Scanning the interwebs today I stumbled across an article at The Hockey News called Rumor Focus: Detroit Red Wings, written by Lyle Richardson. I found myself intrigued to know just what THN had to say about my beloved Red Wings, because who would know more about hockey and one of its most darling teams than THE! Friggin Hockey News!
Find out after the jump…
8 paragraphs in and I was losing interest. I know, you know and anyone remotely interested in the Wings know that there have been a few struggles this season.
Paragraph 9 is where my interest peaked.
“The Red Wings have an aging core and lack depth in quality young stars capable of stepping up as the older ones fade.”
Ok… What about Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Calle Jarnkrok, Teemu Pulkkinen and Tomas Jurco?
To be fair Richardson did follow up this statement with another that sort of cleared this up.
“Of course, the same concern was expressed nearly 10 years ago, as long-time Detroit stars such as Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan approached the twilight of their careers, yet the Wings proved doubters wrong as Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Johan Franzen blossomed into stars in their own right... Thanks to their long-term contracts, this trio won’t be going anywhere, but they need help in the near future as their careers begin to wind down. The concern is there are no younger versions of them in the system to one day replace them as seamlessly as they replaced Yzerman and Shanahan.”
Datsyuk is 33, Franzen is 32 and Zetterberg is 31. At the very least they still have 3 good years out of Datsyuk and a bit more from Zetterberg and Franzen. These guys are in their prime and have Nyquist and Tatar just biting at their heels. Jarnkrok, Pulkkinen and Jurco won’t be too far off.
“In all likelihood, 41-year-old Nicklas Lidstrom, one of the greatest defensemen in NHL history, will retire after this season and leave a huge hole on the Wings’ blueline.”
Let me clear this one up. THE greatest defenseman in NHL history.
“Skilled puck-moving blueliner Brian Rafalski retired last spring and his absence is still being felt.”
Detroit’s defense has not been the question this year, in fact they have played much better this year than they did the previous two seasons with Rafalski. Ian White has been a more than suitable replacement along with Kronwall upping his play and the Kindl, Ericsson duo stepping up to the plate.
“Hard-hitting Niklas Kronwall, 30, has become a strong all-round defenseman, but isn’t capable of filling Lidstrom’s big shoes.”
Duh! Who could?
“Twenty-somethings Justin Abdelkader, Drew Miller, Patrick Eaves and Darren Helm are strictly checkers, not top-six forward material”
First of all isn’t Drew Miller like 62? And I would have to disagree with half of this statement, maybe even three quarters. If Darren Helm learns to finish, which I believe he can, he is a top-six forward. Draper did it, and all he accomplished was a Selke. Patrick Eaves is a top-six forward. He’s just on a team that has 9 top-six forwards.
“But with several aging veterans expected to depart next summer few, if any, young stars will be able to succeed Lidstrom, Datsyuk and Zetterberg – and with more than $23 million in available cap space next summer, expect Holland to commence a roster overhaul in the off-season.”
This is the one that really got me. Lidstrom would kill us, Stuart would be a rough one to lose but will most likely be back, Holmstrom will be gone and possibly Bertuzzi. So where are these “several aging veterans”? and why are we talking about succeeding Datsyuk and Zetterberg as if they are going to be gone next year? Yes the Wings will have a boatload of money this coming summer, but the core team and many of the role players will still be involved.
Remember kids, the Red Wings don’t rebuild, they don’t overhaul, they reload.