Detroit Season Preview

Discussion in 'HFNHL Talk' started by HFNHL Red Wings, Jun 21, 2005.

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  1. A. The Forwards:

    Arrivals – Wes Walz (via Trade), Trent Hunter (promoted from farm team), Darcy Verot (FA), and Dan Lacouture (Waiver Draft)

    Departures – Joe Nieuwendyk (UFA), Martin Lapointe (UFA), and Claude Lapointe (Waiver Draft)

    Appraisal – While this team fits the model GM Niece prefers of 4 capable lines and defensively conscious it is considerably softer than what Detroit fans are used to seeing. There are a few players with that can play a physical game but when newcomer Darcy Verot and checking pest Chris Clark are your hardest hitters you’re not going to scare many teams.
    The lineup really looks odd when you realize that Todd White, Wes Walz, and Trent Hunter will be slotted in as the 3rd line or a 2B line depending on your perspective.
    The biggest question mark will be how well aging veterans Gary Roberts, Bill Guerin, and Stu Barnes will hold up having missed a full season of play. Given the teams continued dependence on production from these players, any drop off in production could be the difference between getting to the post season or watching from the sidelines.
    On the positive side the diverse skill sets should provide a high level of flexibility in style of play and soften the impact of the inevitable injuries.

    Grade – B

    On the Horizon - Brad Boyes, Antti Miettinen,

    B. The Defence:

    Arrivals – Mike Van Ryn (promoted from the farm team)

    Departures – Stanislav Neckar (Trade)

    Appraisal – Nicklas Lidstrom, recently signed to a huge contract and armed with a no trade clause, will be watched closely. The contract signing was somewhat risky as Lidstrom is coming off his worst season in years and with the large contract there is always the risk he may become complacent. There is no secret that Lidstrom remains the single most important cog in the Winged Wheel and a return will be imperitive.
    Aside from Lidstrom the rest of the defence corps is also strong and provide a solid mix of skill sets. Malik, Boughner, Sarich and Fischer provide a good defensive presence with grit while Lidstrom, Sopel, and Van Ryn will provide strong puck movement from the blueline. Add in that 4 of the 7 dmen are right handed shots so important for the power play and you have a mix of players that can effectively handle any situation.
    Fischer is the man on the bubble this season and will be platooned with rookie Mike Van Ryn. While he has shown he can play with an edge regularly the other aspects of his game have been inconsistent and recently injuries have slowed his development. Given the team has passed on many great trade offers for the hulking blueliner in the past the team will be looking for him to turn the corner this season or he could be on his way out.

    Grade – A-

    On the Horizon – In the short term the only dman near ready for HFNHL duty is Max Kondratiev. The others will need more time of the farm.

    C. Goaltending:

    Arrivals – Cristobal Huet (Promoted from the farm team)

    Departures – Jussi Markannen (Likely headed to Europe)

    Appraisal – While the goaltending will be capable it is not considered a strength at this time. Kolzig can still steal an occasional game but it is looking as if his best years are behind him.
    The team had an additional set back when Jussi Markkanen announced that he is seriously considering a return to Europe for the 2005/06 season. Cristobel Huet, once rumoured to be on the trading block, will now be pressed into service as the teams backup.
    Don’t exepect the team to make any quick trades for a goaltender until they have had sufficient time to evaluate the progree of some of it’s younger goaltenders.

    Grade – C+

    On the Horizon – Henrik Lundqvist and Antero Niitymaki

    Season Projection: 96 points and 4th in the Conference
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