August 31, 2017, 1:48 PM ET [66 Comments]
Blogger • Fantasy Hockey Expert • RSS • Archive • CONTACT
Without a doubt the Red Wings era of glory has ended after an impressive 25 years of playoff runs including four Stanley Cup victories. Unfortunately the team’s leadership has taken a big hit with so many quality players departing.
If Detroit were to lose Athanasiou to the KHL that would be just another painful blow to the organization after having to trade Pavel Datsyuk’s contract last season. The Red Wings missed out on a defenseman that would have helped the organization out tremendously (Jakob Chychrun).
At the time it seemed great that Arizona was taking on Pavel’s contract so that he was off the Wings salary opening up some cap space for the 2016/17 season. Unfortunately they lost out on a player that should have been drafted much earlier who basically fell onto their lap. Chychrun may be hurt for most of this upcoming season with an injury, but he will be a gamer (top 4 D) for years to come.
Not much you can do when your hands are tied with a player wanting out. But perhaps that was part of the mistake when they signed Pavel for as long as they did in the first place? Better communication between the player/agent and management and perhaps this could have unfolded differently. This of course wouldn’t have left such a sour taste in most Wings fans mouths. With Pavel fleeing back to Russia (KHL) with a season left on his contract and ultimately costing Detroit a quality first round pick.
Holland and his scouting staff used to be way ahead of the game but have certainly not looked up to snuff compared to how they used to. There are still some decent pieces in the farm system, but it could be better. There’s not much you can do when your team makes the playoffs for 25 straight years and you are not getting high quality picks. Mind you, there was a time when the Wings got quality players in the later rounds. Perhaps an overhaul is required to re-establish a new vision for the team?
The Detroit method of maturing their prospects in the AHL has worked well for years. Larkin playing at 19 was extremely rare and he excelled as a rookie but really struggled in his sophomore season, as did most of the team’s offense. I expect him to be the number one bounce back candidate for the Wings in 2017-18.
With Anthony Mantha in the lineup the Red Wings offense should begin to heat up, the problem is having too many mid-ranged offensive players making far too much money. The same goes for Detroit’s defense when you have players like Ericsson making 4.25 million. He’s horrendous and it’s pretty obvious any of Jensen, Sproul or Ouellet would be a better option at a fraction of the price. Ericsson still has three years left on his contract and isn’t helping an already tight cap situation.
The goaltending “issue” isn’t as bad as most people think. Both Howard and Mrazek are both serviceable goaltenders, but Howie just can’t seem to stay healthy for long stretches of time. Is anyone else baffled that Mrazek wasn’t scooped up by Vegas? He seems like a better pick than Calvin Pickard. The Vegas Golden Knights took 24 year old Tomas Nosek, thank goodness as it could have been a real big hit to take losing Mrazek who could be the future for winged wheel.
Jared Coreau got a nice taste of the NHL last season playing 14 games but wasn’t overly impressive going 5-4-3 with a .887 save % and 3.46 GAA. Obviously the Wings were struggling and Coreau can certainly put up some better numbers than shown in his small stint. He was 19-11-3 in the AHL on the Griffins with a .917 save % and 2.33 GAA.
The wings may be in for a tough season in the Eastern Conference as there are a lot of teams that were struggling for years and are now starting to flourish.
Looking at some of the contracts from the offense:
Tatar: 5.3 x 4 years – good value if he can continue to score 25-30 goals
Nielsen: 5.25 x 5 years – seems like a lot of term/salary for a 33 year old who averages 40 odd points
Nyquist: 4.75 x 2 years – a quality deal as Nyquist should be above 50 points for years to come
Abdelkader: 4.25 x 6 years – yikes, this could be ugly for years if he doesn’t rebound back to 40+ points (which may be tough with Nyquist, Tatar and Athanasiou all above him on the LW depth chart)
Helm: 3.85 x 4 years – as long as Helm can play 70+ games and kill penalties like he can then he should be worth his contract, if he could finish on half of his breakaways he would be a bargain.
The contracts that Holland’s throwing around these days don’t seem to be of the same caliber that he used to get his players for back when Detroit was a powerhouse. Some of them are not only high in salary dollars but much too long in years.
Perhaps it’s time for a new era to begin? One without Holland…
With the team moving to Little Caesars arena and the passing of Mike Illitch at 87 years of age perhaps it’s time the Red Wings move in a different direction with a new management team.
It may take a few bags of crazy bread getting tossed on the ice before any major action.
What are your thoughts on the Wings direction and how will they fare this season?
Thanks for reading.