from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Goaltending looks promising, even though the resumes are somewhat sparse for both Alex Nedeljkovic (88 career games) and Ville Husso (57). But they’re in their mid-20s and come in at a combined $7.475 million salary cap hit, which is a reasonable situation in today’s NHL.
In short: The Wings have depth at all positions. There are always injuries (forward Robby Fabbri and defenseman Jake Walman already have been ruled out for the start of the season because of surgeries for a knee and shoulder, respectively) but Yzerman has forged a roster that blends core players in their mid-20s with an influx of young players and a selection of veterans.
A .500 finish would be impressive in deep Atlantic Division
As improved as the Wings look, they’ll be hard-pressed to deliver on playoffs at LCA next spring. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers aren’t likely to miss the postseason; that’s two spots in the Atlantic Division. The Toronto Maple Leafs have a new goaltending duo in Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov, and while that looks like a gamble, the Leafs have so much scoring power they project to make the playoffs, too.
The Boston Bruins, the fourth Atlantic team to make the playoffs in 2022, look like they’re on a downward trend, but the Ottawa Senators look to be on an upward trend after trading for Alex DeBrincat and signing Claude Giroux, who join a top six that also features Brady Tkachuk, Drake Batherson, Tim Stützle and Josh Norris. The Montreal Canadiens drafted Juraj Slafkovsky at No. 1, and acquired Kirby Dach.
In the Metropolitan Division, the Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins all project to return to the playoffs, though one of them could be pushed into a wild card spot now that the Columbus Blue Jackets added Johnny Gaudreau. The New York Islanders had a catastrophic start last season, but in the second half they played like the team that was projected to make the playoffs.
What it adds up to is this: As challenging as it will be to finish in the top three in the division or as a wild card, this is the best the roster (on paper) since Yzerman took control. The Wings possess speed, skill and size, youth and experience, and at the very least look poised to compete.