Saarijarvi was selected 73rd overall in the 2015 NHL draft out of Rovaniemi, Finland. The fact that he has not been able to make it into Detroit’s roster of defensemen could be concerning. In the offseason, Saarijarvi was instructed to add muscle to his 5-foot 9-inch frame. This increase in size and his continued improvement at the defensive side of the game led Ryan Lewis, assistant general manager of the Detroit Red Wings and general manager of the Grand Rapids Griffins, to say that he sees Saarijarvi as a now full-time top-six AHL defenseman.
Detroit’s Goalie Situation
When it comes to Comrie, the goaltending picture in Detroit’s organization continues to be murky. Calvin Pickard made his first start for the team yesterday against the Philadelphia Flyers, replacing Jimmy Howard, who was injured against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Red Wings lost the game 6-1. The Flyers had 35 shots total and the 27-year-old finished the game with a .829 save percentage.
Comrie was likely acquired to replace Pickard in Grand Rapids (at the AHL level). This probably means that the Red Wings’ organizational leaders think that Howard could be out of the lineup for an extended period of time. There are no goalies in the organization who are thought to be NHL ready at this point in their development.
Comrie and Jonathan Bernier will likely split time in net for the Red Wings while Howard is out. Bernier has played in 16 games and has a .893 save percentage. Bernier has a GAA of 3.32. This ranks in 13th in the NHL so far this season.
The Long-Term Outlook
Comrie is under contract for this year and next year. The average annual value of the contract is $700,000. Comrie was in a log jam in the Arizona organization and had only played in four games for the Tuscon Roadrunners this season.
What is more important for the long-term outlook of the team is the fact that general manager Steve Yzerman is willing to make moves in order to improve the rosters at multiple levels of the organization. With this trade, Yzerman has now made six trades in the time since he took over for Ken Holland. This trend may continue next year when the team has more salary-cap flexibility.