Injured Robbie Fabbri is expected to return to the lineup Wednesday, with the Red Wings having to waive a player. Lalonde made it clear on Monday that he doesn’t think Jonathan Berggren, Joe Veleno or Elmer Soderblom will be there.
“I don’t see myself taking any of those three out until at least Wednesday,” Lalonde said.
These three players have been producing, especially in the last five games. They combined for three goals and 15 points.
The Red Wings have two separate decisions to make in preparation for Fabbri’s return after sitting out the first three months of the season. First, they must place Fabbri on the 23-man roster and then find a spot for him on the 20-man roster.
Goal #1 is the clear highlight reel of everything we know we’ll get from Soderblom based on his SHL days. However, you can’t ignore Veleno’s offensive zone pressure to force the issue and, of course, Kuby should have finished the game. #LGRW pic.twitter.com/AxpaNAoPkS
— Red Wings Rant (@Red_Wings_Rant) December 30, 2022
If Fabbri is ready on Wednesday, then we want to play him, “said Lalonde. “He is an important part of our team both on the ice and in the room. If so, after practice tomorrow, we will have to make a decision.”
Lalonde said there was a lot of discussion about the situation. The advantage of sending Berggren, Veleno and Soderblom to the minors is that they are exempt from waivers. If the Red Wings try to send someone else to the Grand Rapids Griffins, they will need to clear waivers.
GM Steve Yzerman will make the decision on who will be removed from the roster. One possibility is that Yzerman could clear the Red Wings goaltending position. They currently have three netminers on their roster. Wil Husso is the clear No. 1, and Magnus Hellberg has played the last three games because Husso is sick.
Alex Nedelkovic, an unrestricted free agent, could be a waiver wire. There is an opportunity to make a claim.
LaLonde said no decision has been made on layoffs.
“We talked a ton,” Lalonde said. “Since we’ve won three of our last four and played well, against some very hot teams, there’s a lot going on. Special teams will be a part of it. The evening game will be a part of it. I think fortunately it’s going to be a tough decision, it may be the wrong decision, but it’s clear that something is going to shake up here in the next 24 to 48 hours.
The second decision is which striker will come out for Fabbri. If the youngsters are to stay, Adam Erne or Pius Suter are options. But it’s not a slam dunk. Erne provides physical presence. He is leading with 102 points. Plus, he kills penalties. Coaches like Suter’s versatility and smart approach to the game.
The fact that the Red Wings are 3-1-1 in their last five games makes the decision difficult. Everyone is doing what they have to do.
More tough decisions are coming
“It’s unique that we can’t decide who that guy is going to be if Fabbri’s ready for Wednesday,” Lalonde said, “and there’s probably a lot of times where we make an easy decision on any given night.
This may not be the only difficult roster decision they face. Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Zadina practice with the team. Bertuzzi is full of energy in today’s practice. But Lalonde said their return is not yet imminent.
Bertuzzi can be hard to ignore with the energy he exudes.
“It’s a sign that he’s got his game in order, maybe he feels a little bit better than he expected,” Lalonde said. “At the beginning of practice, he was putting the putty on his hand to see how it felt. Literally, almost like a test, he was excited. Of course it felt good and by the end of the workout he was squeezing her to see how she would respond. I don’t know what will happen later. I think he brought some energy and I think he was happy with how good he felt in his first practice.”
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