Hockey is finally upon us once again. The Red Wings play the first regular season game at Little Caesar’s Arena against the Minnesota Wild, and with that comes a keys to success. Not only for the Wild game, but for the entire season.
Let’s just jump right into it. Detroit’s powerplay, as everyone knows, was terrible last year, converting on just 15.08% of them. Martin Frk should help out that unit, having scored 12 power play goals in just 65 games with Grand Rapids last season. Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin both having another year under their belts will also help, along with Mike Green hopefully remaining a key part of the Wings’ powerplay. Tomas Tatar coming back is big, and Gustav Nyquist is looking at a breakout year to me.
The Wings are getting younger this year by trading away some pieces last season as well as losing Drew Miller. Now, this is still a hockey team that needs to be younger, but with a lot of primary contributors under 30, it certainly helps. Evgeny Svechnikov should get a call-up at some point this year, and resigning Andreas Athanasiou at some point this year will help too.
Playing better defensively is going to need to happen. Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek can only do so much, and Mrazek struggled last season. If Mrazek can regain his form, and if Howard can play like he did last year, goaltending will only be an issue when either of them are left on an island. The signing of Trevor Daley certainly helps, and with a year under Nick Jensen’s belt, he’s only going to get better. Danny DeKeyser needs to find the play he had in every year of his career except last season.
All of these coming together, and Detroit could be in for a decent season Granted that I don’t see them finishing with more than 90 points, and anywhere near the playoffs, it will certainly be a team that exceeds expectations.