Eastern preview: Red Wings arrive

Eastern preview: Red Wings arrive
August 31, 2013, 8:45 am
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DETROIT RED WINGS

2012-13: 24-16-8, 56 points

Where they finished: 3rd in the Central; 7th in the West; 13th in the NHL

Coach: Mike Babcock (9th season)

Key additions: RW Daniel Alfredsson, C Stephen Weiss

Key subtractions: C Valtteri Filppula, D Carlo Colaiacovo

Projected Lineup

Forwards

Henrik Zetterberg – Pavel Datsyuk – Johan Franzen

Todd Bertuzzi – Stephen Weiss – Daniel Alfredsson

Joakim Andersson – Gustav Nyquist – Justin Abdelkader

Drew Miller – Darren Helm – Mikael Samuelsson/Patrick Eaves

Defense

Niklas Kronwall – Jonathan Ericsson

Brendan Smith – Dan DeKeyser

Kyle Quincey – Jakub Kindl

Goaltenders

Jimmy Howard – Jonas Gustavsson

Our take: The Red Wings will trade in their bitter rivalries with the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues for new ones with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens. And that’s a good thing.

The Red Wings barely got into the playoffs last season, but they’ll tighten the Eastern Conference playoff race and that could be a bad thing for a handful of bubble teams. Detroit will miss the playmaking abilities of Valtteri Filppula, but they’ll get a boost of offense from second-line center Stephen Weiss and veteran winger Daniel Alfredsson, who is hoping to win his first Stanley Cup after 18 years without one in Ottawa.

Strong up front and average on the blue line, the Red Wings will rely heavily on U.S. Olympic team candidate Jimmy Howard between the pipes.

Overall, the Red Wings will benefit from playing most of their games in the Eastern time zone and would make for an interesting first-round playoff opponent in their new conference. But it won’t be easy getting there.

Offseason Grade: B

Will they make the playoffs in 2013-14:  Yes.

 

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