for training camp despite missing the upcoming World Cup of Hockey. The Swedish defenseman bowed out of the fall tournament because of a lingering knee injury that sidelined him for 15 games last season. Kronwall says the knee isn’t 100% but there is nothing surgery can do at this point.
Having Kronwall back is a boon for the Red Wings as they will be right up against the cap season and have little money to spend on replacements. Right now Detroit exceeds the cap by $4.2MM, but expects to place injured Johan Franzen and Joe Vitale on LTIR, saving approximately $5M in cap space. The Wings did not acquire any defensive help this offseason, so losing the veteran Kronwall would be a huge blow.
If the Red Wings had to replace Kronwall they would do it from within, and hope that a Xavier Ouellet or Brian Lashoff are able to make the jump to the NHL. There is still time to re-sign Kyle Quincey to a contract, but GM Ken Holland will have some salary maneuvering to do to fit the UFA defensemen under the cap. Look for the Red Wings to make more salary cap-based trades this season if Kronwall has to miss any significant time.