The Detroit Red Wings went 10-5-2 in their final 12 games of
2013-14 to extend their playoffs streak to 23 consecutive seasons. Finishing in
the final Wild Card spot, the Red Wings took on the tough Boston Bruins, who
bounced them in five games.
Kevin Porter – C David Legwand – C
Andy Miele – C Todd
Bertuzzi – RW
Alfredsson – RW
Mikael Samuelsson – RW
This offseason, the Red Wings missed out on all of the big
name free agents that they were targeting, but an abundance of young, talented
players will slide into bigger roles and Detroit’s success will hinge largely
on the production they get from those young players. It will also seem like the
Wings are adding 31-year old Stephen Weiss, who missed 56 games after signing a
five-year deal with the Red Wings last offseason.
Detroit’s two best players are undoubtedly Pavel Datsyuk and
Henrik Zetterberg, but at 36 and 33-years-old respectively, it is time to start
thinking about passing the torch. Both players have been relatively healthy for
the majority of their careers, but each missed 37 games last year, something
the Red Wings can not have happen in 2014-15.
Amidst all the injuries last season, the door opened for
Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco to burst onto the
scene. Nyquist was ridiculous. He finished the season with 28 goals, including
a stretch of 11 goals in 10 games and 23 in 28. The 24-year-old will land in
the Wings’ top-6 and shoot for his first 60-plus point season. Tatar, Sheahan
and Jurco should all make the team out of camp and could be joined by
19-year-old Anthony Mantha. For the second straight year he led the QMJHL in
goals as he lit the league up for 57 goals (120 points) in 57 games. He also
led Val d’Or to the Memorial Cup with 24 goals and 14 assists (38 points) in 24
playoff games. Clearly the kid is crazy talented and will be given every
opportunity to make the NHL roster this year, even in Detroit.
Looking at the blueline, veteran Niklas Kronwall is their
top option. He has missed only three games in the last three seasons (all last
year) and had his second best point production season of his career, posting 49
points (8G / 41A). In his first full NHL
season, Danny DeKeyser took on huge minutes (averaged 21:38 TOI) and played
very well in both ends of the rink. He had four goals, 19 assists (23 points)
and a plus-10 rating in 65 games. He will be leaned on even more this season.
Jimmy Howard enters his sixth season as Detroit’s starter.
He had a down year in 2013-14, but over the last three seasons he still has a
2.31 GAA and .918 SV%. With strong play, Howie should start 60 games and should
post number similar to the ones mentioned above. Detroit brought back-up JonasGustavsson back on a one-year, but should Howard struggle, ‘The Monster’ will
get a shot, just like he did last season.
Season prediction: Detroit will finish fourth in the
Atlantic division and finish in the Wild Card again, extending their playoff
streak to 24 seasons.
View the Red Wings’ entire roster and cap space heading into
the 2014 – 2015 season.