The Detroit Red Wings have put forward Pavel Datsyuk on the injured reserve list. The team made the move on Sunday and expects the future of Hall of Famer to return at some point in early November.
The Wings also put Danny DeKeyser, Darren Helm and Alexey Marchenko on the injured reserve list, plus they sent 11 players down to Grand Rapids.
Datsyuk had ankle surgery in June of this year and his landing on the IR shouldn’t surprise anyone. The 37-year-old Russian had 65 points in 63 games last season, including 26 goals. And he added five points in seven playoff games. He continues to drive the offensive attack for the Red Wings and one has to expect he’ll be back to business as soon as he can step on the ice.
But for the immediate future, this opens up some opportunities for head coach Jeff Blashill and his hockey team.
One consideration is Dylan Larkin, who signed with the team over the summer. With Helm and Datsyuk on the injured reserve list, the 19-year-old Michigan native could see the kind of ice time he requires for development. The Red Wings drafted him 15th overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and he began his collegiate career in the 2014-2015 season with the Michigan Wolverines. Larkin won numerous awards at that level before signing his three year entry level deal with Detroit.
But the Red Wings have 15 healthy forwards, which is one more than they’ll take into the 2015-2016 season. And with the Larkin the only one who can get sent down to Grand Rapids without clearing waivers, he may have to pull some magic to make the final cut. Right now, he could benefit from seeing more minutes in the AHL.
Another issue here is that the Red Wings are looking for some cap relief. They are right up against it, even with Andy Miele, Mitchell Callahan, and Brian Lashoff waived.
This could mean putting players like Datsyuk and Helm on the long-term injured reserve list, which would increase the team’s upper cap limit as long as said players are on the LTIR. The player(s) must remain on the LTIR for at least 10 games in order to see the cap hit added to the aforementioned upper limit, which buys time but doesn’t solve the overall problem.
The Red Wings have to submit their 23-player roster on Tuesday like everybody else. And like everybody else, there will be much manoeuvring and tap-dancing as the season rolls along.