There appears to be some disagreement about how Ericsson did last night in the Wings' prospects' loss against the Rangers'. Bruce MacLeod calls Ericsson's performance "subpar", but Sarah Lindenau, who has been doing some great work at Red Wings Central, says,
once again impressed with his physical presence and sound defensive game.Hm. Well regardless of Ericsson's performance last night, few prospects excite me more. And Ericsson's team leading 3 goals (as a d-man!) has Lindenau suggesting he could beat out the likes of Derek Meech and Brent Sopel for the final spot on the D. First of all, that's extremely unlikely since conventional wisdom is that you only let a young prospect on the team if they're playing every day - the exceptions being guys who can no longer be sent down and are on their last chances with the organization, like Meech, Hudler, or Kopecky. Ericsson certainly doesn't qualify.
Now, the question is, if Ericsson really knocks our socks off, does he take the a starting role? Maybe #4 alongside Nik Kronwall? Or perhaps #5, bumping out Brett Lebda? I could imagine Ericsson playing that well; he's clearly very talented and bound to be a top flight d-man for the Wings some day. But I would suggest that the Wings send Ericsson to GR no matter what, given the wall he hit last year. He had 22 points in his first 36 games, but just 7 in his last 31. Ericsson is still getting used to the length and the grind of the North American game, and we can't count on him to go a whole season this year. He needs another year in GR no matter what. Jakub Kindl though? I could see him winning a spot.
And as for Igor Grigor? MacLeod:
Igor Grigorenko needs to do a lot more to make this team. He had a sub-par game against the Rangers. He was above average in a tournament against 18-22 year-olds, a tournament that he could have dominated. He came to camp out of shape. There's still time for Grigorenko, but at the moment, the Red Wings' brass is not impressed.But Jim Nill, via Lindenau:
The Red Wings are happy with the play of Russian rookie Igor Grigorenko through three games of the prospects tournament.I'm not ready to panic, given Nill's statements. My guess? Grigorenko spends October in Grand Rapids, getting in shape and getting adjusted, then comes up to the big team when his out-clause kicks in on Nov 1. If he's ready at that point he jumps to the second line with Dats, if not he splits time with Hudler or Drake, a la the Hudler/Kopecky arrangement early last season.
The 5-foot-10, 209 pound winger has four assists and is a plus-1.
“He’s played pretty well,” Nill said. “He’s really got the head (for the game). He makes plays that guys aren’t ready for, but this has been good just to get him ready for main camp.”
If the Wings ate a roster spot and put up with Hudler before he proved himself, they'll do so for Grigorenko.