DETROIT – Time is running out for young players trying to win a roster spot with the Red Wings for the upcoming NHL season, which begins next week.
While many of the Red Wings’ youngsters are waiver exempt, one 23-year-old forward is facing an uncertain future as Tuesday’s 5 p.m. roster deadline approaches.
“You think about. If I said I didn’t I would be lying, but at the same time there’s a ton of guys here trying to make the team and they’re already on the team,” forward Landon Ferraro said following Wednesday’s morning skate at Joe Louis Arena. “There’s not a lot of room. At the end of the day I need to make sure I’m playing as well as I can and if there is an opportunity then I’m the guy on the top of that list.”
Ferraro, as well as forward Mitch Callahan, are out of waiver options, therefore, should they not make the Wings’ roster they’ll have to clear waivers before they can be reassigned to AHL Grand Rapids.
Both drafted by the Red Wings in 2009, Ferraro and Callahan are in tonight’s lineup against Pittsburgh. The Penguins, playing in their final preseason game, have a stout NHL lineup – sans Evgeni Malkin, who has an undisclosed injury – playing in Detroit
“Everyone that they have you’ve been watching for 4-5 years so you know what they can do,” Ferraro said about the Penguins. “I think the biggest thing for me right now is feeding off what I’ve done this preseason. I’m confident right now, which I didn’t have a lot of last year. I’m stronger and happy with where I’m at.
“(But) if I’m not moving my feet I’m useless. I need to make sure I’m doing that.”
Ferraro has produced one goal and a plus-1 rating in two previous exhibition games. His goal was Detroit’s only tally in a 3-1 loss to Boston last Saturday.
All in all, Ferraro feels he’s done everything humanly possibly to put himself in a good light, whether that’s making the Wings’ roster or drawing the attention of other NHL general managers in the waiver market for a good skater with excellent offensive instincts.
“I’m happy with how things have been going so far, but at the end of the day I can score six goals tonight, if there’s no room, there’s no room,” he said. “There are guys that have earned it and have been in the league for a while. I just have to make sure I play as well as I can so if there is an opportunity I can take it.”
TONIGHT’S TUNE UP: Henrik Zetterberg
Right Wing - DET
Goals: 28 | Assists: 20 | Pts: 48
Shots: 153 | +/-: 16
’s line with Johan Franzen
and Gustav Nyquist
will have a good test tonight when they face-off against the Sidney Crosby and the Penguins.
Coach Mike Babcock would like to see Detroit’s top line get things in gear offensively. Combined the trio has no points with 14 shots on goal and minus-2 rating.
“They got to get going,” Babcock said. “It’s just like everybody in exhibition. A lot of your veteran players, it takes them a while to get going. The urgency isn’t quite the same, even though they know they got to be ready to go. Our kids have won three (preseason games) and the big dogs are 0-1. That’s all part of whether you’re engaged or not.”
Nyquist will play in his first game since his knee-on-knee collision last Saturday with Boston defenseman Dougie Hamilton. Nyquist wasn’t injured seriously, though he was sore enough to stay off the ice for a few days.
Trying to get back in sync will be key for Zetterberg’s line, Nyquist said.
“Then I thought we had a good game against Boston, created a lot of chances, had the puck a lot during that game,” he said. “We played a little bit together last year and had some success. Obviously playing with two great players that like to hold onto the puck and make plays. At the same time it would be nice to produce some offense here before the real season gets started.”
The Wings line combinations and defensive pairings for tonight are:
Gustav Nyquist-Henrik Zetterberg-Johan Franzen
Tomas Tatar-Riley Sheahan-Tomas Jurco
Andrej Nestrasil-Stephen Weiss-Mitch Callahan
Justin Abdelkader-Luke Glendening-Landon Ferraro
Niklas Kronwall-Danny DeKeyser
Kyle Quincey-Jakub Kindl
Brian Lashoff-Nick Jensen
ERICSSON UPDATE: Jonathan Ericsson
Defense - DET
Goals: 1 | Assists: 10 | Pts: 11
Shots: 66 | +/-: 2
is recovering from a sore hip flexor that has kept him out of the preseason lineup since last Thursday.
The Red Wings’ defenseman skated Wednesday morning for the first time in a week and reported no pain or discomfort.
“I felt good out there,” Ericsson said. “I haven’t skated in a couple of days (and) I always know the difference after just a day or two. But it was nice being back out there and trying to get on the ice as much as possible before the season starts.”
Ericsson would like to play in at least one of the final two preseason games this weekend at Toronto and Boston. But he’s unsure what the coaches have planned.
Ericsson is also dealing with a diminished range of motion in his left middle finger, which was shattered late last season. Doctors surgically placed pins into the finger and repaired a damaged tendon.
“It’s like everything else, you adapt,” Ericsson said.
The biggest quandary that the finger could cause, Ericsson said, is in the corners doing battle for loose pucks.
“I can’t really have any excuses (if) I’m not winning the pucks for that reason,” he said.