The Malik Report
by George Malik on 09/02/14 at 12:26 PM ET
ESPN's been positing sets of off-season assessments of NHL teams as viewed through the eyes of notable alumni, and today, Katie Strang spoke with former Wings goaltender and Fox Sports Detroit commentator Chris Osgood about the Wings' status.
Osgood tells Strang that he fully believes the Wings are "reloading"...
“They’re not rebuilding like people say,” Osgood told ESPN.com in a recent telephone conversation, instead insisting, “I think it’s a nice transition.”
The luxury of having that core group of veterans (which could also include Daniel Alfredsson, should his health allow him to play this season) and such a strong crop of prospects is what has made the Red Wings such a model franchise.
And he discusses the Wings' depth in terms of prospects, as well as what Anthony Mantha needs to do to make the team...
“That he has a complete game. That he can play in his own end. If he’s not scoring that he can still be productive -- that means still playing good defense. Knowing how to play in Babcock's system,” Osgood said.
Traditionally, the Wings have erred on the side of caution when it comes to development, opting for more seasoning rather than expediting the process. Last season was a bit of an anomaly given the club’s injury-ravaged lineup, but Osgood will be interested to see what approach they take with Mantha in particular.
“Don’t forget that in this organization it is instilled that they like bring guys along slow. They’re not gonna be in any rush unless he blows them away,” Osgood said. “They know he’s gonna be a great player. You don’t want to start him too quickly and have him struggle. He’s going to need to play with confidence.”
And he has this to say regarding Jimmy Howard's difficult 2013-14 campaign;
“For Jimmy Howard, he signed that contract and maybe put a little too much pressure on himself, plus his knee was bothering him,” Osgood said. “I think he just needs a healthy, consistent year where he doesn’t have to worry about anything more than stopping the puck.”
Osgood and Strang continue at length, discussing both prospects and the possibility of Daniel Alfredsson returning to the team.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.