Friday, June 12, 2009

What's Next: Detroit Red Wings

They were one win away from Back-to-Back crowns, but the fuel in their tank was on empty and not even their depth to take them to raise the Cup once again, but the Red Wings really have nothing much to be ashamed of when all is said and done.

A lot of the same people in the line-up will be back for next season. The one big question mark will be what to do with Marian Hossa. While somewhat solid in the regular season, Hossa seemed invisible in the playoffs, especially in the Finals, when he needed to redeem himself the most. Considering the Wings are going to be tight to the salary cap as it is, will they be willing to shell out the money to keep Hossa on the squad, knowing what he's capable of in the grand scheme of things. Luckily, Henrik Zetterberg is locked up, as is Pavel Datsyuk, both you can bet will be even hungrier than this year to prove themselves. You have to wonder with the play of Justin Abdelkader will allow the Wings reason to let Hossa test the market.

Defensively, the question is what's going to happen with Nicklas Lidstrom. While he does have one more year on his contract, you have to wonder how much he has left in the tank. Lidstrom is 39 right now and may have enough left for another season, but how much further he can go and continue to contribute is another story. Luckily, Jonathan Ericsson stepped up in the playoffs to show he could carry a significant workload if called upon.

Goaltending, Chris Osgood was up-and-down during the season, but came up to be a crucial role in the playoffs for the Wings and showed that he really could be a top goaltender, even with talks of Hall of Fame. Of course, odds are Jimmy Howard will be called upon to be the back-up to Osgood. You can pretty much expect Ty Conklin to walk away, as to not hinder Howard's confidence or that of any other goalie who could be the possible back-up, which could come in the form of Thomas McCullum or Daniel Larsson.

While the depth is there for the Red Wings, it's a matter of putting it to good use and being able to roll over the talent seemlessly as they have been able to do in the past few years. It wasn't meant for back-to-back, but who knows if we can see them pick up the 35-pound silver grail next season. It's a very high possibility given what we saw this post-season.

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