Judged: 7 Predictions for the Wings in 2011/12

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

Verdict: Agree

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

Verdict: Disagree.

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

Verdict: Disagree.

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

Verdict: Agree

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

Verdict: Disagree.

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

Verdict: Agree

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?