CLOSING

Dylan Larkin and Justin Abdelkader say the change should come from the boys in the locker room, after a 6-1 upset against Nashville, Nov. 4, 2019 in Detroit.
Helen St. James, Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Red Wings had a turbulent first month of the season, struggling to score and keep the puck out of their own net.

Many players are missing out. The optics – anemic scoring, porous defense, poor special teams – are ugly and that looks bad for Jeff Blaschill and his coaching staff. General Manager Steve Jermann made it clear that recovery will require patience and that he will not rush into anything. The organization knew it would be another season of lottery projects.

The squad has no talent – 16 games in a season, only Dylan Larkin, Anthony Manta and Tyler Bertuzi have double-digit points. The protective enclosure is exposed every night and the target cannot mask this.

Is there help in the way of minors? This is the focus of this edition of the Red Wings mail bag.

Is it a Bust of Philip Zadina? All I've heard since he was drafted is how gifted he is to the goalkeeper and how he "will fill the other team's nets with pucks." He can't fill a glass of water right now. What gives? – Matt, via email

HSJ: Only elite players – I think Connor McDavid, Austin Matthews – make an impact right away. Wings drafted Philippe Zadina into sixth overall in 2018. Five players drafted after Zadina are with their NHL teams at the moment and only one of them has made an impact. Defender Queen Hughes had accumulated 10 points in 13 games with the Vancouver Canucks (who selected him in seventh overall) before getting injured. The rest are recent calls or replacements for regular victims.

Do Wings Want Zadina to Be Further? Of course. But the team's staff is pleased with his progress with the Grand Rapids Griffins. He just went through a stretch where he scored two goals and two assists in four games. It's not fair to judge a player so early. Consider that Manta, another guy who wasted his points in adolescence, needed four years of development before it began to emerge as a threat to the NHL assessment.

As bad as the Wings play and as good as some of our prospects in Grand Rapids (Ras, Geno, Zadina, & Seider) seem to get longer look than just the end of the season? Maybe in the middle instead? If that continues. – @ HughG_3

HSJ: From talking to people in the organization, I feel that they believe the prospects are where they are in the AHL. Michael Rasmussen (who has an upper-body injury on a daily basis) had a good start to the season with two goals and five assists in six games. It is unlikely to be called unless the Wings need a center – the organization wants Rasmussen to feel comfortable in this position at a professional level. He played center in the teens, but played Wings last season with the Wings. Evgeniy Svechnikov (five points in five games with the AHL) is someone I could see being called up in the middle of the season if he has injuries – he is a year behind in his development, as he missed a last season injury. but his knee looked good and he was playing with an edge. While Zadina dominates the AHL level, he is better there.

More: The Detroit Red Wings look awful. What went wrong and who was to blame?

No hurry to call Moritz Cider. With Grand Rapids, it can adapt to a good pace in North America. That's where Iserman wants. Consider the steps taken to patch up the defense corps – trade for Alex Bega, call Joe Hickets and Dylan McIlrat. None of these are perspectives.


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