Montreal — The Red Wings needed an extra forward Tuesday just in case someone presently in the lineup, who is recovering from an injury, wasn’t available to play.
They decided to recall Ben Street, a veteran minor leaguer with a couple stints in the NHL. Street was sent back down to Grand Rapids Tuesday night.
Not Evgeny Svechnikov, or Martin Frk, or Matt Lorito, or Tyler Bertuzzi, younger players who have either have yet to play in the NHL, or have gotten brief looks.
Why not take a look at Svechnikov, the 2015 first-round draft pick with 17 goals and 40 points?
Coach Jeff Blashill explained there’s a reason the Red Wings want to keep prospects down in Grand Rapids.
Coach Jeff Blashill on what goes into deciding which players to promote from Grand Rapids.
“This is a situation where a guy (Street) may or may not play (Tuesday) and you sure don’t want guys’ first NHL game and potentially fly parents in and they don’t play,” Blashill said. “That’s one thing we’re very cognizant of.”
But more than that, Blashill doesn’t feel it’s good for a young player’s development to be continually shuttled back and forth.
“With younger prospects, and I’ve been in this situation a lot of times, they are way better just continuing to focus on playing down there and developing rather than the roller-coaster ride of up and down and up and down,” Blashill said. “A lot of times that type of roller-coaster hurts young players more than it can help them.
“We’re not interested in young players going through that roller-coaster if you can avoid that.”
The Griffins (40-18-1-4, 85 points) are leading the AHL’s Central Division by one point. That sort of tight playoff race, and potentially long playoff run can be beneficial, Blashill said.
“Keeping those guys in position where they’re having success is a real important thing and hopefully they can continue to finish this regular season strong and go on a long playoff run,” Blashill said. “That’s a huge thing for development.”
Since being acquired from the Red Wings at the trade deadline, forward Steve Ott has no goals and one assist in six games, with an even plus-minus rating.
Ott was a healthy scratch Sunday against Ottawa, but was expected to be in the lineup against the Red Wings.
…The end of Monday’s Buffalo game, said Blashill, was the best forward Anthony Mantha has played since being benched for two games the week before.
“I didn’t think prior to that he was moving his feet enough,” Blashill said. “When he skates he can be a great player, when he doesn’t skate, he’s not as good a player. The last two periods, he was by far the best I’d seen him since he’s been back.
“Much more skating and engaged and winning puck battles. You have to win puck battles and skate in this league in order to have success.”