Last Season – Finishing with a 48-28-6 record and 102 points, the Wings entered the post season as the #5 seed in the West. They fell to the Nashville Predators in 5 games in the first round.
Saying Goodbye – Nicklas Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom, Jiri Hudler, Brad Stuart, Garnet Exelby, Ty Conklin
Saying Hello – Jordin Tootoo, Mikael Samuelsson, Carlo Coliacovi, Damien Brunner
Ready to Step In – Brunner is pencilled in as the Wings’ second line right winger. He is a skilled, offensive player who will be well insulated in the Wings’ lineup.
Look For A Bounce-back Season From – Todd Bertuzzi is getting up there in age, but he still has the ability to put up more than the 38 points he did last year. His role on the power play alone with the absence of Holmstrom should help his numbers rebound.
Hardware Hopefuls – Pavel Datsyuk, Selke, Nicklas Kronwall, Norris
Upside – With the departure of Lidstrom, the blue line will belong to Kronwall. The other Swedish defenseman will be able to assert his authority and should emerge as one of the league’s elite blueliners who has just been playing in the very large shadow of perhaps the greatest blueliner ever.
Downside – The Wings are in the toughest division in the NHL, and it is a grind, being in the Western Conference. They will not play many road games in their own time zone, and travel will be a concern for a team with some aging veterans.
2013 Prognosis – The Wings will obviously miss Lidstrom, but the organization will keep rolling on. Expect another playoff season with disappointment if they are not in the Stanley Cup final. The Wings must be in the conversation for Stanley Cup contenders with their depth down the middle.