Detroit Red Wings: 3 opening night roster surprises

(Photo by Jonas Ekstromer/ AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonas Ekstromer/ AFP via Getty Images) /

The Detroit Red Wings set their opening night roster and placed six players on their taxi squad.

As the COVID-19 shortened 2021 NHL season vastly approaches, the Detroit Red Wings have set their opening night roster with one spot pending.  General Manager Steve Yzerman is set to deploy a 22-man roster Thursday night as the Red Wings host the Carolina Hurricanes, one spot perhaps remaining for forward Darren Helm or the newly acquired defenseman Christian Djoos.

Both Helm and Djoos have been designated as ‘non-roster’ to start the season.  Helm has been sidelined since the second day of camp, deemed unfit to practice.  You hate to speculate, but it seems like this could be COVID-19 related.  I expect Djoos is just waiting for virus clearance after the Detroit Red Wings claimed the defenceman on waivers from the Anaheim Ducks.

The Detroit Red Wings goaltending tandem in 2021 will be the recently acquired Thomas Greiss paired with Jonathan Bernier, who enters his third season with the Red Wings.

Here are the 13 forwards who will start the season in Detroit.

Filip Zadina, Robby Fabbri, Anthony Mantha, Luke Glendening, Valterri Filppula, Bobby Ryan, Tyler Bertuzzi, Dylan Larkin, Adam Erne, Frans Nielsen, Mathias Brome, Sam Gagner,  and Vladislav Namestnikov.

Here are the seven defenders on the Detroit Red Wings’ opening night roster.

Alex Biega, Filip Hronek, Marc Staal, Patrik Nemeth, Jon Merrill, Danny DeKeyser, and Troy Stecher.

NHL teams are permitted to carry a four-to-six player taxi squad during the 2021 season due to the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.  Detroit’s initial taxi squad consists of Michael Rasmussen, Dennis Cholowski, Gustav Lindstrom, Givani Smith, Calvin Pickard, and Kevin Boyle.

Suprise one:  Unfortunately, after clearing waivers, Evgeny Svechnikov was reassigned to Grand Rapids rather than earning a spot on the taxi squad.

Suprise two: Forward Mathias Brome performed well enough to earn himself a spot on the opening night roster.  The 26-year old winger had been lighting it up this Winter playing in Sweden during the pandemic, recording four goals, 16 assists, totaling 20 points in just 23 games played.

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Suprise three: Alex Biega earned himself a spot on the opening night roster edging out Dennis Cholowski, who I’d hoped played his way into a more prominent role in Detroit’s top six right from the get-go in 2021.  It would be a good chance for Cholowski to see some ice time before February’s AHL season start.