The Detroit Red Wings have lost Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart over the summer and their attempt to patch up that massive hole with the signing of Ryan Suter ultimately failed.
It’s still possible that the Detroit Red Wings will make a trade for a defenseman, but at this point it’s more likely that they’ll have to look within for solutions. If the Red Wings’ current dynasty is to survive, guys like Brendan Smith will need to make smooth transitions to the NHL level.
Smith is an offensive defenseman who excelled at the University of Wisconsin and has been solid over the last two seasons with the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins. He also got a taste of the NHL last season and got seven points and 13 penalty minutes in 14 games.
According to Cap Geek, Detroit has just four defensemen currently signed to one-way contracts, not including Kyle Quincey whose still a restricted free agent, so this is a golden opportunity for Smith to make the team out of training camp.
“The other few years I wasn’t too sure (about making the NHL), and I was fighting for a spot, but they’ve pretty much told me I’ll be there (this season),” said Smith, according to the Detroit News. “The big thing is, I want to show leadership. I can show them what needs to be done to get to the next level.”
If he can do that, maybe Detroit will be alright next season.
Kyle Turris is gearing up for his fifth season with the Ottawa Senators, but this campaign will be a little different.
Ottawa announced that Turris will be joining Chris Neil as one of the team’s alternate captains. Turris is assuming that role from Chris Phillips as the 37-year-old defenseman remains out indefinitely due to a back injury.
Since being acquired from the then Phoenix Coyotes in 2011, Turris has established himself as one of Ottawa’s top forwards. He tied for second in the team’s scoring race last season with 64 points in 82 contests and gelled with rookie linemate Mark Stone.
With the Senators favoring a youth movement, Turris actually stands out as one of the Senators’ more experienced players at the age of 26. He’s also set to play a big role with the Senators for years to come as he’s locked to an affordable $3.5 million annual cap hit through 2017-18.
Meanwhile defenseman Erik Karlsson is getting ready for his second season as the team’s captain.
On the eve of their season opener, the Buffalo Sabres got another bit of bad health news.
Captain Brian Gionta missed practice and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, per head coach Dan Bylsma. The ailment puts the 36-year-old’s availability for Thursday’s game against Ottawa in jeopardy.
The ailment also puts Gionta alongside a slew of hurting Sabres. Defensemen Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges were on the injured list when Buffalo’ roster was released this morning, along with rookie Brendan Guhle and veteran Cody McCormick.
There is a bright light for Buffalo, however.
Gorges skated on Wednesday and could possibly dress tomorrow, per Bylsma. If he does play, it’ll likely be on a pairing with Rasmus Ristolainen.