Today I am going to give you my take on how this Season will unfold.
This team looks good. Mike Modano being the biggest sign(so far) this off season for the Wings will add another high end scorer to the line. Modano will make a good addition and most likely play on the 3rd line or second as a best case and should also get time on the power play. The key this year will be to stay healthy, many believe it was that issue that kept the Wings on the bottom half of the Western Conference for more then half the season last year and although they were close to healthy near the end of last season and in the playoffs many believe the strain of struggling all year caught up with them. Only 3 players played all 82 games last season, and only 8 played more then 70 games which again says stay healthy.
The Injury Bug:
Last season 6 of the Wings key players were sidelined, majority were during the first half of last season. Franzen, Holmstrom, Kronwall, Filppula, Cleary, and Zetterberg are all key members which hurt the Wings when they were needed most. Another factor was that Datsyuk and Zetterberg did not live up to the standards giving only 70 pts each all season the highest on the team. in 08-09 Datsyuk pulled out 98 points Zetterberg did only come out with 73 the same year but was projected to do much better last season. Again in this year 14 players played 70 or more games which lead the Wings to the finals for the second year against the now rival Pittsburgh Penguins. Going back further the year Detroit won the Stanley Cup 07-08 Datsyuk and Zetterberg had 97 and 92 points respectively and 6 of the 7 men injured in last season were in the top 10 in 07-08 again pointing that healthy means winning for sure for the Wings top players.
Who is Out and Question Marks:
Brett Lebda, Brad May, and Jason Williams will not be returning this season, all of which however don’t mean much on the score sheet but a presence on the ice. Kirk Maltby is yet to be signed but still may return if he has not signed by the start of this years training camp. Maltby has been in the franchise since 1996 being with all 4 of the cup winning teams since 1997-98. Andreas Lilja’s contract is also up, however he missed 12 months due to concussion issues spanning back to the 08-09 season. The Wings have offered him a 1.0 Million dollar contract for 1 year which he has yet to decide.
Who is In:
Mike Modano, need i say more? as you may have read in my “Modano Who” article Mike Modano brings a well established forward to the team. As the old saying goes, there is no I in team, but there is one in Win. Mike Modano will bring a scoring touch to Detroit and will also revitalize the Wings with a fresh set of eyes. Who also could forget the re-signing of Niklas Lidstrom who is the heart and soul of Detroit, along with Brian Rafalski the best D pair in the NHL is back! Jiri Hudler who spent last year in the KHL will also return and he was also a huge part in the cup winning team in 08-09. On a final note in this section, look for the Wings to go for another scorer for a good price as they may be able to squeeze another drop out and sign a big name to a short term deal.
The ultimate question of every team. We know Jimmy Howard will be the starter but can he live up to his own hype that he created last season. Howard played 63 games with 37 wins, a bit over half of hat he played with a 2.26 GAA, he could be better Howard will have to be better. Osgood may start this year in the start of the season but look for he and Howard to swap the first 10 games maybe then Howard will most likely get the permanent start for the majority of the year. Osgood will still coach Howard in his development and if any big question this year it will be goaltending.
As always I would like to see Detroit win again. Staying healthy will be the key, with Modano and Hudler back in the mix as well is an established defensive core and forward depth I say Detroit will once again reign atop the Western Conference. Chicago won’t have as great success as they did last year as the guts of that team have been ripped out, other then that Detroit has little to stand between them and the West again, should Detroit stay healthy look for them to finish in the top 3 if not 1st in the west maybe the entire NHL. As far as playoffs again depending on health and who they face. It should be an exciting season and i look forward to blogging for you all again this year.
Thanks for Reading
About the Author
Written by Mark Bates