Will the Red Wings Make the Playoffs?

01/04/2010
Stanley Cup Finals - Pittsburgh Penguins v Detroit Red Wings - Game Five

Coming into last year, the Detroit Red Wings looked stronger than ever.  Fresh off a dominating cup win they added arguably the best sniper on the market and seemed poised to create another dynasty, even in this cash strapped salary cap era.

This year certainly seems to be another story.  Gone are Marian Hossa, Tomas Kopecky, Jiri Hudler and Mikael Samuelsson amongst others leaving the team with roughly 31 percent of the offense to replace.

Who did they bring in?

Todd Bertuzzi, Drew Miller, Jason Williams and Patrick Eaves amongst others.  Those four combined for a whopping 54 goals last year, a little more than half of the 89 goals that left this past offseason.  If you subtract 35 goals from last year’s totals the team still would finish 7th in scoring and not first.

GM Ken Holland planned on using rookies and young players such as Ville Leino, Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm in scoring roles, hoping it would force them to step up their games and make up the remaining 35 goals needed.  What Holland did not expect were injuries.  Injuries and injuries alone could derail all hope this team had to make the playoffs, let alone another return to the Stanley Cup.

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Keeper Watch: Another Wave of Rookies

12/31/2009
New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils

‘Keeper Watch’ will come out every Wednesday, noting the changes in value for top prospects who are most likely available in your league. We will also focus on young players once considered top prospects. Similarly to our ‘Endorsed Pickups’ I will try not to focus too much on one position, which will leave some noteworthy players off the list.

This edition of Keeper Watch much like last week’s edition will take an extended look at the rookies getting their chance around the league.  Most on this list are recent call ups with some already receiving their demotions.  Still there are some young guys worth looking at in your keeper:

C: Mattias Ritola, Detroit Red Wings – Ritola received a call-up from Grand Rapids on December 27th and coach Mike Babcock almost immediately inserted him on the second line alongside Valtteri Filppula and Drew Miller.  In 32 games in the AHL the 22-year-old scored eight goals and added seven assists a modest total but certainly not lighting the lamp.  At this rate second line seems like an absolute ceiling but you never know the way Detroit develops players.

Prognosis: I would not project more than 30-40 points as a career-high once he lands a full-time gig.

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Restoring the Rosters: Anaheim Ducks

11/17/2009
Anaheim Ducks v New Jersey Devils

Based on Matthew Pouliot’s series on Circling the Bases, I have decided restore the rosters for every NHL team.  Like Pouliot, I have established some ground rules for my selections.

  1. Each team contains players they originally drafted or signed before any other NHL team.  This includes players drafted and not signed, as well as European free agents coming over at an older age.
  2. I have chosen to leave retired players off the list, and lean toward players in the AHL rather than those deported (KHL, SEL, DEL, etc.).

Essentially I am choosing the best available players for a team to succeed in the current NHL season.  All 30 teams will be covered, with grades assigned to forwards, defense and goaltending.  After all 30 articles are written, they will be ranked in order.  This series’ intent is to reward or shame NHL scouts.

The lineup for the Anaheim Ducks is as follows.


Forwards:

The forward core for the Ducks is extremely deep. Their top 9 combines skill, speed and toughness making a combination that few other teams have rivaled.  In addition to the Ducks great drafting, they successfully signed and implemented undrafted free agents into their roster.

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