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Looking At The Wings From Columbus

from Michale Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,

Maybe, the team that parity forgot has finally been sucked into the cycle. The Red Wings have not had a top-10 draft pick since 1991. It has been five years since they won the Cup, four years since they made it to the Finals, three years since they made it past the second round. That fits into a picture that shows seven different teams winning the Cup in the past seven years since the salary cap was instituted in 2005.

Detroit fans have been spoiled, like few others, for 20 years. They might be getting some comeuppance this season, but their team should not be dismissed. The Red Wings remain one of the best-run organizations on the planet, and they still have Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. They can make the playoffs. Or, if they miss, surely they will win the draft lottery.

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Comments

TreKronor's avatar

I suppose when your team is as boring as Columbus, you’ve got to write about other teams. 

They’ve played three games so far, and only had 5 days before the season opener to practice.  The sky isn’t falling…not yet.

Posted by TreKronor on 01/24/13 at 09:39 AM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

They’ve played three games so far, and only had 5 days before the season opener to practice

I might buy that excuse if other teams weren’t playing so well.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 01/24/13 at 09:53 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

Arace usually sounds like he hardly knows what “hockey” is, but he’s on point with this one. It is going to be a challenging season for the Wings, and “playoffs” (in the most non-specific sense) is the goal. Hard to lose one of the top 10 players in history (who is still capable of playing at a level that puts him as one of the 5 - 10 best D in the league). It was a long time coming.

What matters now is the path Holland and co. take forward. There aren’t a lot of great options, but this is what every team faces in the cap world. You can tank it a la the Pens/Hawks/Oilers/Caps and use a bunch of high picks to rebuild, you can roll the dice and hope you can land one or two big fish from UFA, or if you have organizational depth at a position, you can trade from that strength to fill holes in other spots.

What I’d like to see the Wings do, much as it sucks after a long run of success, is to play this season with the roster they have. If an opportunity to turn some of their AHL and junior-level forward depth into a good young D arises, take it and make the trade. Otherwise, see where you land at the deadline. If the playoffs aren’t firmly in the picture, then it is time to see what someone like Filppula would fetch in a deadline deal. And if teams are interested in some mid-round picks for veterans like Cleary (think his NTC expired last year), gotta entertain that.

In a perfect world, Johan Franzen would score 25 goals this season, attracting the attention of a team that needs a winger next year, and needs help getting to the salary floor, and that would give the Wings a chance to shed that long contract and pick up a good pick and/or prospect. But I’m not holding my breath on that one.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/24/13 at 10:10 AM ET

Avatar

I might buy that excuse if other teams weren’t playing so well.

It’s not like the Wings are the only teaem that isn’t playing so well, and it’s not like they played as badly against Columbus and Dallas as they did against St Louis.  Oh, and they also played three games in four nights to start off the season.

Let’s not bury them quite yet, eh?

Posted by Garth on 01/24/13 at 10:11 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

We’re less than a week in and I’ve seen some absolutely garbage hockey.  It’s unfortunate that one of the two fairly complete mid-season-form games I’ve seen a team put out was the Blues’ game against the Wings, but hockey is not back up to speed just yet.

That said, the Wings will need to get up to speed quickly and I expect a good performance against the Wild tomorrow.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/24/13 at 10:19 AM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

Add in an injury a game or so…. the revolving door of a line up doesn’t help when the Wings are somewhat “challeneged” in that department.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 01/24/13 at 10:29 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

I expect that with two days off before the MN game, it can only help - especially for the Power Play.

Posted by TreKronor on 01/24/13 at 10:33 AM ET

henrymalredo's avatar

Datsyuk and Zetterburg have a couple good years left, they’ve got some got some good young offensive talent in guys like Brunner, Nyquist and Tatar.  I wouldn’t call Howard elite, but he’s a workhorse and I think he could back-stop a decent team to the Cup.  So with that mind, if the season continues as it has so far, I think the team has enough talent going forward where there is no point in blowing it up, but I do think changes need to be made.  There’s most likely no stud defenseman going through the doors, so I think it would be to the Wings’ benefit to make their defense deeper if they can’t add more top end talent, add some guys who can do their job, even if they aren’t top pairing talent, and won’t get injured.  And Holland and co. really need to take a closer look at defensemen in the draft, it seems the Wings’ system is quite weak there.

Posted by henrymalredo from Lansing on 01/24/13 at 11:01 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

...if they miss, surely they will win the draft lottery.

The way Holland has performed lately, he’d probably blow that too.

If the Blues game made one thing painfully obvious (both physically and figuratively), it’s that the Wings are undersized. Their “big” forwards are either “stringbeans” (like Sammy) or “pansies” (cough*Franzen*cough). Bert’s the only forward big enough, and tough enough, to throw his weight around.

