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Todd Bertuzzi will be out indefinitely after being diagnosed with mono (per Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press). Dan Cleary is in the last year of his contract. Johan Franzen is still signed for the next while, but has become known as a streaky player. Mikael Samuelsson was added to the roster this year, but at 36, he is in decline.
All of this means that there are opportunities for younger players to fill those roles. It is just a matter of who steps up.
Jan Mursak, Darren Helm and Cory Emmerton are all under 25 years of age and they look to be first in line for more minutes.
The organization has several intriguing players in the minors. Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Landon Ferraro, Joakim Andersson, Francis Pare and Riley Sheahan have each put up impressive goal stats. Nyquist is leading the way with 14 goals and 40 points in 39 games.
The question is, when will these players get the chance to show if they belong in the NHL? The team needs an infusion of speed, energy and scoring and these players can provide that.
Of course, the other option with these young guns is using them as trade bait. The Wings obviously do not have room for all of them right now, but with the holes on defensive, their greatest value to the team might be in a trade to bring in some immediate help.