Though the Detroit Red Wings failed to make the playoffs again in 2018, it does not mean they don’t have some representation out there. There are a handful of former Red Wing players who are on current playoff teams and could be a source of admiration for Detroit fans looking for a team to cheer on. Here is a list of players who recently donned the winged wheel sweater but are making an impact on teams looking to take home the Stanley Cup.
The biggest name on this list is the one that was most recently moved. Tomas Tatar was a staple as a wing in Detroit over the past few seasons, playing in over 60 games per year for the team since 2013. Tatar was one of the better goal scorers on the team in his tenure here, even leading the team in goals in 2016. But, his time for the Red Wings came to an end at the 2018 Trade Deadline, as he was moved for a bundle of picks to the Vegas Golden Knights. This gave Tatar a chance to take his talents out west and make an impact on one of the best teams in the league. He finished the second half of the season with six points and average ice time of around 15 minutes per game. While he has not had quite the same level of success in Vegas, he will be able to see what he can do in the postseason, an area where he has shined for Detroit (seven points in 12 games for the Wings from 2015-2016). Tatar was a fan favorite here in Detroit and there is little reason why that has to stop in Vegas.
Another former Red Wings that is a member of the Golden Knights is Tomas Nosek. While he never made a large impact on the Red Wings roster, he has played well for Vegas. He had 15 points in the regular season and was a player who was a nice bottom six forward for their team. Nosek is mostly remembered by Red Wings fans for his time in the AHL as a member of the Grand Rapids Griffins. While there, he averaged 35 points per season and was a consistent player until he was selected in the expansion draft. Nosek has found a home in Vegas and surely hopes to be a part of what could be a Stanley Cup contending team there.
Most fans of the Red Wings know the tale of Petr Mrazek. He was a solid goaltender who showed flashes of greatness (especially in the postseason), but never quite put all of it together in his time here. While he may one day develop into the great goaltender he could be, Mrazek will have to do so in another uniform. He was traded to Philadelphia near the Trade Deadline for two conditional draft picks (currently a 3rd round pick in 2018 and potentially a 3rd rounder in 2019 if Mrazek signs with the Flyers this offseason). Mrazek did fairly well for the Flyers, posting a 6-6 record with a 3.22 GAA average. Going into the postseason Philadelphia is electing to start Brian Elliott but there is a chance we could see Mrazek in net at some point in their series versus the Penguins.
Riley Sheahan is a player that many Detroit fans likely remember for the wrong reason. From 2016-2017, Sheahan had an infamous scoring streak where he was only able to get two goals in an 88 game stretch for the Red Wings (both of which coming in the last game in Joe Louis Arena). This bad scoring spell along with other factors caused for Sheahan to be expendable, and he was traded to Pittsburgh for Scott Wilson and a 2018 3rd round pick. He had a fine season for the Penguins, ending up with 32 points. While there has been some bad blood between the Red Wings and Penguins in past years Sheahan should give fans a rooting interest in Pittsburgh, though it will surely be a small interest.
While Valtteri Filppula hasn’t been a member of the Red Wings since his free agency departure in 2013, but many fans still remember him as the speedy center who was a part of the 2008 Stanley Cup winning team in Detroit. Filppula has bounced around the league since 2013 and is now a member of Philadelphia. He will look to be a factor for the Flyers as they try to make the Stanley Cup Finals.
Though he played for Detroit for less than one season, Thomas Vanek will always be a player that I seek out and cheer for. In 48 games last season, Vanek had 38 points and was a key player for the Red Wings before he was traded to the Panthers. Vanek is currently a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets and will be expected to provide that scoring and playmaking ability for them as they face the Washington Capitals in the first round.