The Detroit Red Wings were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Thursday night. We’ve known for a while that was likely to be their fate.
But even with that said, the last month of the season has been intriguing to say the least. Steve Yzerman did a good job of inadvertently keeping the fans interested.
1st Round Picks
It started with highly touted prospect Simon Edvinsson making his NHL debut on March 18. The tall defenseman has played in seven games total and scored his second goal in Thursday’s loss.
He’s rotated between the second and third pairing which has kept his minutes on the lower side. He’s only topped 20 minutes once. But he’s also saw some time on the penalty kill where the Red Wings hope he becomes a main stay.
Edvinsson is noticeable on the ice due to his height. But his game keeps eyes on him. He’s a fluent skater for his size and uses his stick reach to knock pucks away constantly.
He hasn’t looked out of place since being called up from the minors. Though he hasn’t been perfect, which was expected. The main question comes down to will he be on the team at the start of next season.
I think that’s certainly going to happen. Give the kid a full off-season with the team and another summer of getting bigger and better. He’ll be primed to break camp with the Wings.
Detroit’s first round pick from last year Marco Kasper was able to make one appearance before being shut down for the season with a lower-body injury. Kasper played in Toronto on April 2nd which is quite the place to make a debut.
He was less noticeable than Edvinsson has been. And not just because of his smaller stature. He played well defensively but didn’t really stick out with the puck. He’s only 18 years old and hasn’t had much experience on the smaller North American ice sheet. Nothing to be worried about with Kasper.
The Return of Ned
A player we haven’t seen in a while in Detroit that I was most looking forward to is Alex Nedeljkovic. With the injury to Villie Husso, Nedeljkovic was called up and given an opportunity to play. He made the most of it giving up only nine goals in three and a half games worth of work in March.
He also started that game against Toronto in which the Wings won 5-2. Ned hadn’t started a game for Detroit since he gave up five goals back on December 8th. Pucks were getting past him constantly earlier in the season. His save percentage wasn’t anywhere close to .900.
Nedeljkovic played well during his time in Grand Rapids and it was great to see him show good form with the Wings when called upon. He’s an unrestricted free agent this off-season and Yzerman will have to decide if he’s worthy of being 1B to Husso. This late run could’ve earned himself a contract extension.
Another youngster on a small heater lately is Lucas Raymond. The sophomore forward is on a three game point streak coming off of a three assist night on Thursday. It would be nice to see Raymond end the season on a high note with four games left.
He had six points in 13 games for the month of March including a -9 rating. He had one point in four games during February. The Red Wings would like to see months like that become rare moving forward.
For more from the author Jeramy Stover, check him out on Twitter here: @jstover96
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Photo Credit: © Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Network