Detroit Red Wings
NHL 15: Detroit Red Wings Guide
Written By: Blobbles890
Year in Review:
The 2013 offseason was an eventful one for Red Wings fans. At the draft, the Red Wings picked 50 goal scorer Anthony Mantha at 20 overall. It turned out to be a great pick, and the QMJHL MVP should contend for a spot on the Red Wings roster this fall. Next came plenty of losses, as Val Filppula and Damien Brunner hit free agency. They were both an important part of our playoff run, but luckily, both were replaceable. As well, the Red Wings lost long-time assistant GM Jim Nill, as well as two of our scouts (thank god they didn’t take Andersson) went to Dallas. However, on July 5th, Detroit made big splashes in the Free Agency waters by acquiring Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson. Alfredsson would prove to be a great improvement over Brunner, while Weiss had a very dismal season (but we’ll get into that later.
At the beginning of the season, Mike Babcock’s obsession with veterans held us back. Tomas Jurco, Riley Sheahan, and Gustav Nyquist were all in the minors, while Tatar was a scratch 10 of the first 11 games. But, luckily, all-stars like Dan Cleary, Mikael Samuelsson, and Todd Bertuzzi led us to a 7-4-2 record in October. The month included Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredssons’ first goals as Red Wings. In November, Ken Holland came to his senses and brought up Nyquist. In his first game back, he scored 2 goals, and was here to stay. As well, Darren Helm came back from injury and made an impact early, also with a goal in his first game back. In the middle of November, the Red Wings went on a streak for the ages: 5 straight games with losses in extra time. The streak continued into December, and in 7 straight OT games, the Red Wings lost. Alfredsson broke the streak against Calgary near the end of December, but the Red Wings playoff chances had already took a hit, going 11-10-7 in December and November.
On January 1st, the Winter Classic rolled around. Randy Carlyle’s toaster handicapped squad took on the Red Wings at the Big House in Ann Arbour. The Red Wings ended up losing in a shootout (big surprise), 3-2. Pavel Datsyuk was injured, and his last game before the Olympics was the Winter Classic. By mid January, the Red Wings’ playoff chances had dipped to below 40%, and with all the injuries, how could we make it? The answer was our rookies. Sheahan and Jurco were called up in January, and slotted in on the third line with Tatar, and finally we had some scoring depth.
At the Olympic break, 10 Red Wings were off to the Olympics, plus their coach and GM. Zetterberg, Kronwall, Gustavsson, Alfredsson, Ericsson, and Nyquist came away with silver medals. But, Zetterberg was injured playing for Sweden, and now both the Euro Twins were out. Our playoff hopes were once again looking grim with all the injuries. Our top line centre was Joakim Andersson at one point. So, Holland went out and got David Legwand at the deadline for Patrick Eaves, Calle Jarnkrok, and a 2nd. Legwand would prove to be nothing more than a 4th line centre for us, but it was a good trade at the time for cnetre depth. Thanks to Gustav Nyquist pretty much exclusively, we made a huge push for the playoffs in March and April. We clinched on the 3rd last game of the season against Pittsburgh, and then were matched up against the Bruins. At the end of the season, the Red Wings had set a team record for man games lost to injury, with 421.
In the playoffs, the Red Wings were matched up against the big, bad, President’s Trophy winning Bruins. The Red Wings surprisingly had a winning record against the Bruins this season, but let’s face it, no one wants to face Boston in the playoffs.
Game 1: DET 1 BOS 0
Game 1 was the perfect opportunity for the Red Wings to jump the gun and get a lead on the Bruins. Overall, the play was pretty even, but Pavel Datsyuk was the game breaker. With a dangle in the neutral zone, he brought it across the blue line and sniped it from the top of the circle. Jimmy Howard was also key, shutting out the Bruins.
Game 2: BOS 4 DET 1
Overall, not a good game for Detroit. Boston came out swinging after game 1, and the Bruins’ deep offense proved too much for the Red Wings. Luke Glendening got his first career playoff goal, but it was in a losing effort.
Game 3: BOS 3 DET 0
After losing Game 1, the Bruins wouldn’t back down. They came out and completely outplayed Detroit at home. While Jimmy Howard did all he could in net, the Red Wings offense just couldn’t break the Bruins defense.
Game 4: BOS 3 DET 2 (OT)
This was a game I really felt Detroit should have won. Henrik Zetterberg returned from injury, and some of our best players Kronwall and Datsyuk really showed up. But, Jonas Gustavsson seemed flustered in net in relief of Howard.Brad Marchand even did all he could to help the Wings win. Unfortunately for the Red Wings, they were now in an elimination situation.
Game 5: BOS 4 DET 2
Yet another disappointing game for Detroit. A half healthy Zetterberg was our best player. Our young guns still didn’t show up. The Bruins depth was just too much for the Red Wings in the end.
Highlights from the 2013 – 2014 Season:
Pavel Datsyuk gets by Zdeno Chara and passes to Henrik Zetterberg, who scores from an impossible angle
Why the Detroit Red Wings Will Win the Cup This Year:
Contrary to popular belief, the Red Wings are still a team that can contend for the playoffs. For the most part, the Red Wings are the same team as last year, except for losing a 4th line centre (Legwand) and dropping some dead weight (Bertuzzi, Samuelsson). Last year was very abnormal when it came to injuries, and it shouldn’t happen again (hopefully). Datsyuk and Zetterberg are both healthy, and should be ready to produce near a point per game as they did last year. Even though they’re aging, the Euro Twins are still among the top 20 players in the league and should have great years, assuming they aren’t injured.
For the Wings to win the Cup, they also need to kids to step up again. Gustav Nyquist will likely never replicate what he did in 2013-14, but he could produce upwards of 60 points this year playing a full year in the NHL. Tomas Tatar and Riley Sheahan provided some excellent depth offensively last year, and should be slotting into permanent top 9 roles. Tomas Jurco could also start this year, assuming Mike Babcock learns Dan Cleary isn’t the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. Dan DeKeyser will need to be a brick wall on defense to help out a weak defensive core. And, last but not least, Jimmy Howard has to stand on his fucking head or just make sure he isn’t outplayed by Jonas Gustavsson again. We need Howard to be an elite goalie for us to make a deep playoff run in the first place, and solid backup goaltending by Gustavsson could be a big help as well.
Why the Detroit Red Wings Won’t Win the Cup This Year:
Datsyuk and Zetterberg both start to show signs of aging, and only play around 50 games apiece again. Without the Euro Twins producing, it’s guaranteed Franzen’s lazy ass won’t produce, as he’ll have no one to feed him the puck. The injury bug returning to Datsyuk and Zetterberg would be near fatal to the team. If the kids can’t produce at all either, we will be without depth goal scoring and will miss the playoffs. Dan Cleary will likely be a starter in the NHL, who could take a spot away from Tomas Jurco, assuming Daniel Alfredsson comes back.
Our inexperienced defense will likely struggle during the season, and if Ken Holland doesn’t pull the trigger on a deal, we could be in for a tough ride, as we all know defense wins championships. Speaking of defense, if Jimmy Howard can’t return to 2013 form and lead us into the playoffs, we’ll be basically screwed as well. Assuming Jonas Gustavsson can’t provide reliable backup goaltending, and Petr Mrazek can’t step up and be a legitimate NHL backup, we’ll miss the playoffs, period.