Smith1

Taking a Look at the Defense

It seems like Lidstrom’s retirement was over a year ago. Hard to believe Kyle Quincey has only played maybe ¼ of a season with us since being acquired in a trade. We didn’t get Suter, but did you remember that we did sign Colaiacovo? Lockouts will do that to you, but it’s over now and we have to sort through the rubble of the offseason to see what we’ve got for the rest of this year.

Full player review after the jump:

Niklas Kronwall: He’s our best defenseman now, so he’ll be playing the top minutes. In all honesty, he seemed to be out there the most last season anyways. Obviously, whichever pairing had Lidstrom was considered the “top pairing” but the combination of Kronwall and Stuart played harder minutes. Aaaaand Stuart is gone. Kronwall will likely play with White since the two of them will probably be on the top power play unit.

Look, with Lidstrom’s retirement, our blueline was going to be a downgrade whether we got Suter or not, so even if Kronwall has his best season ever, Howard will be… tested.

Ian White: Early on last season I wondered why he had such a hard time sticking with a team, but towards the end he didn’t seem to be all that good. However, he’s right-handed which makes him Duke Nukem at the end of Land of the Babes. White isn’t the best guy to have back there at any given time, but in the salary cap era, he’s good enough.

Jonathan Ericsson: Okay, this is a tough one. Early in the season I wanted Big Rig benched in favor of Commodore. Kindl was better than Ericsson for about 8 weeks. After that, he stopped screwing up and started to live up to his contract. We need 2009 and 2012 Ericsson to show up from now on, but certainly for the rest of this year.

Jakub Kindl: Like I said earlier, Kindl started last season playing pretty well and was probably our #5 d-man, but by the time the season ended he was only playing because there were no other options. In 27 games with HC ČSOB Pojišťovna Pardubice, he has 1G 10A, which is fine, but he’s -7 which isn’t. Maybe he’s playing alongside the Czech version of Brett Lebda?

Kyle Quincey: Remember when we got this guy back? I was sitting in the chair at the dentist office waiting for the torture to begin, so I gave Twitter a quick glance and saw that we had gotten him from Tampa Bay. It went something like this:

Me: Oh, cool, we got Quincey back. That will make our blueline super deep! I wonder what we gave up?

*checks to see what we gave up*

Me: What!? No… No! Noooooo! The pain! The agony! Nooooooooo!

I like to imagine some little kid in the waiting area heard me and a fear of the dentist was born. You’re welcome, kid.

It sucked to lose a 1st round pick for Quincey because the first round of this draft was loaded with talent and we didn’t get any of it. Still, at the time of the trade, the Wings were the best team in hockey and it looked like we had just gotten better. Quincey scored in his first game back and everyone was happy. Unfortunately, that’s when the injuries started. We went from having depth on the blueline to wondering if the Griffins had enough guys for us to steal. Anyways, Quincey is kind of supposed to replace Stuart, I guess. I think he’ll be good for us. He’s got some good offensive potential and the further removed he is from Colorado, the better he’s likely to get.

Carlo Colaiacovo: Ah yes, a blogger’s nightmare. We hope he does well, but every time he does something worth writing about I have to look up how to spell his name. Nothing quite like working on a post about penalty kill strategy for a couple of hours and the first comment is “Trololo! There’s two P’s in Filppula, not one!” Whatever.

Funny how teams like Nashville and St Louis, who are now supposed to be better than us, both lost players to us. Anyway, if you have not heard, he’s injured, so we won’t see him in action for a few weeks.

Brendan Smith: Probably our best defensive prospect since Kronwall and he’ll be playing full-time in the NHL this season. Last year, during the injury epidemic, he showed flashes of brilliance mixed in with a couple rookie mistakes. No matter how this season ends and no matter how the blueline performs, if Smith can take big steps towards being the PP QB we all expect him to be, I’ll call it a win.

Even Smith's gloves flee in terror.

Some Guy: Now that the cap is set for this year and next year, I expect Ken Holland to find another guy to be able to call up in the event of an injury. Won’t be anyone remarkable, I’m sure, but maybe they’ll have a cool Twitter account? I miss Commie…

It’s hard to believe that Lidstrom is gone. It’s hard to believe we haven’t seen a Red Wings game since April 2012. Those are bad. What’s good is we’re getting younger. As of right now, Kronwall is our only defenseman over 30. That tells me that no matter how bad our blueline is this year, and I do think it will struggle; it’s only going to get better, right?

I'm certain we'll see Kronwall and White on the first PP unit, but after that, I'm not entriely sure. If I had to make an educated guess, it will be Quincey and Smith. As for the PK, Ericsson, for sure and Kronwall. Colaiacovo and probably Quincey, unless he's in the box, then Smith. That's what I'd do, anyways.

Thoughts on this season's blueline?

Statler: This Red Wing blueline is terrific!

Waldorf: It's the best!

Statler: The greatest ever!

Waldorf: Well, it's not that good.

Statler: No, it's actually kind of bad!

Waldorf: They're terrible! Boo!

Statler: Boo!

Waldorf: Boo!

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