Detroit Red Wings: Bottom-six forward group needs a serious shakeup

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

If the Detroit Red Wings are going to continue to trot out Adam Erne and Frans Nielsen, expecting a better result, they are deranged. While I fully comprehend, as I assume most Red Wings fans do, that the team is not going to win many games by the time the 2020-21 season concludes.

However, there is absolutely no reason that some of these players in the bottom-six are deserving of the playing time they are receiving in any way. In a rebuild, some of these players are just going to be placed on the third and fourth lines to eat up ice time, but this is not needed with nearly six different players.

As it stands, there are at least three players between the current roster, taxi squad, and minor leagues that deserve a heck of a look. On the roster, forward Givani Smith deserves more ice time, which he is starting to see and make the most of it. But these other two deserve their chances.

Michael Rasmussen has been assigned to the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins, and he should be on the NHL roster trying to prove that he belongs. Taro Hirose is the other forward who deserves to be playing fourth-line minutes at a minimum.

It’s time the Detroit Red Wings shake things up in the bottom-six and move away from the Adam Erne and Frans Nielsen show.

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The Detroit Red Wings bottom six’s biggest issue comes from the lack of production from Adam Erne, Darren Helm, and Frans Nielsen.

Sam Ganger and Luke Glendening could be thrown into that group as well, but the biggest issues come from those three.

The combined group of those players above has all of two points. For context, Rasmussen and Hirose both have two points, making it four for that collective unit.

But of course, points are not everything because someone will make the excuse that they are “role-playing guys” in the bottom-six.

Erne, Helm, and Nielsen are a combined minus-four, adding in Gagner and Glendening that number jumps to minus-10.

Erne and Nielsen are pylons out there, Gagner has a role he fits on the fourth line, which is excusable, but the Red Wings do not need all five of these players clogging the bottom-six.

Michael Rasmussen has been productive, he has looked good, and there’s just no reason he should not be in the NHL playing for the Red Wings. Getting him opportunities to display that he can be that physical forward who gets things done in the offensive zone is crucial, but Blashill opts to go with the likenesses of Helm and Nielsen instead.

Taro Hirose, who is currently stuck on the taxi squad, deserves more than a look; he showed the appearance that he had settled in during the games he did play in. Hirose was making things happen, creating scoring opportunities, and even looked to have “settled in” being less jittery.

As was mentioned earlier, Givani Smith has seemingly started seeing some opportunities, so there is not as much of a complaint in that regard. But he should not be exiled back to the taxi squad or minors as soon as the opportunity presents itself; he deserves his chances to stick with the NHL club as well.

At this point, it is just hard to watch Erne, Helm, and Nielsen run amuck on the ice for twelve minutes a night when Hirose and Rasmussen are stuck on the taxi squad and in the minors, respectively.

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It is time for a change; let some of these guys work their way into the NHL, make some changes, and help the Detroit Red Wings make some steps in the right direction during the 2020-21 season.