Detroit — There was no practice Sunday, but that doesn’t mean the front office and coaching staff had a restful day.
The Red Wings need to finalize their roster by 5 p.m. Tuesday, and to that end, they took a major step Sunday with a flurry of moves helping them to get to a salary cap compliant roster.
Some of the highlights:
■ As expected, forward Michael Rasmussen was assigned to his junior team Tri-City in the WHL.
What wasn’t expected was how good Rasmussen looked the entire month of September, from the prospects tournament, to training camp, and through the exhibition games.
There were questions and concerns about draft analysts about the 6-foot-6, 220-pound center, but Rasmussen squashed negative perceptions of his skating and speed, and didn’t look out of place among NHL players (Rasmussen scored a team-high four goals).
Suddenly, the expectations are Rasmussen easily could crack the NHL roster next autumn.
■ Goalie Jared Coreau was placed on waivers, and will be assigned to Grand Rapids (AHL) if he clears by noon Monday.
He’s the third goalie in the organization, behind Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek, but somewhere else Coreau could project to be an NHL backup.
Coreau was promoted to Detroit last season when Jimmy Howard was injured. There were definite highs and lows, with Coreau going 5-4 with an unimpressive 3.46 goals-against average and .887 save percentage.
Many scouts believe the 6-foot-6 Coreau can be a serviceable backup, which would be fine for several teams looking for a No. 2.
Goaltender Tom McCollum, who was waived Saturday, cleared and was assigned to the Griffins, giving the Red Wings some organizational depth.
Forwards Ben Street and Matt Lorito, and defensemen Dylan McIlrath and Brian Lashoff were also were waived, and will be sent to Grand Rapids, if they clear as expected.
■ Of the notable professional tryouts in camp, PA Parenteau was released, but David Booth survived for at least another day.
The Red Wings wanted to take a look at Parenteau, 34, and see whether he could strengthen their power play and provide offense in what probably would have been a limited role.
But Parenteau couldn’t gain traction, and never seriously threatened to make the roster.
Booth (Washington Township/Michigan State), 32, will have a conversation Monday with the Red Wings regarding his future.
It appears Luke Witkowski, who was signed to a two-year free agent contract in July, has secured a roster spot. Witkowski provides a physical presence, and is versatile enough to play both wing and defense.
Booth has played the last two seasons in Russia’s KHL, but didn’t look out of place playing mostly fourth-line minutes in exhibition games.
But the Red Wings — even once Johan Franzen (concussion) goes on long-term injured reserve — remain so close to the salary cap ceiling, there may not be enough room for Booth as an extra forward.
■ Still no Andreas Athanasiou.
The restricted free-agent forward remains in a contract stalemate with the preseason ended. Athansiou is looking for approximately $2.5 million per season — the Red Wings offering about $500,000 less than that.
With no Athanasiou, forward Martin Frk capitalized and earned a job on the Red Wings roster after impressive turns on a line with Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha.
Once — or, if — Athanasiou ever signs, someone like Frk, Witkowski or defenseman Ryan Sproul, could be on the roster bubble again, given the salary-cap restrictions.
■ Defensemen Niklas Kronwall (groin) and Nick Jensen (right thumb), who are day-to-day, and their status for Thursday’s regular-season opener is unclear.
■ The Red Wings assigned defensemen Joe Hicketts, Dan Renouf and Vili Saarijarvi, forwards Axel Holmstrom, Dylan Sadowy and Dominic Turgeon to Grand Rapids, along with forwards Colin Campbell, Matt Ford and Dominik Shine, who were released from their tryouts.