Deeper Wings

winged_wheel

When you have regulars from last season without a spot for next season – it usually means that your team is deeper.  That is most certainly the case for your 2010-2011 Detroit Red Wings.  And that spells trouble for everyone else in the league…including your paper Stanley Cup Champions – little brother from the Windy City…a team that thought their best chance at a repeat was to hire a goalie who has historically been your biggest rival’s rented mule.  Good strategy, Stan – I especially liked the part where you let your Stanley Cup-winning goalie walk.  The “red-hot” summer just got hotter.

But back to a team that’s actually GETTING STRONGER.  With the lines being slated as such…

Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Holmstrom
Bertuzzi-Filppula-Franzen
Cleary-Modano-Hudler
Helm-Abdelkader-Eaves

That doesn’t leave room for guys like Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper, Drew Miller, and Mattias Ritola.  Three out of those four were regulars in last year’s lineup, but now…there’s no room at the inn as it stands.

You have to feel bad for the battle-tested veterans like Kirk Maltby and Kris Draper.  Draper is still under contract and will most likely start the season in the press box.  Poor Kirk doesn’t even have a contract for this year, but has expressed his desire to remain playing…I wonder if that sentiment has changed at all with this most recent news.  Drew Miller was a perennial AHL call-up before he hit Detroit’s injury depleted roster…looks like he will revert back to that call-up role.  Mattias Ritola was going to be in competition for that final fourth line winger…now back to GR he goes.

My Predictions:

  • Maltby calls it a career.  It’s better for him to go out as a Red Wing when he still might have had something to offer than to have him sign with another squad only to find out that his usefulness had run its course.
  • Draper goes to the press box.  He and Drew Miller are a toss-up for who gets first dibs on a roster spot should someone get injured (god forbid).
  • Ritola heads back to Grand Rapids and kicks himself for signing that two-year extension.  He’ll get his shot next year.

But come on, people…look at those lines and tell me that you don’t get excited.  Those are four (yes FOUR) lines that can put the puck in the net.  Like Chris said earlier…you could match lines with any squad in the league and say the following:

  1. Our first line is better than your first line
  2. Our second line is better than your second line
  3. Our third line is better than your third line
  4. Our fourth line is better than your fourth line

The only two question marks on this squad right now are:

  1. Can Jimmy repeat his awesome rookie performance?
  2. Who is going to be the 6th D-man?

We laid a one million dollar deal at Lilja’s feet, but he rejected it.  Looking at that forward core…and by core, I mean more than four players (CHICAGO) and tell me that someone out there isn’t willing to take a little pay-cut to win a Cup.  Lilja doesn’t want another ring?  Fine.  Let’s go see if Willie Mitchell does. 

Willie, we’ll pay you one million dollars to come help us win the Cup…you in?

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