Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Previewing The Detroit Red Wings

from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NGL.com,

3 KEYS

1. Offensive improvement

They simply need to score more. They scored 125 goals last season, one more than the Anaheim Ducks, who scored the fewest in the NHL. Part of the problem was injuries. Part of it was the power play (11.4 percent), second-to-last in the NHL behind the Ducks (8.9 percent).

Forwards Tyler Bertuzzi, Robby Fabbri and Dylan Larkin are expected to be healthy. Forward Jakub Vrana wants to show what he can do in a larger role after coming from the Washington Capitals in a trade April 12. Detroit added defenseman Nick Leddy and center Pius Suter in the offseason, plus assistant Alex Tanguay to coach the power play.

2. Nedeljkovic's numbers

Goalie Alex Nedeljkovic needs to follow up on last season, when he was a finalist for the Calder Trophy, which goes to the NHL rookie of the year as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association, after going 15-5-3 with a 1.90 goals-against average, a .932 save percentage and three shutouts in 23 games (all starts) for the Carolina Hurricanes.

That would help the Red Wings win in the short term and address the concern about the small sample size of his NHL career (29 games). After trading for the 25-year-old on July 22 and signing him to a two-year contract, general manager Steve Yzerman said they think he has the potential to be their goalie "for a number of years."

3. Seider's development

The most important thing for them to return to Stanley Cup contention is the development of their top prospects, and the top prospect most ready to make an impact in the NHL is 20-year-old defenseman Moritz Seider.

read on

added 9:05am, below watch Dan Rosen and Cotsonika discuss the Wings.

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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com