It wasn't until the other day when Semin signed with Carolina and Holland dropped out on Doan that I took a long hard look at the state of the Wings.
Click the jump to see why you all should just sit back and relax
Detroit has a top six that consists of Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, Filppula and any combination of Nyquist, Brunner, Samulesson, Bertuzzi, Cleary, and possibly Eaves. That's a pretty solid bunch, and given the right combination is better than what we saw in 2011-12. Zetterberg came to life in the 2nd half. Filppula had a monster year. Datsyuk still has plenty more dangle left in the tank, and Nyquist showed that the talent pool is still feeding fresh legs. The bottom six will be much harder to play against now that the Wings finally have a pest with the signing of Jordin Tootoo. Every team needs a guy like him and the upside is he can do more than just get under the opponents skin.
The defense is another story. We lost one of, if not the greatest defenseman to ever play the game, as well as a solid shutdown/stay-at-home/part-time backup goalie in Brad Stuart. Kronwall must now take the torch and lead this rag-tag group of defensemen into a new era. He has grown into a premiere defender that eats minutes, contributes offensively, and delivers some of the best LEGAL hits the game has seen in a long time. Ericsson turned it up late in the season and started to show us the potential that Holland and Chelios saw when we were all crying last June 30th. Quincey didn't have a good run since being acquired, but given a little more time back I feel like he will fill the role that Stuart left. Let's give him a break, he needs some time to unlearn all the bad stuff Colorado taught him. It is entirely possible that Brendan Smith could break out of the gate and become a top pair defenseman.
Ty Conklin is gone, and Jonas Gustavsson will now be pushing Howard as the backup. I love this deal. Gustavsson has all the skill to be an NHL starter, but was never able to play his game in Toronto while having to deal with all the scrutiny that comes with being a Maple Leaf. This should up Jimmy's game even more along with giving him the ability to rest when needed.
When all is said and done this team is adding some nice young talent in Nyquist, Smith and Brunner along with some grit. Holland is likely to add another bargain defenseman and with guys like Kubina and Spacek still on the market Kindl should still have some competition for that 6th spot. I also wouldn't rule out another veteran forward like Arnott, Rolston or Sykora to round things out.
The new CBA could also make things interesting if teams need to cut salary due to rollbacks. Who knows that perfect player could fall right into our laps. At any rate where we stand now in forward depth some guys are going to be shown the door.
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I gotta say that I think your analysis on the defense is pretty optimistic. What will they do if Quincy plays exactly like he did at the end of last year, all year long? What happens if Ericsson reverts back to taking dumb penalties and making stupid plays like I have watched him do since he was a Griffin? What happens if Smith is good, but ends up more like a Meech than a Kronwall? What happens if (god forbid) any of these guys get injured. I think we need to face the facts that we are going to have a tough time against offensive teams this year. Sorry to be a realist.
Salary cut and salary rollback is not the same. If they make players to rollback salaries, say, 20%, the salary cap will be reduced the same 20%, and no one will be 'cutting' $$ from payroll.
Tootoo... Ive hated that guy forever. Cant believe hes on the Wings. Of course, I felt that way about Bert too and those days are long gone. Im a Badger and watched pretty much every game Smith played in Madison, hes a stud.
The Monster was a monster addition and Smith will make a lot of Wings fans happy this year. Thanks for another great piece and please help remind all fellow fans that the sky is still there and it's not falling.
Great post as always.. I'm STILL on the MacDonald kick. I think we are shorting ourselves with him not as our (shhh, starter). Yes I said it. I'm NOT bashing Jimmy, but MAN, MacDonald was a stud when we needed him, and to drop him back in GR?? I agree 100% with you. The defense is gonna be the x factor, and the heart.. Babs, has GOT to make sure those guys are motivated. We did lose the best guy in the game, andI hope that cloud doesn't linger long at the Joe...
Look at that, a completely level headed post that doesn't bash holland, claim we are doomed, or end with a troubled outlook on our future.
@Encryption001 Love it. I feel the same way. I was just looking at guys like spacek and arnott. I believe in my team and my GM. Always will be a wings fan till death good or bad. You took the words right out of my mouth. We are not doomed, were just not getting the big names. Kenny's has some how pulled names out of his ass and made them work. Wings fan for life.
@TomBarber In the end the big names and the big deals would probably have killed us. We need to look to our stars of the future like Smith, Nyquist, Jurco, Pulkkinen and Jarnkrok. These kids need to be paid one day and throwing around 12-13-14 year deals to players can be a double edge sword.
@Jordan_Reis @TomBarber I was saying the same thing the other day. As much as I'd of loved to had Parise and Suter, I wouldn't want them for 13 years each. Our defense could use an upgrade, but let's face it, there will never be a replacement for what Lidstrom brought to this team. I'm not panicking just yet. Let's play a few games and see where the chips may fall