And, unfortunately, the majority of the Wings’ prospects are also “undersized,” including Brunner, Nyquist, Tatar, Ferraro, Jarnkrok, etc. Only Sheahan and Andersson have “size” (meaning both height and weight).

Until that issue gets addressed, and the Wings have more than two or three real NHL defensemen, the only playoff streak they’ll have is the number of consecutive playoffs missed. Now is the time for Tick Tock to prove he really is one of the league’s best GMs.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/24/13 at 11:37 AM ET

Avatar

Now is the time for Tick Tock to prove he really is one of the league’s best GMs.

Jesus Christ.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/24/13 at 11:40 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

it seems the Wings’ system is quite weak there.

Yeah, maybe a little bit. RedWingsCentral.com ranks Ryan Sproul and Xavier Ouellet as the 6th and 7th best prospects overall in the system. Adam Almqvist (13th), Mattias Backman (14th) and Nick Jensen (15th) are next, and none of those five are described as stay-at-home defensemen (at best, Ouellet and Jensen are described as “two-way defenseman”).

(also, of course, it’s a rank, so their positions are skewed by the great offensive prospects [and Mrazek] we have)

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 01/24/13 at 11:46 AM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

I say stick with the defense they have, give up on trying to add players to improve it (it doesn’t seem to be working, and who is really available anyway) and focus on simply outscoring the other team.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 01/24/13 at 11:52 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

Well, it was only a matter of time before someone would bring out the tired “size” argument…

There’s more than one way to skin a cat. The Wings have successfully skinned the cat by focusing on talent and work ethic, and dealing with size/physicality issues later on, if need be.

That’s not to say there wouldn’t be merits in the team getting bigger, but the issue here is that the team currently lacks both the size to play an uglier, but effective game (like the Blues have), and they lack the skill level on defense to continue playing their puck possession/skill game at the high level necessary to win Cups.

The organization is loaded with skilled forward depth. The best thing it can try to do (if it wants to throw out all the stops to avoid having to do a full rebuild) is to turn that skilled forward surplus into improvement on the D and some veteran size up front. Otherwise you are leaving it totally to the serendipity of the UFA process, or it’s time to tank and rebuild.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/24/13 at 11:52 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Jesus Christ.

Just worshiping or do you have a point?

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 01/24/13 at 11:54 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 01/24/13 at 11:54 AM ET

He’s just being his usual sanctimonious-self.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 01/24/13 at 12:05 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

Maybe this is the year the Wings…..........???

If you write it every year eventually your predictions come true.

All I know is that 10 years from now the Wings will still be playing hockey, and the Blue Jackets will be playing in Quebec City, or Hamilton, or will be folded into aother team like the Barons were long ago.

Posted by Down River Dan on 01/24/13 at 12:14 PM ET

Avatar

The best thing it can try to do (if it wants to throw out all the stops to avoid having to do a full rebuild) is to turn that skilled forward surplus into improvement on the D and some veteran size up front.

The problem with that is the “skilled surplus” they have are the young guys who should be playing, and the guys they should be trading are old guys that have little to no trade value.

Posted by Garth on 01/24/13 at 12:25 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Now is the time for Tick Tock to prove he really is one of the league’s best GMs.
Jesus Christ.
Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/24/13 at 11:40 AM ET

I know the guy walks on water and makes saves, but he’s a lousy evaluator of talent. Judas, really? I don’t think he’s GM material, especially to replace Kenny.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 01/24/13 at 02:50 PM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

The last time one of Kenny Holland’s acquisitions made me say “WOW!” was 6 years ago when he brought in Brian Rafalski.

He’s overdue for another wow moment and sometime between now and the trade deadline it’s going to happen.

You know the entire staff from Mr. I on down is uber competitive and don’t want to end up giving away a car a night just to put fannies in the seats like they were doing when they first drafted Stevie Y.

In this compact season, injuries (real or not) are going to happen.  The best strategy is to take the rest of January and all of February and have rotating groin issues arise so they can bring up different players from GR in order to evaluate them at the NHL level.  That would eliminate a lot of the guess work as to where the “holes” are on this team (besides D).

Like I’ve said before ... be patient and strap yourself in ... Holland’s next move is going to be a doozie.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 01/24/13 at 03:39 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Jesus Christ.

Just worshiping or do you have a point?

I think HD is still in mourning over the owners settling the lockout. He seemed to be his happiest when there was no hockey being played. Of course, the argument could be made that what the Wings are doing (at least on D) really isn’t playing hockey. smile

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/24/13 at 03:57 PM ET

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About The Malik Report

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.