Mattias Ritola is headed to Tampa Bay after he was claimed off of waivers. This vindicates my decision to skip him in my player profile series. Granted, that decision was made more out of laziness than any actual savvy, but it makes me feel good. I know there are some out there who are really disappointed to see him go, but I guess I don't really care that much.
I think the thing people are hung up on is letting go of Ritola's potential. But that's all it is right now: potential. He's got a lot of it, to be sure, but he failed to develop at the rate the Wings hoped and he was out of options. This pre-season was his chance to earn a spot on the roster, but he wasn't particularly impressive. Ken Holland chose to hang onto Patrick Eaves instead, and I think it's the right decision. It's always hard to give up players who show that potential to develop and you definitely don't want to mortgage the future for the moment (ahem, Toronto), but I think Eaves can be part of the Wings' future. He won over a lot of Wings fans last season with his play and his hustle and you can't deny the chemistry he had with Darren Helm. In a perfect world, I would've loved to have seen Ritola pass through waivers and spend time in Grand Rapids, but that's not the way things work.