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What Direction Will The Wings’ Defensive Corp Take?

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Now, with greater expectations, they must take another step. For the team's sake, it had better not be backwards.

“When you're dealing with younger players there's always a concern they have an off year or take a little bit of a step back,'' Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “Sometimes they've had a good year and they get a little comfortable, complacent and all the sudden things start to happen fast, and once it gets spiraling in the wrong direction it's hard to turn it around.''

Holland is confident that won't be the case with this group – “We're not talking about 19-, 20-, 21-year-olds. Our players are a little older, a little more experienced, a little more mature.''

more, and MLive's Khan and Brendan Savage made their playoff picks as well...

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Comments

Nathan's avatar

Kronwall is a given. We know what he’ll give the team… very close to being a top-level #1 D, but definitely in the second tier. He will still gamble offensively but he’s really almost entirely eliminated the mistakes that followed him around until just a couple seasons back.

Two seasons ago, when Ericsson came back from injury, he finally started looking like the player that we all wanted him to be when he first came up for that playoff run. He continued that play most of last season. At this point, I think it is safe to assume that we can count on him to be a solid stay-at-home D, easily eat 20 minutes per game, and generally be reliable. He will bumble with the puck under pressure sometimes. Is what it is. At this point, I think Ericsson is a solid top four D.

Quincey sort of did the same thing as Ericsson, but a season later. It was like sitting on the shelf with the jaw injury helped him hit the reset button, and after he returned to the lineup, he was reliable if unspectacular. Quincey is the only D on this team that really “concerns” me. Hopefully his play after the injury was a sign of him being back on the track he should be on, and he won’t regress again like he did after his initial return to the Wings.

Kindl is easily the one guy on the team I’m most excited about this year. The first half of last season was hard for him, but then something seemed to click and it was like every game you could see him get a little bit better in every phase. I will be very disappointed if he doesn’t continue to trend up, because his development was so good last year, and he’s really old enough and experienced enough now that it’s time for him to either solidify his standing as being a capable top 4 D with a little PP potential, else consider him an underachiever.

DeKeyser and Smith are kind of in the same boat. DeKeyser definitely looked more NHL-ready when it came to positioning and confidence in his own end. But both guys are still young, and I think are prone to having lots of ups-and-downs throughout the season. This doesn’t really concern me because it is what it is… this is how most mid-level D prospects trend (and even a lot of the true high-end D talents have some regression in the early parts of their careers… see Chris Pronger).

Admittedly, Smith is a bit maddening because he can clearly do things with the puck on his stick, and has a physical element, that are Kronwall-esque… and adding another player of that level to this team immediately pushes them from fringe-contender to legitimate contender. But like Kronwall’s first few years, he is still working to A) learn when to pick his spots for pushing the offense and B) get rid of the yips he gets when the puck is on his stick around his goal with forecheckers buzzing.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 10/01/13 at 10:05 AM ET

Avatar

Kronwall is a given. We know what he’ll give the team… very close to being a top-level #1 D, but definitely in the second tier.

I don’t think Kronwall’s anywhere close to being a top level #1.  I think he’s a decent #2, but in Detroit where they’ve elected to go for depth over top end (in stark contrast to their blueline 5+ years ago) they have a decent 2, two strong 3’s, two strong 4’s and a 5.

 

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

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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.