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It’s Detroit Red Wings day on PHT

Aug 1, 2013, 9:02 AM EDT

Daniel Alfredsson AP

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Detroit Red Wings.

The Detroit Red Wings haven’t missed the playoffs since 1989–90, but there were reasons to believe that streak might end in 2013.

The team was attempting to rebuild on the fly and their defense was a huge question mark due to the retirements of Brian Rafalski and Nicklas Lidstrom in consecutive summers, along with the departure of Brad Stuart.

Detroit didn’t exactly defy expectations in the regular season, but they did manage to make the playoffs thanks to a strong effort from goaltender Jimmy Howard and the offensive contributions of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk.

The Red Wings took things a step further in the postseason, first by upsetting the Anaheim Ducks in the first round, then taking a 3-1 series lead over the Chicago Blackhawks in Round 2. Eventually, the Stanley Cup winners turned the tide, winning the Western Conference semifinal in overtime of Game 7.

Offseason Recap

Detroit tends to be conservative in the free agent market, but they did take a chance by signing forward Stephen Weiss to a five-year, $24.5 million contract despite the fact a wrist injury limited him to just 17 games last season.

The Wings also managed to surprise the hockey world by luring longtime Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson to their side.

Forwards Damien Brunner, Danny Cleary, and Valtteri Filppula were all allowed to walk as unrestricted free agents, although the first two still haven’t found new homes yet.

Most importantly though, the Detroit Red Wings inked Pavel Datsyuk to a three-year, $22.5 million extension this summer, thus ending the rumors that he would head to Russia after his contract expired in 2013-14.

Oh and they also drafted Anthony Mantha in the first round. He’s just 18, so he has never known a time when his new organization has failed to make the playoffs. For that matter, he’s also almost as old as Alfredsson’s NHL career.


Introducing: PHT’s ‘Team of the Day’ summer series

  1. ethanmacleod1685 - Aug 1, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    Wow that was a short article

    • ibieiniid - Aug 1, 2013 at 9:41 AM

      i have a feeling this isn’t the only article about the Wings on “Red Wings day.”

    • polegojim - Aug 1, 2013 at 9:53 AM

      I don’t know about ‘short’… I’d say ‘concise’.

    • Jason Brough - Aug 1, 2013 at 10:24 AM

      It’s going to be multiple articles, everyone. That was just the intro post.

      • ethanmacleod1685 - Aug 1, 2013 at 10:54 AM

        Oh ok, kool

      • ibieiniid - Aug 1, 2013 at 2:49 PM

        thumbs down for spelling kool with a k.

  2. hockey412 - Aug 1, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    I like the ‘team of the day’ idea, that will at least give a topic of conversation for 30 days…I kind of agree with ethan above…as long as there’s very little else going on, maybe the team of the day article could be longer or some items could be handled in separate articles.

    Personally, I’d love to see info on top prospects and whether or not they are expected to see the NHL (or have a realistic chance of it).

  3. nagidac - Aug 1, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Coach Babcock doesn’t even warrant a mention?

    • stepanup - Aug 1, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      Relax, it’s team of the day, not team of the morning. They can’t use all their day’s info in one blog post!

  4. clefty1 - Aug 1, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    The Wings will make the playoffs and have a lot less travel which will help them out. The additions of Alfredsson and Weiss will help plus Babcock can play Datsyuk and Zetterberg together. The biggest question is on defense where the Wings made to many mistakes and Holland did not bring anyone new in, hopefully Smith and Kindl can take steps forward, DeKeyser was a surprise when he signed on and he did help steady the blueline. Another question is can Gustavsson spell Howard because Babcock did not seem to have much confidence in him down the stretch this past season.

  5. polegojim - Aug 1, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    I like these pieces better in this concise format and on one topic. We know most of the details anyway, this is just a summary to remind us what to look forward to.

    Good point about prospects and Babs…

    Maybe in Sep, we could include ‘NHL Team Prospect Day’ and ‘NHL HC Profile Day’ and assign them to two different writers. Nice way to roll into the season in Oct.

    I’d still like them to be brief. Much more info than above and there’s a lot of regurgitation, I get bored.

  6. snipedanglecelly13 - Aug 1, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    I thought it be a much bigger article lol most successful franchise in the past 2 decades gets a small brief story lol. Bet penguins is gonna be the longest one bc NHL loves Sid

  7. stepanup - Aug 1, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    I like the moves. It sounds like they realize that Pav’s window is drawing to a close, and they want to win now. The defense is still young, but got good experience last year. A full season for DeKeyser and a second season for Smith should lead to improvement on the backend. Up front, a top 6 of Pav, Franzen, Z, Weiss, Alfie and possibly Nyquist will certainly fill the net. Howard in net is very solid.

    Playing in the new division will make travel easier on the team.

    Bottom line, the playoff streak will continue. I pick them to finish second to the Bruins in the new division structure.

  8. polegojim - Aug 1, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    Ok – back on topic…

    Brunner should have taken the Wings deal and adjusted his unrealistic expectations. The fact that he’s still homeless is overwhelming evidence of this fact… fire the agent too.

    Still like Cleary… scrappy guy… but time to move on.

    Wings success formula for rebuilding on the fly is that they NEVER go out and sign a bunch of FAs in an attempt to ‘build’ a one-season Stanley Cup winning team… they pick up a couple and keep the pipeline filled with youth.

    • stepanup - Aug 1, 2013 at 10:08 AM

      I think Brunner will wind up back with the Wings. You?

      • polegojim - Aug 1, 2013 at 10:21 AM

        I think he learned from his ‘experiment’, so yes – I think a good chance.

        Think he’ll fill TooToo’s spot… Wish I could say Samuelsson’s, but no one will pick him up.

