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Post Expansion Draft: How the Detroit Red Wings Look Before Free Agency

 06/22/2017 - 09:30

Could Drew Miller return to the Detroit Red Wings afterall?

It's possible after the Detroit Red Wings lost prospect Tomas Nosek to the Vegas Golden Knights in Wednesday's expansion draft.

Nosek was slated for the fourth line next year. Miller, waived last season before a late call-up, might just find himself with another offer.

Here's how next year's team looks as of today, including restricted free agents Tomas Tatar and Andreas Athanasiou:

Tatar-Zetterberg-Nyquist
Abdelkader-Larkin-Mantha
Athanasiou-Nielsen-Helm
Glendening-Sheahan-?

Dekeyser-Jensen
Kronwall-Green
Ericsson-Ouellet
Sproul

Howard/Mrazek/Coreau

The Wings have some in-house options for the final three forward positions, including Martin Frk, Tyler Bertuzzi and Evgeny Svechnikov. Plus, coach Jeff Blashill seemed to like Matt Lorito.     

Of that group, Tyler Bertuzzi is the best bet to make the lineup next year. He's the most NHL ready, especially for a checking line role. Mitch Callahan might be in line for his best shot yet at making the Red Wings, but the long-time AHLer has decided it's time to move on.

That could cause the Red Wings to reach out to Drew Miller one more time. They know he can handle fourth line and penalty killing duties.

Despite not being particularly strong down the middle, the Wings have numbers there - with Zetterberg, Larkin, Nielsen, Sheahan, Helm and Glendening.

One wonders if the Wings might make another offer for Thomas Vanek, who was surprisingly good (in the offensive zone, anyway). Holland loves retreads, so he could make an offer to the versatile Patrick Eaves, coming off a career high 34 goals.

Desperate to restore faith in the Red Wings' fanbase, maybe Holland overbids to bring TJ Oshie to town.

On defense, there are slim pickings. Kevin Shattenkirk is the big name, but he's going to create a bidding war.

Karl Alzner is another pretty enticing free agent. He's a stay-at-home guy but with mobility to go along with his size.

Maybe the Wings see if they can sign Dan Girardi to a reasonable one or two year deal, just to bring some defensive presence to the lineup. 

The other issue is goaltending. It's clear the Red Wings don't have Petr Mrazek in the plans, since he was exposed in the expansion draft. Jimmy Howard is presumed the starter, but he's not been healthy or reliable over the last three years. Jared Coreau started well during his call up last year, but he was quickly exploited.

The Wings won't carry three goalies and Coreau must clear waivers to get sent down.

The Wings will probably spend the offseason trying to deal Mrazek.

Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is operator of RedWingsNow

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