Ken Holland (GM), Mike Babcock (Head Coach)
82GP 44W 24L 14OTL 102PTS
2nd Central, 5th West, 7th NHL
Pavel Datsyuk – 80GP 27G 43A 70P
Niklas Lidstrom (C), Pavel Datsyuk (A), Henrik Zetterberg (A)
Brett Lebda (Signed with Toronto)
Joey MacDonald (Free Agent)
Chris Mindard (Free Agent)
Mike Modano (Free Agent)
Ruslan Salei (Free Agent)
If there’s one word that can describe the Detroit Red Wings over the last decade and a half, it’s consistency. The club has learned how to work themselves through a system to maintain a strong performance season after season. It can be argued that the coaching skills of Mike Babcock is second to none since the lock-out. The Red Wings have not missed the playoffs since 1990, and have reached the Conference Finals three times in the last four years.
With question marks thrown their way over the last few seasons of whether or not age will finally play a factor, the Red Wings have always found a way to get the proper mix of youth and veteran leadership involved on the ice to make a strong playoff push. This year fare’s no different as only Brett Lebda has left the club (a depth defenceman), while American hockey legend Mike Modano has joined the fold for the third line.
Jimmy Howard is expected to be the go to guy in net once again this season, and after a 0.924 SV% last season, the Wings should be expected to be a significant challenge once again this season in the Western Conference.
Ken Holland seems to make the right decision year after year. Some may call it luck, others call it skill, but nonetheless the Red Wings have managed to remain one of the top teams in the league for the better part of 20 years and still draft and develop an excellent crop of youth in their system.
The one flaw the Red Wings experienced last season was their unfortunate injury issues. Tomas Holmstrom missed 13 games due to a broken foot; Valtteri Filppula missed 26 games due to a broken wrist; Johan Franzen missed 55 games due to knee surgery. The list continues, but ultimately this will be a complication the Red Wings hope to do without this season. If they can stay healthy, expect another exciting April in Detroit.
Prediction: 2nd Central, 5th West
RED WINGS DEPTH CHART
Pavel Datsyuk – Henrik Zetterberg – Todd Bertuzzi
Johan Franzen – Valtteri Filppula – Daniel Cleary
Jiri Hudler – Mike Modano – Tomas Holmstrom
Drew Miller – Darren Helm – Patrick Eaves
Nicklas Lidstrom – Brad Stuart
Niklas Kronwall – Brian Rafalski
Jonathan Ericsson – Ruslan Salei
Derek Meech – Jakub Kindl
For more articles by Micheal Aldred, visit http://www.thecheckingline.com