While Red Wings fans have generally come out to see Claude Giroux and Henrik Lundqvist the past couple of years the overall team talent level has not been what fans had come to expect from seasons past. Unfortunately for them this year’s version might be even weaker with little in the system to cheer about for the future.
During the offseason GM Niece actively pursued a number of players during free agency to fill gaps at the forward position, however, despite being among the final bidders on a few players, they failed to sign anyone at forward. The sole signing being defenseman Joe Corvo. Similarly the Wings were shut out on all the UDFA lottery picks.
The team’s prospect pool has seen a couple of players leave the game for critical health reasons (Brett MacLean – heart condition, Brandon Davidson – Cancer) whom we hope find good health in the future. Additionally the injury bug has been more of a plague for prospect Jacob Josefsson who has been unable to play any significant amount of games for the first 2 years of his career and is coming into his third with yet another - knee this time. The non-stop injuries have cast some doubt on his professional future. Even Eddie Lack, who after 2 very good AHL seasons, should have been well poised to get his shot as backup (post Luongo trade), has been sub-par this year due to first a hip flexor and now a groan injury.
GM Niece has been non-committal about his plans for this season. Will he make some moves to shore up the team or play out the season and resume the retooling that was supposed to have ended?
How the team fares over the first 20 game inter-divisional phase of the schedule will likely dictate the path. Of the five Central division teams only Detroit would not be considered a serious play-off contender and so they will need some uncanny luck to not be in the cellar after the first 20 games and therefore stay the retooling course. Should they hold their own, however, then GM Niece might start looking to the trade market to bolster their chances.
First up bring on the those proverbial underperformers – no I don’t mean the Blues I mean those other underperformers – the Blue Jackets
Good thing I didn't net: Vokoun is strong stopping 29 of 31 (including all 18 shots in the 2nd!), but the Jackets were unable to pad their early 1-0 lead, and two quick goals midway through the third period sealed our fate.