TRAVERSE CITY -- For Ken Holland, the assessments begin today.
With training camp opening at Centre ICE, the Detroit Red Wings general manager will start the evaluation process on who earns the final roster spots on the team -- and who will be ready for call-ups when injuries occur.
"Over 82 (regular season) games you're depth is going to be tapped into," Holland said. "If you think you're going to play 82 games and not have injuries you're living in fantasy land."
Teams can carry 23 players, but Holland said Thursday the Wings could open with 22 -- 13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies.
"I don't see us carrying eight D (defensemen)," he said. "The question is whether we would carry 14 forwards. If we like a couple forwards, and they give us different dimensions and we're worried if we put them on waivers we might lose them, then we might carry an extra."
Detroit has six defensemen on National Hockey League contracts. The seventh spot is wide open. Among the candidates: Jonathan Ericsson, Kyle Quincey, Derek Meech, Jakub Kindl and Brent Sopel.
"We need to find out who is our seventh defenseman," Holland said. "At the same time, we need to find out who is eight, nine and 10."
There are also a handful of players competing for one of the last forward slots. Included in that group is Russian rookie Igor Grigorenko, who had five assists in four games during the just concluded Prospects Tournament.
"He did a lot of good things with the puck," Holland said. "But he has to adjust to the tempo of the game. It's different here. It's high tempo. In Europe, you have longer shifts. You pace yourself. Here, players don't pace themselves. You come out of the box and you go hard for 45 seconds and then go off.
"He (Grigorenko) has to understand that when you come out of that box you're going 100-miles-per-hour for 45 seconds and then you're getting off the ice. It's a different mentality here.
"And the tempo this week is going to be faster than it was last week (during the Prospects Tournament) and the tempo next week (exhibition games) is going to be faster than this week. He showed a lot of good things. But we want to see him when we get later into September when the tempo increases. Can he play at that tempo? We know he thinks the game at a high level, and he has great hands, great patience with the puck. But can he keep up? Can he adjust?"