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Detroit Red Wings

Where Do The Wings Go From Here?

Detroit Red WingsIt looks like the roster is pretty much how we will start the season. There’s a couple of waives to be sorted out, but all in all, I think we’re there, and if I’m honest, I’m quite impressed.

Ken Holland was able to tie up the key players that were Free Agents, and then add a couple of players that will definitely assist the team. Modano finally signed after weeks of deliberation, and Hudler is back in town and on the 2nd/3rd lines.

Defence-wise, Lidstrom still plays for another year, and we’ve also added Ruslan Salei, probably to the 3rd pairing.

Zetterberg – Datsyuk – Holmstrom
Bertuzzi – Filpulla – Franzen
Hudler – Modano – Cleary
Helm – Abdelkader – Eaves
(Draper – Miller)

Still to waive/sign: Maltby, Ritola, Williams

Lidstrom – Rafalski
Kronwall – Stuart
Salei – Ericsson
(Kindl – Meech)

Still to waive/sign: Lilja, Tollefsen
Howard – Osgood

Whilst a large amount of hockey fans are looking at the signings of Salei and Modano, and thinking how old the Wings will be, the average age of the Detroit roster is only 30.

However, there is a downside. Looking at the likely players to be dressed game in, game out, I see very few fighting players. Cleary has had a couple, and Eaves one or two, and Abdelkader has had to fight after a hit here or there, but nobody who will protect Datsyuk and Zetterberg. Even in the defencemen, Kronwall and Stuart only fight when they absolutely have to, and Ericsson has only fought three times I can remember (he seems to dislike the Anaheim Ducks as last season he fought Bodie and Perry in the same week).

My worry is that, just like last season, teams will feel free to batter our players, with no fear of reprisal as there’s no enforcer. Sure, Abdelkader, Kronwall, Stuart, Helm and Salei can all hit, and hit hard, but it’s not the same. You need at least one player on the roster, who is prepared to drop the gloves in defence of a teammate, and give a good account of themselves. Sure, Brad May did that, but he also failed to really assist the team, putting up just 2 assists in 40 games.

Of course, finding an enforcer who can put up goals and assists as well is easier said than done. Those kind of players are absolute gold. The kind of skaters I mean are like Probert, McSorely, and in more recent years, McCarty. Players who were intimidating and protective of their stars, but also able to put up 30-40 points a season.

Those players are now so rare, that they’re not for trading, waiving or allowed to reach Free Agency. There’s more teeth in Duncan Keith’s head than there are point scoring enforcers.

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