Thursday, September 9, 2010

2010-2011 Detroit Red Wings Preview

The Detroit Redwings
Leading the World in Hockey and Homicides.

I'm only a few years from being able to order off the senior menu at Denny's

Previous Year's Team Stats

44 wins, 24 losses, 14 OTL, 102 points, 12th overall in the league.

Team Analysis

The Detroit Redwings have been one of the finest franchises in all of pro sports since owner Mike Ilitch bought the team in 1982. Carefully cultivating a winner by hiring some of the best minds in the sport, the Red Wings have won four Stanley Cups and made the playoffs 19 consecutive years under Illitch's reign. The Red Wings enter the 2010-2011 season the oldest team in the league but a well oiled machine of hockey mastery. There isn't a doubt that the Red Wings will be a playoff team this year, the question will be can this certain mix of players gel to go deep in the post-season?

Detroit's offense is led by one of the finest duos in the NHL. Swedish center and former Conn Smythe winner Henrik Zetterberg is one of the finest two-way players in the game. Zetterberg scored 70 points in 74 games last season. Centering the first line will be Pavel Datsyuk won who his second Selke Trophy last season. Datsyuk is arguably the best north-south center in the game while boasting world-class vision and stickhandling. Datysuk scored 70 points in 80 games last season. Completing the first line this season will likely be goalie antagonist Tomas Holmstrom who's made a career standing at the top of the blue paint. The 37-year old Swedish winger has slowed in recent years but will remain one of the most potent weapons on the Red Wings powerplay. Holmstrom scored 45 points in 68 games last season.

The Red Wings are fortunate to have one of the finest second lines in hockey. Anchoring this line will be Swedish winger Johan Franzen who has gained the reputation as a post-season performer. Franzen had a rough season last year only managing to play 27 games (scoring 21 points) and has missed nearly 100 games due to injury in his five years in the league. However Franzen did return for a spectacular playoffs scoring 18 points in 12 games. The Swedish power forward has the potential to be 40 goal scorer and one of the best secondary players in the league if he could just put together a complete healthy campaign. Occupying the opposite wing is controversial power forward Todd Bertuzzi. The talented big man found a home in Detroit in General Manager Ken Holland's career rehabilitation program. Bertuzzi chipped in 44 points in 82 games last season for the Red Wings. Likely centering the second line will be Valtteri Flippula who finally won the second line center role for his out-standing play coming out of the Olympic break. There's a lot of speculation among the hockey media that this is the year Flippula will break out and become the next in the lineage of elite Detroit homegrown centers. Filppula scored 35 points in 55 games last season.

Likely centering the third line will be future Hall of Famer Mike Modano who signed with his hometown team after spending his entire career with the Stars organization. Modano will be counted on to contributed secondary offense this season while playing his 21st and likely last season this year. Modano scored 30 points in 59 games last season. The addition of Jiri Hudler has been cited by several hockey experts as perhaps the best under the radar move made this off-season. The talented Russian winger bolted to Dynamo Moscow last year scoring 54 points in 54 games in the KHL. Hudler should be a very respectable complimentary player who might even surprise with his offensive game. Completing the third line will be power forward winger Dan Cleary who's another player that found a home in GM Ken Holland's career rehabilitation program. Cleary scored 34 points in 64 games for the Red Wings last season. A lot of the Detroit fan base, bloggers, and Red Wings management has commented on their excitement for the offensive potential of this third line.

Detroit's fourth line will likely be occupied by a rotating cast of young (by Red Wings standards) and veteran players. Centering the fourth line will likely be hard working 23-year old grinder Darren Helm. Occupying one of the wings will be versatile two-way winger Patrick Eaves who was another NHL refugee who found success in Holland's career rehab program. Also seeing significant time on the fourth line will hard-working role player Drew Miller. Getting spot duty this season will be senior Red Wings Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby. Young 23-year old scorers Mattias Ritola and Justin Abdelkader could also see time on the NHL squad this year.

