Thursday, October 6, 2016
Detroit Red Wings 2016-17 season preview
It is never easy to lose a franchise icon, but that's what happened when C Pavel Datsyuk announced that he will play the remainder of his career in the KHL. Even if Datsyuk makes a return to the NHL, Arizona will be his home due to the Red Wings' trading Datsyuk's contract away at the draft. Captain Henrik Zetterberg is still playing but at age 35 there' a big question if he can still produce in his last years. Besides Datsyuk, Detroit didn't lose too much. Brad Richards retired but they signed Steve Ott to replace him. D Kyle Quincey went to New Jersey but they didn't seem to be in an urge to find another defenseman. Datsyuk's "replacement" was Frans Nielson who signed a deal to be the team's second line center behind either Zetterberg or Dylan Larkin. When Minnesota bought out LW Thomas Vanek, the Red Wings signed him to a one year deal to possibly be a third line winger. The defensive core is shaky led by an aging Niklas Kronwall. They re-signed Danny DeKeyser who may play on the top pairing. In net is Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard. It's still questionable who will take over as the starting goalie but it seems like Mrazek will be the starter. In the Datsyuk trade, Detroit moved back from having the 16th overall pick in the NHL draft to the 20th. They then drafted D Dennis Cholowski. Detroit needed a defenseman and they got one in Cholowski. The Red Wings' projected lines look like this:
Justin Abdelkader- Dylan Larkin- Tomas Tatar
Henrik Zetterberg- Frans Nielson- Gustav Nyquist
Thomas Vanek- Darren Helm- Riley Sheahan
Teemu Pulkkinen- Steve Ott- Luke Glendening
On defense is:
Niklas Kronwall- Danny DeKeyser
Jonathan Ericsson- Mike Green
Brendan Smith- Alexey Marchenko
In net is Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard. Drew Miller is scratched. Johan Franzen, Tomas Jurco and Joe Vitale are injured.
Finally, for my prediction, the Detroit Red Wings, a team that has been successful for the last 25 years, will not make it to the playoffs in 2016-17.