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Detroit Red Wings 2014/15 Team Preview

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1 Detroit Red Wings 2014/15 Team Preview on Wed Feb 05, 2014 8:55 am

Division: Atlantic
General Manager: Travis Elkin
Head Coach: Mike Babcock

Last Year: A season to remember for the Red Wings as they added a Stanley Cup to the President’s Trophy in the changeover year from the NHL to the EEHL. In a season filled with roster turnover, leaders arose from all areas of the team as Hedman, Bogosian, Stamkos and Hall all left major imprints on the team. Even later additions to the team like David Perron and Joe Vitale came through in the playoffs, combining to register 6 game winning goals, including the winners in each of the final two rounds. About the only negative on the season was the play in net as Jonathan Quick struggled to live up to expectations all season.

This Year: The biggest change heading into this season is between the pipes as Quick is out and Robin Lehner steps into a starting role after backing up Lundqvist last season. There was very little offseason change in the top two lines which should mean they’ll have an easier time carrying over the chemistry that had developed by the end of last season. The bottom 6 up front and the third pairing on D are littered with players looking to make an impression and to earn ice time away from those above them on the depth chart.

The offseason moves that were made were done with a conscious effort to get bigger and stronger as another showdown with the Canadiens is likely in their future, but skill couldn’t be sacrificed as the Flyers and Senators both stand as likely playoff opponents.

Projected Depth Chart
Stamkos - Bergeron - Hall
Hemsky - Ott - Yakupov
Fasth - Perrault - Roussel
Morin - Vitale – Mashinter

Larsson - Hedman
Bogosian - Josi
Ruhwedel – Despres

Lehner – Poulin

Prospect Watch
Oscar Dansk (20): A key part of the deal that saw Quick dealt to Columbus, Dansk is one of the best prospect goalies in the game today. He’ll split time with Jake Allen in Grand Rapids and is likely a year or two away from making the NHL, but he is projected by most as a potential #1 goalie within the next 3-5 seasons.

Kerby Rychel (19): A player the Red Wings targeted this offseason, they were ecstatic to add him to their organization via trade. Standing 6’0 and already 201 pounds, he can play both center and the wing. Will need to continue refining his game and improving his skating but the feeling is that he can become at least a second line center, if not more with the proper coaching.

Adam Merkley (18): Third round pick in the past draft, Merkley is a gifted skater, especially for his size (6’6, 216lbs). He’ll need to work on gaining consistency on play in his own end and realize that his physical size alone is enough to win a majority of those battles. He has the tools to play the professional game, it’s up to him how quickly he can add the skill set needed to make the next jump.

The Upside: Having their top two lines ready to go from day one of the season should lead to even bigger numbers for most of these players. A concerted effort to improve on the faceoff dot should help in this as well as Stamkos slides to the wing and one of the league’s best face off men, Patrice Bergeron steps in in the middle. Hedman and Bogosian will likely see a regression in their numbers as Larsson and Josi look to take a step forward this year and recent addition Simon Despres will look to carve out as much ice time as possible behind the top four.

The Downside: We know this team will score and we know they can shut teams down with skill and physicality in any zone on the ice. The question, and a big one at that, is how well they can keep the puck out of their own net. If Jonathan Quick was having issues with it last year, it seems silly to expect Lehner to improve on that aspect of the game. Can the offensive improvement offset the likely regression in net or can Lehner find a better rhythm behind this team than Quick could? It could be a quick tumble from the league’s elite if this area isn’t shored up and one they may have to try address again during the season.

Our Prediction: 1st in the Atlantic, 1st in the East

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2 Re: Detroit Red Wings 2014/15 Team Preview on Wed Feb 05, 2014 8:56 am

That's the final part of our EEHL season previews. If you like what you see, pick up the full issue available at news stands everywhere!

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