Regular Season: The Red Wings were in the unfamiliar position of having to battle down to the final weekend of the season to secure a playoff spot. The veteran-laden forward unit had a number of injury problems to veterans like Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson (who combined for 11 games played), so there wasn’t much in the way of cohesion.
Playoffs: They did scrape into the post-season, by a single point and ended up with the 7th seed. They defeated the Ducks by winning game 7 on the road in the first round, before taking a 3-1 series lead in round 2. However, they lost the final 3 games of the series to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks and were knocked out of the playoffs.
Ready To Make The Jump: F Tomas Tatar
BIG 3 FACTORS
1. Older, But Better?: The Red Wings made a couple of notable free agent signings in Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss. How much Alfredsson has left on the ice is up for debate, and Weiss has been a chronic underachiever throughout his career. The Wings lost out on Filppula, who is entering his prime as well as promising Brunner. All in all, the Wings might well have declined talent-wise.
2. At The Helm: Its not very often a 3rd line centre can hold the key to a club’s success, but missing Darren Helm for all but the first game of the season really affected the Wings. He is fast, smart and good in all areas of the ice. A return to form for Helm would really give the Wings a boost.
3. New Surroundings: With the move to the Eastern Conference, the Wings cut down immensely on travel. However, they will have to get used to playing 14 new teams on a regular basis. While their conference opponents only need to create new game plans for a team or two, the only foe they have faced in the last year are the Blue Jackets.
PROGNOSIS: The Wings bring a pedigree of winning with them, and while the debate about the skill up front could go either way, there is no debate that the leadership Alfredsson brings to the club is immeasurable. A surprising strength of the club last season, the blue line will continue to recover from the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom, and a full season from Danny DeKeyser will be fun to watch.
PREDICTION: 3rd Atlantic Division
We have been and will be previewing every NHL team ahead of Training Camp which for most teams will begin on Sept 11th. As a twist, we will be unveiling our teams in reverse order to how I predict they will finish in the standings. Here is the schedule (you can click on a team name to see the preview for that team):
|1||Sept 9||Sept 8||Sept 7||Sept 6|
|2||Sept 5||Sept 4||Sept 3||Sept 2|