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Ian White The Key To Detroit’s Defense

from Daniel Wagner of The Score,

While most of the focus when talking about the Red Wings defence has revolved around Niklas Kronwall and whether he’ll be able to fill even a portion of Lidstrom’s shoes, I want to take a different tack. I think the focus on Kronwall is misguided and that the key to how the Red Wings will handle Lidstrom’s absence is actually Ian White.

Yes, I’m going to damn well talk about Ian White, because screw the lockout.

White was signed as a free agent last off-season to replace the retiring Brian Rafalski, stepping into Rafalski’s vacated role as Lidstrom’s sidekick, a position briefly held by Brad Stuart. Stuart is another Wings’ defenceman who has left the fold, signing with the San Jose Sharks. That means that only one-quarter of the Wings’ top-four from two years ago remains with the team: Kronwall.

Kyle Quincey and Carlo Colaiacovo are decent second-pairing options and Jonathan Ericsson can also fill that role. Also, the Red Wings hope that Brendan Smith can build on a 14-game stint in the NHL last season and become a number one defenceman, but he is still a long ways off. Kronwall is the Wings’ best all-around defenceman: he plays in every situation, is capable of scoring and setting up goals, and hits harder than anyone else in the league. He has yet to prove, however that he can be that number one guy.

That leaves Ian White. How well he plays will determine how successful the Red Wings’ defence corps will be next season.

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