DETROIT >> Forward Andrej Nestrasil and defenseman Xavier Ouellet survived another round of cuts as the start of the NHL season approaches.
But the two promising Detroit Red Wing prospects haven’t locked up spots on the final roster just yet.
“We think he’s played the best out of all the kids,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said of Nestrasil. “Has Nestrasil knocked one of those other veteran forwards out of the box? That’s what we’re going to talk about.
“Ouellet has been the best of our young D, but he has to knock one of the seven out of the box,” Holland continued. “That’s what we still have to talk about.”
Detroit placed forwards Mitch Callahan, Landon Ferraro and Kevin Porter on waivers. All three have till noon on Monday to clear before they can be assigned to Grand Rapids.
The Wings, who open the season Thursday at home against the Boston Bruins, still have 26 players on their roster and need to get down to 23 by 5 p.m. Tuesday.
“We’ve got three more players to make decisions on by Tuesday,” Holland said. “The story will play itself out.”
If Pavel Datsyuk (shoulder) won’t be ready to open the season, Nestrasil could earn a spot on the roster. The team should know more Monday on Datsyuk’s status for the opener.
The Wings will carry 14 forwards into the regular season. They could also send Tomas Jurco to Grand Rapids since he doesn’t have to be placed on waivers, but coach Mike Babcock said last week he wanted him in Detroit.
If Ouellet, who also is waiver-exempt, stays he’ll have to play which means winning a job over Jakub Kindl and Brian Lashoff.
One of the roster moves that’ll likely be made is assigning goalie Petr Mrazek, who’s waiver-exempt, to Grand Rapids.
“These decisions are very difficult,” Holland said. “Some young players looked better the first week of the preseason and then had a tougher second week. It’s all about the caliber of competition and they didn’t play their way onto the roster. If they did they’d still be here.”
Callahan appeared to have won over the coaches during camp. He’s an abrasive player that posted his best offensive numbers (26 goals, 18 assists) with the Griffins last season.
The team also sent defensemen Alexey Marchenko and Nick Jensen to Grand Rapids, along with forwards Tomas Nosek and Teemu Pulkkinen.