Wings trade Wilson; Bertuzzi could be coming up
Detroit — Fans were clamoring for the Red Wings to make a trade after Saturday’s embarrassing loss in Montreal. They did — but probably not big enough to satisfy most folks.
The Red Wings made a minor personnel move Monday, trading forward Scott Wilson to the Buffalo Sabres for a 2019 fifth-round draft pick. Wilson was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins (along with a 2018 5th round draft pick) early this season for Riley Sheahan and a 2018 third-round draft pick.
So, in finality, the Sheahan trade became the Red Wings trading him to Pittsburgh for a third-round draft pick.
The Red Wings were hopeful Wilson, 25, could become a useful fourth-line energy guy. But Wilson had difficulty getting much ice time, and didn’t register a point in his 18 games with the Red Wings, with a minus-1 plus-minus rating, while playing averaging 7:28 of ice time.
With the trade, the Red Wings likely will call up a forward from Grand Rapids as soon as later this week. GM Ken Holland said he’d like to see “two or three” forwards from the Griffins get an opportunity in the spot and see how they play at the NHL level.
One could be Tyler Bertuzzi, who has expected to begin the season in Detroit out of training camp, but suffered a wrist injury in training camp. Bertuzzi has nine points (five goals) in 12 games in Grand Rapids.
Another possibility is Matt Puempel, who was acquired from the New York Rangers in the trade for defenseman Ryan Sproul. Puempel leads the Griffins with 20 points and 12 assists.
Red Wings fans wanting to see 2015 first-round pick Evgeny Svechnikov may have to wait. Svechnikov has four goals (two goals) in 17 games, with a minus-4 rating, since returning from an early-season neck injury.
The Red Wings concentrated on most of Monday’s practice on battle drills, after losing most one-on-one confrontations Saturday in Montreal.
“We’ve got to hold onto the puck more,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “That’s something you don’t get tons of chances to practice on through the NHL season because (of the schedule). So coming off a day off, it gives you a chance to go harder.
“We have to win puck battles and hold onto the puck more. When you do that, even if you don’t create tons of offense, you’re basically playing defense the other team isn’t creating any offense.
“As I watched the game (Saturday), we’d get in on the forecheck, we’d come up with the puck, and then we’d give it away by not holding onto it. That crushes your transition game.
Goaltender Jimmy Howard will start Tuesday against Winnipeg.
… Henrik Zetterberg isn’t blaming his 20-game goal-scoring drought on any injuries. “I do (feel good physically),” Zetterberg said. “I can’t blame anything like that.”
JETS at RED WINGS
Faceoff: 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit
Outlook: Winnipeg (17-6-4, 38 points) leads the Western Conference and has won seven of its last 10 games (7-2-1). … RW Blake Wheeler (28 assists, 35 points) and C Mark Scheifele (14 goals) lead the offense.