The Bleacher Report exists to produce random lists. Why? Well because stupid people like reading lists. Well I like reading lists, though I find the Bleacher Report to be a bit of a joke overall.
Well a few days ago, they posted a list called: “The Detroit Red Wings: 7 Things To Expect in the Coming Year.” It’s not terrible, so I thought I’d go through each of their predictions and either rip ‘em apart or agree. So on we go:
1.) Mike Commodore Will Return to Form
Detroit is a place for redemption. Commodore has set himself perfectly for said redemption. He’ll be given the tools succeed and provided he works for it, I expect good things out of him. He was outmatched as a #1 or #2 guy. But as a 5th or 6th defenseman? He should be able to shine. On this prediction, I couldn’t agree more.
2.) Pavel Datsyuk Will Be Nominated for the Hart Trophy
Now if it said that Pavel Datsyuk should be nominated for the Hart rather than will, I would agree wholeheartedly. I do think Pavel will put up 85-95 points and completely dominate the league at both ends of the ice, but since he’s part of the big red machine, he’ll be overlooked for another nomination for Crosby/Sendin/Stamkos etc.
3.) Brendan Smith Will Not Be a Full-Time Wing...Until the Playoffs
Smith is going to be a great Wing, in time. I’m assuming that the writer is thinking that Smith will be 08-09 Ericsson, play 22 games in the playoffs after only playing around 19 in the regular season. However, we don’t have a brain-bleeding Lilja on this team and Kindl is better than Meech, the #7 he jumped that season. The Wings are rostering the best players, and at the moment, that likely won’t include Smith. Maybe in a year or two, but not yet.
4.) Detroit Will Reassert Themselves as a Good Defensive Team
For the love of Nick Lidstrom I hope so. I can’t stand another season of 6-5 wins or blown 4-0 leads against Phoenix. But the Wings were a finesse team on D the past few years, with the exception of Stuart (and occasionally Kronwall). The grit level wasn’t there; I’m hoping that’s not the case this year. A finesse defense works...but only when everyone is on top of their game. A poke check might be more effective then a grinding check, but you better have your timing right for it to work. And most of all, you better have some help from your forwards, which wasn’t always the case. Now that they’ve upped the grit a little bit, I hope the freewheeling spirit that the Wings seemed to apply at times on defense will end.
5.) Jonathan Ericsson Will Live Up to His Contract
Verdict: Agree, sorta.
Ericsson is slowly becoming the next Robert Lang, you’ll hate him for 95% of the game, until that 5% where he does something great. Except for Ericsson, that 5% you hate him even more. Things better turn around for E-52, and with that new dollar amount attached to his shoulders, that time better be soon. Now I don’t expect to see what we did in the playoffs two years ago, but I do expect to see progress this year. I hope to see him start shooting more and harder and playing with the confidence that he should be. However, I think we won’t see him really come into his own until next year.
6.) Johan Franzen Will Score 40 Goals
If the regular season were the playoffs, then yes, I think he would get 40. But motivation always seems to be an issue with the Mule, in the regular season at least. And with the guaranteed yearly injury, there isn’t a chance that he hits 40. Possibly even in his career. I’d guess between 30-35 next season.
7.) The Detroit Red Wings Will Extend Niklas Kronwall for at Least 7 Years
With this likely being the Perfect Human’s last year (single tear…), Ken Holland won’t be taking any chances of losing his second best defenseman who’s only looking better each year. Seven years appears to be reasonable, because Kronwall is going to be a Wing for life.
In the end, not terrible Bleacher Report, not great, but not terrible. You guys agree with me or the report...or neither?
Out of all these only returning to our previous defensive form is critical for this team this season. I imagine kronwall will have an extension before the trade deadline so that shouldnt even be a worry.
Agree with everything you just said. Although, I really think we'll see a nice year out of Rig. If he can play like he did in the SJ series (Game 4-7) I think we'll definitely get our money's worth.
For the record - Bleacher Report did another set of "bold predictions" for the Wings yesterday. Must have been a different writer. Pretty reasonable though.
It's hard to disagree when you want to see everything on that list happen. But most of these "Predictions" are just wishful thinking.
BigE needs to work his way into being a top 4 Defenseman before he'll be worth his cap hit. Right now I think Kindl or even Commodore could play better than E52 does on a given night.
@DannyG I think Kindl is already better than Big E, who seems to be getting paid as much as he is just because he's a big body (not that he uses it effectively). With White in the fold it automatically puts Ericsson on the 3rd pairing, and it'll be interesting to see who sticks out of E, Commodore and Kindl (and Brendan Smith is going to be giving his all at camp I'm sure). I can definitely see our $3.25 mill big rig sitting half the year.
My guess is he continues his current playing trend, we might see him packaged with Happy in a trade before the deadline. Kenny has gone on record saying the reason he's paying him so much is because of how this year's specific FA market was...and oh yeah, "potential".
With all the cap floor teams I'm sure it would be easy to move him, again purely because he has the size.
@brendon.rell @DannyG Agreed. I'm not sure who, but if we could move happy and E for a forward with a hard accurate shot and preferrably some size, I would be thrilled. I think we're one good sniper away from having the best offense in the league and losing E really wouldn't change much on the back end. Plus it would give smith his chance.