It has been two years since the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup. Since then, the Wings lost in the finals to the Pittsburgh Penguins two years ago, and lost to the San Jose Sharks in the Western semis last year.
This year the Wings are looking to get back to the finals and bring home the Stanley Cup for the 12th time in franchise history.
The Wings plan to ice a powerful offense with three very talented and dangerous scoring combinations. The top line would include Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, who combined for 140 points last season. Datsyuk is a very creative scorer who often redefines the highlight reel. Zetterberg is a sniper with a great eye for the game. He can set up linemates for points as well as anyone in the game.
The second offensive combination would be Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula. Both players can shoot well and fight hard for scoring opportunities.
Finally, Jiri Hudler will play with the newest member of the Red Wings, Mike Modano (Hudler will most likely move to left wing because Modano’s faceoff win percentage was higher during their respective last season). Coach Mike Babcock expects Hudler to bring in 70 points for the Wings this season. His season high is 57 (2008-09). Modano is one of the greatest Americans to play the game and will work nicely with Hudler. His age will not be a factor in the success of the line. Modano’s skill and hockey sense is all that Hudler needs to produce the expected 70 points.
The roster includes some good right wingers to compliment the amazing combos. They are Dan Cleary, Todd Bertuzzi, and Tomas Holmstrom. All three are talented and will be placed on lines based on how well they play with the aforementioned linemates.
Holmstrom is very good at setting screens in front of opposing goaltenders and would complement the crafty Datsyuk-Zetterberg combination nicely. Cleary is a talented right winger capable of scoring goals in crucial moments of the game. Bertuzzi knows how to mix it up on the ice and he racks up a respectable amount of points. All three wingers are versatile enough to be moved from line to line in order to end scoring draughts by freshening up the lines’ looks.
To finish off the offense, the capable last line include Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby and Justin Abdelkader. Draper has worn the “A” for the Red Wings and cannot be taken lightly. Maltby and Abdelkader are hard workers that must be watched. Of course, there are also Darren Helm and Drew Miller who expect to see some time on the ice come from their hard work.
The defense is comprised of veteran stars that are more than capable of shutting down opposing offenses. Lead by award winning defenseman Captain Nicklas Lidstrom (four Stanley Cups and six James Norris Memorial Trophies for the best defenseman), the blue-line for the wings is superb. Teaming up with Lidstrom in Dertroit’s defensive zone are Brian Rafalski, Brad Stuart, Niklas Kronwall, Ruslan Salei and Johnathan Ericsson.
This defense is dangerous offensively, keeping the flow of the game moving to Wings’ forwards. Rafalski, Lidstrom, and Kronwall move the puck particularly well, and have pretty good shots from the point. Not only do they make a great defensive lineup, they have the help of defensively responsible attackers.
In goal, the options are Jimmy Howard and Chris Osgood. Osgood is a veteran cup winner as a starting goalie with the Red wings. Last year, Howard led the Wings through most of the season and the entire playoff run. Howard will probably get the nod again this season, hoping to become the franchise’s new goaltender. Osgood is a great netminder that can step up and lead the team in the event where Howard collapses.
The Red Wings look to be in great shape going into the new season in all aspects of their game. Look for them to earn one of the top three seeds in the west with the San Jose Sharks and the Chicago Blackhawks.