The defense in Detroit has been carried for over a decade by future Hall of Famer and captain Nicklas Lidstrom. The world class Swedish defenseman has just about every accolade possible including winning the Norris trophy six times. The 40-year old Lidstrom seemed to lose a step with the Olympic modified scheduled, however the future hall of famer regained his elite form down the stretch finishing with 49 points in 82 games. Lidstrom will again be the catalyst from the back-end for good things in Detroit this season. Lidstrom's partner this season will be talented offensive defenseman Brian Rafalski who received some criticism for his defensive game last season. Rafalski has always been one of the more talented offensive defensemen in the league and will again look to be a central component to the Red Wings powerplay. Rafalski scored 42 points in 78 games.

The second pairing in Detroit will be led by hard-hitting uber-talented Swedish defenseman Niklas Kronwall. The gritty Swede also features an impressive offensive game and stickhandling skills from the blueline. The biggest knock again Kronwall is injury concerns as he's never been able to stay healthy for a complete 82-game campaign and has some concerns with reoccuring knees injuries. Kronwall scored 22 points in 48 games last year. Pairing with Kronwall will be talented defensive defenseman and former no3 overall pick Brad Stuart. Red Wings fans raved about Stuart's play last season often citing him as their best defensemen from game to game. Stuart scored 20 points in 82 games for the Red Wings last season.

Detroit's bottom pairing saw a rotating carousel of several defensemen last season, however this season should be a little more consistent. Bob McKenzie's favorite defenseman Jonathan Ericsson completed his first full season in the NHL last year scoring 13 points in 62 games. Ericsson was the source of much ire for the Red Wings as he had a rocky sophomore season in Detroit. Long-time NHL veteran defensive defenseman Ruslan Salei was brought in this off-season partially to mentor Ericsson and partially because he worked well in his previous tenure with Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock. Salei will likely see spot time as the Red Wings' sixth defensemen. Likely filling in as the seventh defenseman this season will be Red Wings number one prospect Jakub Kindl.

Last season saw the emergence of 26-year old Jimmy Howard as the Red Wings number one goaltender last season. Howard had an absolutely specutacular debut winning 37 games in 63 appearences. Howard stole the starting job from 37-year old three time Stanley Cup winning goalie Chris Osgood who faltered out of the gate. Osgood has since stated in the press that he's ready for a complimentary role in Detroit and will look to support Howard this season.

Team Trending

The Detroit Red Wings will once again be an elite team in the NHL this year. The Red Wings feature one of the most complete and balanced teams in all of hockey. However the Red Wings ran into a plague of injuries last season to key players and the oldest team in hockey just got another year older. Expect the Red Wings to come in anywhere from third to seventh overall in the league. We'll see how the Red Wings do when the real season begins in Detroit this April. Also don't be surprised if you see the Red Wings make a move for a right winger at some point in the season, 

BVB Projected Opening Night Line-Up




Player Projections


Henrik Zetterberg - 30 G/49 A 79 P
Pavel Datsyuk - 33 G/61 A 94 P
Tomas Holmstrom - 21 G/19 A 40 P

Johan Franzen - 33 G/31 A 64 P
Valtteri Filppula - 18 G/45 A 63 P
Todd Bertuzzi - 20 G/25 A 45 P

Jiri Hudler - 17 G/26 A 43 P
Mike Modano - 14 G/26 A 40 P
Dan Cleary - 17 G/19 A 36 P

Drew Miller - 5 G/10 A 15 P
Darren Helm 13 G/16 A 29 P
Patrick Eaves - 13 G/9 A 22 P

Kris Draper - 1 G/6 A 7 P
Kirk Maltby - 1 G/2 A 3 P


Niklas Lidstrom - 8 G/36 A 44 P
Brian Rafalski - 7 G/33 A 40 P
Niklas Kronwall - 5 G/26 A 31 P
Brad Stuart - 3 G/20 A 23 P
Jonathan Ericsson - 3 G/15 A 18 P
Ruslan Salei - 1 G/6 A 7 P
Jakub Kindl - 1 G/9 A 10 P


Jimmy Howard - 39-20-7 | 2.35 GAA | .918 Sv%
Chris Osgood - 7-7-2 | 2.85 GAA | .904 Sv%

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