When the Detroit Red Wings go to training camp in Sept., a familiar face, Aaron Downey, will be joining them as a tryout.
Downey spent most of the 2007-08 season with the Red Wings and was firmly entrenched in his role as an enforcer, sticking up for his teammates and often getting into fights. A year later, he was still with the Red Wings organization, but he played in Grand Rapids for most of the season. Last year, he attempted to get a spot on the Coyotes after a tryout but instead decided to take a year off from hockey after things didn't work out.
During that year off, Downey stayed in Arizona and trained with the hope of playing hockey again this coming season. Although the Red Wings' roster is pretty filled at the moment, Downey doesn't want to make a comeback for any team other than Detroit.
"I went into the Phoenix camp and I thought that I could do it, but I couldn’t give it my all," he said. "I just didn’t have that natural energy. … I felt that I left my heart in Detroit.
"I established so many wonderful relationships and winning the Cup, and just seeing how Detroit runs their organization. It’s just first class and there’s a reason why it says, "Family" on those Stanley Cup rings, because it’s run like a family."
I would be pretty surprised if there was enough room to give Downey a spot on the team even if he shows he deserves one, but injuries are bound to happen. Perhaps he could be assigned to Grand Rapids and then join the Wings if they need a player when someone goes down with an injury. I'm sure he'd rather just play with the Wings and not have to go to the AHL, but with the limited space on the roster (and that's without Mike Modano, who still may sign), I just don't see there being room for Downey.