The Detroit Red Wings have been a team of streaks thus far this season. They started off with a five-game winning streak, a six-game losing streak,, a four-game winning streak, a two-game losing streak , and a three-game winning streak . After losing to Nashville, the Red Wings followed it with a two-game winning streak. The Red Wings have benefited by having the best home record to date of 15-2-1, but a mediocre road record of 9-11. The records are the opposite of the prior season where the Red Wings flourished on the road and struggled at home. The Central Division where the Red Wings reside is currently the best in the NHL, where four of the five teams would make the playoffs if they began today.
Currently Chicago leads the Division and NHL, but defensively the Blackhawks look venerable on defense and goal tending. The St. Louis Blues have moved from fourteenth place in the Western Conference to fourth place since Ken Hitchcock was named head coach. St. Louis was a non-factor until Hitchcock was hired. St. Louis has the talent, but under performed until the coaching change. Nashville has been on a winning streak since slumping early, but as always Barry Trotz always finds a way to win even though they are challenged offensively. With Shea Weber and Ryan Suter on defense and Pekka Rinne in goal the Predators are a dangerous team and can shut down an opponent. The Columbus Blue Jackets are the worst team in the NHL, and almost would need a major rebuild to be competitive. It must be frustrating for Rick Nash to be on an underperforming team year after year after year.
The Red Wings will make the playoffs, but in which position? The way the Blackhawks are currently playing the highest they could be seeded is fourth, but as mentioned previously the Blackhawks need to score a lot of goals to compensate for their mediocre defense. The Red Wings could do very well in the playoffs with their current roster, but it’s probable GM Ken Holland will make a move or two prior to the February 27th trade deadline. The biggest concern for the Red Wings currently is the back up goal tending. Ty Conklin has not played in many games to date, but has been a bit shaky. Part of it may due to lack of playing time, but the few times Conklin has played he has ben average at best. It seems coach Mike Babcock has not shown much confidence in Conklin since he has been reluctant to play Conklin in situations where the Red Wings played back-to-back games, using Howard instead. Conklin will more than likely have a chance to show his abilities before the trade deadline.
Any further moves by Ken Holland before the trade deadline depends on injuries and the teams standing in February. Instead of analyzing the forwards and defensemen on the Red Wings, along with their strengths and weaknesses lets consider what move or moves the Red Wings might make. They will look to add a rugged (read: larger) top six forward, and possibly a defenseman. The thought by this writer is the Red Wings will push to improve size and scoring ability up front, as they seem to lack this dimension when they play against bigger, physical teams.