The list of former Red Wings in the NHL playoffs isn’t that long this season, but there are some interesting names out there who could be important factors.
Certainly players such as Gustav Nyquist (Columbus), Andreas Athanasiou (Edmonton) and Petr Mrazek (Carolina) are players Wings’ fans will keep an eye on, given their up-and-down Detroit career.
Here's an alphabetical look at the former Red Wings competing in this summer's NHL playoffs:
► Andreas Athanasiou, forward, Edmonton Oilers (55 games, 11 goals, 15 assists in 2019-20): Sent to Edmonton at the trade deadline, Athanasiou had one goal in nine games with the Oilers before the pandemic struck. Could the time off have helped Athanasiou settle down and get comfortable with the Oilers?
► Jacob de la Rose, forward, St. Louis Blues (50 games, two goals, seven assists): Acquired for Robby Fabbri early this season, de la Rose provided the Blues with what they needed in a bottom-6 forward role. Could wind up going from the NHL’s worst team to the eventual Stanley Cup champion.
► Mike Green, defenseman, Edmonton Oilers (50 games, three goals, eight assists): The defenseman was traded to Edmonton at the deadline and injured his knee after one game. Green will be healthy and could settle a young Oilers’ lineup with his playoff experience.
► Nick Jensen, defenseman, Washington Capitals (68 games, no goals, eight assists): Jensen supplies the defensive conscience for a prolific Washington lineup that has all sorts of offense. Jensen appears to have been a quality, low-frills acquisition for the Capitals from the Wings.
► Petr Mrazek, goaltender, Carolina Hurricanes (40 games, 21-16-2, 2.69 GAA, .905 SVS): The Hurricanes have a lineup that might be good enough to surprise this summer. Can Mrazek, one of the most athletic goaltenders in the NHL, backstop this deep lineup to a Stanley Cup? When Mrazek is on, he’s as good as anybody.
► Tomas Nosek, forward, Vegas Golden Knights (67 games, eight goals, seven assists): The defensive forward has been a nice expansion draft pick-up and can be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. Nosek does the dirty work in a talented lineup.
► Gustav Nyquist, center, Columbus Blue Jackets (70 games, 15 goals, 27 assists): Nyquist proved to be a great free-agent fit and supplied the Blue Jackets with steady offense. With Columbus finally healthy, Nyquist and the Jackets should give Toronto fits.
► Brendan Smith, forward, N.Y. Rangers (62 games, three goals, five assists): Smith has switched from defense to being an aggressive fourth-line forward on a Rangers’ lineup that has rebuilt and retooled in quick fashion.
► Riley Sheahan, center, Edmonton Oilers (66 games, eight goals, seven assists): The former Wings first-round pick was a low-profile free-agent signing by former Wings GM Ken Holland and had a fine season in Edmonton.
► Tomas Tatar, forward, Montreal Canadiens (68 games, 22 goals, 39 assists): Tatar led the Canadiens in scoring, and if Montreal is to surprise against Pittsburgh, it can’t rely solely on goalie Carey Price. Tatar needs to match Pittsburgh’s top offensive players.
► Luke Witkowski, forward, Tampa Bay Lightning (12 games, one goal, two assists): Witkowski started the season in the NHL, but was in the minors when the pandemic struck. Might be added to the roster for depth.