Friday, May 13, 2011

What's Next 2011: Detroit Red Wings

After breezing through the first round, injuries and a hot team caught up to the Red Wings. They will always be a force as long as they keep pumping out those late-round picks that become superstars, but who knows how many teams have caught up to to them with that certain thing.

Up-front, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are superstars on this team and really should keep this team together for the long-run. Luckily, their contracts are still good for three seasons, which will help the team along. The big thing now is the the transition processes that are going to happen, as odds are that Kris Draper and Mike Modano will retire and the Wings will need to re-sign Drew Miller and Patrick Eaves in order to fill their roles. While it's good enough to bring the youth movement thing, you have to wonder how much leadership they'll be losing in the older guys and if they'll bring in another veteran guy for next season to counteract things.

On the defense, Nicklas Lidstrom is still a force, and you can almost bet he'll be back for yet another season to anchor the Wings defense. While he's on the older side of the spectrum, he can still get the job done and looks effortless doing it. Things are looking up for Niklas Kronwall, as he had a solid bounce-back season from a knee injury last year. Brian Rafalski and Brad Stuart will be back and while Rafalski played well, Stuart is probably capable of a lot more. With all things going as they are, what's going to happen with replacing guys leaving-- as Ruslan Salei won't be brought back, but Jonathan Ericcson is a solid young defenseman and will probably be part of any rebuilding process the Wings could endure.

Goaltending wise, a lot of people are still questioning Jimmy Howard-- which is odd considering he had another 37 win season, like last year-- but his GAA and save percentage ballooned a bit. The question now is what to do with a back-up, as Chris Osgood's injuries are probably going to have him out of the organization and probably the league. There's a nice crop of back-ups out there, but you need to get a guy who's able to play back-up, but get on a run as a starter if needed.

A lot of people are pondering of the Red Wings are going to be blown up, but I don't see a reason why. They have a solid bunch of players who are stars and have a lot of veterans to teach the younger guys how to actually win. They have a good young core moving forward and GM Ken Holland can always turn anything that glitters into gold; and they should be worried about the day he leaves the organization.

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