IT’S RUMOR MONDAY!!!
What exactly is Rumor Monday? I’m not sure, but somebody is excited about it.
I guess the basic idea is that there are credible, roster-changing rumors out there, yet to be explored.
What Rumor Monday is not, is a recap of 6-0 losses. Or overreactions to one game. Or recaps of news that doesn’t deal with roster changes.
Got the idea? Neither do I. Let’s do this anyway:
Rumor No. 1: Toronto’s Cody Franson for a middle round pick?
The Red Wings decided to pass on buyout-baby Wade Redden, who signed with St. Louis. That may have been because they were exploring their options with Toronto’s Cody Franson. The Free Press’ Helene St. James thinks the 25-year-old defenseman could be had for a third or fourth round pick.
Franson was a third-round draft pick of Nashville in 2005. He made it to The Show four years later, playing with the Predators in 2009 and 2010 before being traded in the off-season to Toronto.* Franson played 57 games for the Maple Leafs last season.
Rumor Smell: more than slightly funky. St. James had to pull the name from somewhere and Franson isn’t exactly being thrown around in fake trades on ESPN. Add that with there being no reason Franson’s agent would float out some oddly specific scenario about being traded to the Red Wings and there might be some truth to this one.
The problem is, it looks a little too enticing. If I’m the Red Wings I make the move ASAP. Franson isn’t going to wow anybody with any aspect of his game, but he’ll be average. He’ll contribute about 20 points offensively and be pretty solid in the defensive zone.
Toronto was 29th in the league in goals against last season. They’re also under a new GM. New GMs who have teams that are terrible defensively don’t give up on 25-year-old, four-year veteran, NHL defensemen. My guess is that if it happens, it happens much later in the season and it’s for more than a third-round pick.
Rumor No. 2: Brian Lashoff to make his NHL Debut?
Jonathan Ericsson stepped on a puck in practice, causing him to fall into the boards and injure his shoulder. He’s day-to-day.** If he can’t play that bottom spot on the roster is open. If Jakub Kindl is still injured, Brian Lashoff may get the call up from Grand Rapids.
Rumor Smell: A faint whiff of funk. Kindl missed a few practices with a sore groin but is back skating now. But Kindl hasn’t exactly impressed in his few years with the club. If there’s any indication that he’s still injured management might say ‘screw it,’ and give Lashoff a shot.
Lashoff, 22, wasn’t drafted and signed with the Red Wings in 2008. He doesn’t have much upside — Hockey’s Future has him as a bottom-pair defensemen at best —but right now, he’s the most NHL ready the Red Wings have in their system. If someone is getting the call up, it’s going to be him. My guess: he gets called up, sits as a healthy scratch and goes back down.
(UPDATE: Lashoff has been called up. Ericsson a gametime decision. If he can’t go, Lashoff will make his debut.)
Rumor No. 3: Joey MacDonald back with the Red Wings?
This is a less juicy rumor, and it’s really only semi-rumor. I know. Rumor Monday isn’t exactly off to a flying start. It will get better. I promise. Actually I can’t guarantee anything. Rumor Monday is out of control. It just does what it wants. Anywho, getting back to the rumor/near-rumor: Joey MacDonald is on the comeback trail.
The bulging disc in his back that has prevented him from skating since August is healing. MacDonald is confident he’ll play this season, but doesn’t know where.
Rumor Smell: FUNKY. The Red Wings have two NHL goalies in Jimmy Howard and Jonas Gustavsson and three young goalies they’re trying to develop in Thomas McCollum, Jordan Pearce and Petr Mrazek. The Red Wings won’t want MacDonald down in Grand Rapids taking up minutes and don’t appear to have room for him on the big-league club..
His only hope is for an injury. He got a minor one with Gustavsson going down, but wasn’t ready in time, resulting in McCollum getting the call up.
Let’s recap: Joey MacDonald, a career minor leaguer, is called into emergency action, plays pretty well (seriously, .912 save percentage, 2.16 GAA isn’t bad), probably the best he’s ever played in the NHL in his life. The Red Wings like him so much that they go out and sign a backup goalie to take his place. He asks for a trade. The Red Wings can’t find a partner. Now, a 32-year-old goaltender with a bulging disc, who hasn’t skated since August, who no one wanted before, says someone will want him now. I don’t believe it. You had a good run Joey. It’s just time to give it up.
Confirmed Roster Moves
*(Fun Fact: The defenseman Toronto gave to Nashville in the four-player deal? Former Red Wing Brett Lebda.)
**(Jonathan Ericsson got injured in the most Jonathan Ericcson way ever.)