Detroit Red Wings: 4 players to elevate after the trade deadline

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Detroit Red Wings, Givani Smith
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The Detroit Red Wings need to recall Givani Smith.

Let me tell you; the Detroit Red Wings sure could have used a player like Givani Smith on Tuesday evening.  Veteran forward Bobby Ryan was buried from behind near the Nashville bench.  Sure, a penalty was called on the play, but not a single Red Wing player chose to intervene.

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Now, I know that the last thing a team struggling to score and deploy a respectable power-play needs to do is find themselves in the box with an offsetting penalty, but it would be nice to see some toughness.

That old-fashioned toughness can be provided by power forward Givani Smith.

The 23-year old Toronto, Ontario, Canada native played exceptionally well for the Detroit Red Wings when he had his chance earlier in the season, playing eight games recording four points.

A couple of months ago, when Tyler Bertuzzi was first absent from the Detroit lineup, Blashill actually elevated Smith to play alongside captain Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha.  Smith proved to be effective, quickly creating chemistry in a Bertuzzi-like role.

In fact, prior to being sent down to the Grand Rapid Griffins, Smith recorded three of his four points over his last five games, which leaves the roster decision to question.

Smith’s Corsi For Percentage of 43.7% won’t jump out at you, but primarily playing on a fourth line on an awful team with lesser skilled players won’t help elevate any puck possession metrics.

In nine games this season in the AHL, Smith has recorded three goals and six points.  If Yzerman can flip a couple of depth forwards, Smith should once again get the call.

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Still, I wouldn’t put it past the Red Wings to keep Smith in Grand Rapids for the duration of the season and fill the vacant roster spots with players like Neilsen and Filppula after the deadline.