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Notes: Wings will miss Sheahan, welcome Wilson to the fold

Thomas Vanek returns to Detroit, now with Vancouver Canucks

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT - All of the Red Wings are sorry to see Riley Sheahan leave but they believe it could end up being a good move for him.

On Saturday, the Wings traded Sheahan to the Pittsburgh Penguins along with a fifth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft for left wing Scott Wilson and a third-round pick in the 2018 draft.

"First of all, you lose a great teammate, a great guy," captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "She has been a big part of this team and obviously when trades happen we know it's part of the business but you can't get away from you're losing a friend, too."

Wings coach Jeff Blashill also spoke to Sheahan and mentioned how the two came into Grand Rapids together.

"He's an awesome person, a great teammate," Blashill said. "He's been a real good player for this organization so I certainly wish him tons of luck. I think they've got a real opportunity up the middle for him. Obviously (Nick) Bonino left last year so there's an opportunity. Sometimes that's what players need. For us, we have Zetterberg, (Dylan) Larkin and (Frans) Nielsen up the middle and he couldn't get that same opportunity so I wish him luck."

Zetterberg agreed with Blashill that leaving could turn out to be a great opportunity for Sheahan with an excellent team.

"He will get the opportunity to play," Zetterberg said. "With the lineup we had here he really didn't get that chance. He will get that there. He has all the abilities to be a good player and produce more. He's already solid defensively, we all know that, and he can play in all situations, PK and power play. I'm sad but in a way I'm happy for him."

Trevor Daley was in a unique position because he knows Scott Wilson from having played with him the previous two seasons in Pittsburgh.

"A guy that plays the game hard," Daley said. "He does a lot out there. I think he's going to help us. It's obviously tough to see teammates go but obviously in this case I get a teammate back. Pretty cool."

Daley said he communicated with both Wilson and Sheahan.

"If (Wilson) needed anything, just let me know," Daley told him. "He's coming to a good spot. I texted Riley, too, to let him know that he was going to a good spot. Hopefully it works out for both guys."

Blashill said after the morning skate that Wilson was expected to arrive soon and he has him in the lineup tonight against Vancouver. Wilson will wear number 23.

"I was able to do some digging on Scott Wilson," Blashill said. "Obviously Trevor Daley played with him last year, Trevor said great things about him. He's a great person. But just the other people we talked to, I talked to his college coaches a little bit. He's a hard, simple, forechecking type forward that can score, that can play up and down your lineup. He spent time playing with Sidney. He's played up and down their lineup in Pitt. We need to be a good forechecking team and obviously when you have depth of scoring, it's a positive.

"Hopefully in the end it's a win-win for both organizations."

OTHER TRADE: The Wings made another move Saturday, sending defenseman Ryan Sproul to the New York Rangers in exchange for forward Matt Puempel.

Sproul had been playing with the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins, which is where Puempel will play.

"Certainly with Ryan, again, to me, hopefully for him, it's a fresh start and he's looking for an opportunity," Blashill said. "It was real unfortunate last year when we were out of the playoffs, I thought it was a good chance for him to really, really get that opportunity to play lots and he got hurt right away. That's the way it goes sometimes. You got to have a chance to play in order to succeed so maybe he'll get it there. We'll see."

General manager Ken Holland said the Griffins had a few too many defensemen to get them all playing time and they need their young defensemen to play regularly.

"Obviously that injury to him was tough last year," Zetterberg said of Sproul. "Surgery this summer. He is a skilled defenseman, big guy, great shot, offensive guy. For him to get a chance to move on as well, hopefully he will do good."

CANUCKS TONIGHT: Zetterberg is very familiar with a few of the Vancouver Canucks, especially twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin and Thomas Vanek.

Zetterberg and the Sedin twins are all from the 1999 draft and they have played against each other and together on Team Sweden for many years.

"We go way back in Sweden, too, before we all three got over here," Zetterberg said. "Spent a little time with them yesterday. It's always fun to play against them and hopefully they'll have a quiet night."

In 45 career games against the Canucks, Zetterberg has 14 goals and 23 assists.

Daniel Sedin has two goals, an assist and is minus-4 while Henrik Sedin has three assists and is minus-4.

In 53 games against the Wings, Daniel Sedin has 20 goals and 29 assists while Henrik Sedin has 10 goals and 38 assists in 54 games.

As for Vanek, who played well for the Wings last season before being traded to the Florida Panthers, he has three goals, one assist and is minus-2.

"As long as we don't go to a shootout," Zetterberg said with a laugh. "He's a really offensively skilled player. We all saw it here last year. It's going to be fun to see him here again. Glad he got a deal. He is a great player and will be a good player in this league for as long as he wants, so it's a challenge, got to minimize time and space and they got some other players who are pretty skilled when they get time. We got to make sure we play with good structure but also focus on what we do the best."

Vanek was a perfect 5-for-5 in the shootout with the Wings last season.

"Vanek to me is one of the most offensively gifted guys I've ever played with," Niklas Kronwall said. "The way his brain works, especially in the offensive zone, is like very few other players, how he was able to find solutions and scoring chances out of nothing. He's got a weird shot but it's so effective, you saw it on penalty shots and shootouts. He's still extremely talented."

Blashill said he knows Canucks coach Travis Green pretty well.

"I played against him in the conference finals my last year in GR and they want to play a north game," Blashill said. "He wants to play north the whole time, meaning get the puck out of your end, be in the rush every time, in the neutral zone don't waste any time, get it going back the other way. We better be ready to be on top of them, we better be ready to make them defend, we better be ready to reload like crazy and get back above them."

The Canucks are 3-3-1 and sit in fifth place in the Pacific Division.

LINEUPS: The Wings held an optional skate and Jimmy Howard was in the starter's net.

Howard is 13-6-3 with a 2.47 goals-against average and .917 save percentage.

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