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - Aug 1, 2013 at 11:27 AM

        Not unless he’s willing to take a 2 year 7 million dollar deal at the most.

      • clefty1 - Aug 1, 2013 at 12:38 PM

        Brunner will not be back, the Wings have to many forwards as it is. Andersson and Nyquist will be full timers.

      • wiebechuk - Aug 2, 2013 at 5:12 AM

        I would love to see Brunner back. The problem is more roster spots than cap space.. If they do manage to trade Eaves the $1.2M mixed with the rough million they have left is enough to sign Nyquist and Anderson n puts them one roster spot over. I’d be happy with them using a regular buyout on Samuelsson n just take the 2/3 penalty n free up a roster spot n only make $1M cap space, and either waive or trade Emmerton n u have $1.5 cap space n 1 roster spot.
        The trick is that holland can use the $2M bonus for alfy’s contract next season, so that would be $3.5M cap space which they could offer Brunner for a year or 2.. If I was Brunner I’d take a one year than cash in after a good full season outting where maybe he could get a 4.5-5M long term deal from the wings next year

  9. micklethepickle - Aug 1, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    I just can’t help but feel like, barring Boston and (maybe) Pittsburgh, Detroit is going to own the Eastern Conference. Am I exaggerating, or do you all agree?

    • stepanup - Aug 1, 2013 at 10:44 AM

      Exaggerating. There’s a lot of depth in the East. Philly will score, Toronto will be as good if not better. The Senators seem poised for improvement. Boston is Boston. Pittsburgh is Pittsburgh. The Rangers should also be beter. Detroit is solid up and down the lineup. The Capitals will win games. Columbus and the Islanders are on the upswing. Carolina was good before they were hit with injuries.

      Nobody is going to own the Eastern Conference.

      • hockey412 - Aug 1, 2013 at 10:54 AM

        I agree.

        That being said – Babcock could coach the Milwaukee Brewers to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He’s the class of the league as far as coaches go, and I look forward to seeing Detroit in the East.

        Go Pens!

      • micklethepickle - Aug 1, 2013 at 10:55 AM

        I am not going to state it as a certainty, but just looking at the past few seasons, you can definitely say that the West is a much, much stronger conference than the East. For example, the Red Wings were the 7 seed in the West;, in the East, it was OTT. No comparison there. The 3 seed in the West was VAN; in the East, it was the lowly Caps (and I’m a D.C. fan and will admit that). PIT, the supposed best team in the league, got steamrolled and swept out. Of all the playoff teams in the West, I think that MIN is the only one that wouldn’t have made it to at LEAST the ECF were they to switch conferences.

        What I’m saying is, I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that the Red Wings will tear it up in the Eastern Conference; they’re not going to go undefeated, but I just can’t see them not being a 1, 2, or 3 seed for the next several years.

  10. bennywuh - Aug 1, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    “The Detroit Red Wings haven’t missed the playoffs since 1989–90, but there were reasons to believe that streak might end in 2013.” – Just me… or did they say the same thing about the 2012 season. Go Wings!

  11. tmarchione - Aug 1, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    This is a 4 year window. Pav signed a 3 year extension on top of his 1 year remaining. So he will be 38 (or 39) when this contract ends.

    I see the lines as:

    Z/Pav/Abs (reprising the old StevieY/Shanny/McCarty line with a different skillset)
    Goose/Helm (please!)/Tatar (this line could be the most offensively dangerous 3rd line in the NHL)
    Andderson/Miller/Bertuzzi (or Eaves, or Sammy)

    I see them moving TooToo and Eaves. I like both guys, but both of them have market value and could bring return without having to buyout anyone (even if it’s a draft pick).

    The defense will look how it ended last year:

    Kindl/Smith (with the last 2 pairings mixed up depending on flow)

    The defense could be very different after this year, with Q and E being in their FA years. I could see E staying (I really thought he stepped up last year), but I can’t see Q being here long term. Q’s spot will be taken by a FA after this year (or trade deadline fodder?).

    The goalie situation is pretty straight forward. Howie/Gus/Mzarek. If something happens to Howie, Mzarek will be the starter. I can’t see them riding Gus long term, unless Mzarek implodes at GR.

    On the farm, we could see Ferraro, Jurco and Sheahan this year for call ups (depending on the injury) for forwards. Defensive callups will be tricky, as their top prospects are in their first years on the farm. Almquist could see time, but let’s pray it doesn’t have to go any deeper than that. Barring something tramatic, none of the first year guys in GR will see time in Detroit.

    I see them as the 3rd best team in the East (4th seed), and definitely a team that the #1 seed does not want in the 2nd round. The “lack” of travel will give them a huge advantage over previous years. I believe the East will look this this:

    Montreal (Something does tell me NJD will find a way in Brodeur’s final year)

  12. detroitcityy - Aug 1, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    The order of the teams must go from beat franchise to worst since Detroit is the best

  13. emperorzero - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    I think Lundqvist and Quick are the only two elite goalies in the league (one more season like Rask just had and I’d include him as well), but I think Howard is definitely a B+ goalie.

    • harleydon1950 - Aug 1, 2013 at 2:15 PM

      Howard’s weakness is he lets up a little in regular season games. But he is tough as nails in the big games. A very clutch goalie in my opinion.

  14. harleydon1950 - Aug 1, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    Never did care for Samuelsson. They kept playing when he was here before, and I kept wondering why. The guy wouldn’t go into the corner for a puck if you placed a pot of gold there for him. Never passed the puck, and couldn’t skate. If we can dump him and fill in with some new player Detroit will be better off. I love Detroit’s chances this year.

    • wiebechuk - Aug 2, 2013 at 6:18 PM

      Thad why I’d be happy buying him out n taking the 2/3 salary penalty. Roster spot is more important than cap space this year, n it would at least give an extra $1M in cap space

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