The Detroit Red Wings will undergo a massive roster overhaul before their next game, which is just their third of the season. Ansar Khan of MLive.com was the first to report that Detroit has placed four players on injured reserve and recalled four others to replace them. Forwards Andreas Athanasiou and Frans Nielsen and defensemen Jonathan Ericsson and Trevor Daley will all hit the shelf. In their stead, forwards Evgeny Svechnikov and Ryan Kuffner and defenseman Oliwer Kaski have been recalled from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins while recently-acquired defenseman Alex Biega will remain in Detroit rather than report to the minors.
The Red Wings will have a very different look when they host the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday, although not all that different. Athanasiou and Ericsson have yet to suit up for the team this season as they have both been fighting lingering injuries. In fact, Athanasiou’s IR placement is retroactive to September 20th, meaning he can be activated as soon as he is ready. Ericsson, Daley, and Nielsen will have to sit for at least seven days. Daley and Nielsen both left Detroit’s contest with the Dallas Stars on Sunday with injuries that apparently are more serious than originally thought.
However, this sudden rash of injuries does allow for the Red Wings to take a closer look at some of their depth players. Most notable is Biega, who was acquired from the Vancouver Canucks late last night, likely with these injuries in mind. The 31-year old defender played in 41 games for the Canucks last year, recording a career-high 16 points. Detroit has good depth on the back end in Grand Rapids, but Biega is the most experienced option and could work his way into a regular role with Detroit. Kaski is also an interesting figure on the blue line. The talented 24-year-old Finn was a near point-per-game scorer in the Liiga last season and may already be NHL-ready. Up front, Svechnikov is a name known by many, even though he missed all of last season with an injury. The 2015 first-rounder was once considered a surefire future Red Wing and he is out to prove he can still reach that expectation. Kuffner is looking to do the same; he got a taste of the NHL last season after wrapping up a dominant college career at Princeton University and wants to show that he is a player that belongs at the top level. So, while injuries to core players are never a positive, this could be an exciting time for Red Wings fans to witness a group of players who all want to win a regular spot in the Detroit lineup well past when their fallen teammates return to action.