The Red Wings started the season with a slight rebuild in mind. GM Ken Holland acknowledged that this season would be a little different than the past seasons that Detroit has seen. With that in mind, the Red Wings fought through injuries and youth all season. In the end Detroit won the last four games of the regular season to give them a 24-16-8 record, good for 56 points, and the 7th seed in the Western Conference.
Inconsistency in Detroit’s offense was a problem this season. They ended the year with 124 goals for, but saw them in streaks when second line players would hit a hot streak. Pavel Datsyuk led the Red Wings with 15 goals, and a total of 49 points. Captain, Henrik Zetterberg led the Red Wings with 37 assists and finished the season with 48 points.
Detroit’s defense was shaky to say the least. The retirement of seven time Norris Trophy winner, Nicklas Lidstrom, put a huge hole in the Red Wings blueline. Jonathan Ericsson and Niklas Kronwall filled in well, but the second and third line on defense was young, and made lots of young mistakes early in the season. The young guns settled in after a while and started to look much better than they had at the beginning of the season. The addition of free agent Danny Dekeyser was a huge part in the Wings success late in the season. Dekeyser isn’t an offensive minded defenseman, but he can skate, get the puck out without making mistakes, and he can shut down top scorers.
Goaltender Jimmy Howard proved again that he can be a work horse in net for the Wings. Jonas Gustavsson’s groin injury early in the season gave Howard a total of 42 games at the end of the season. Howard was given an extension and lived up to the price tag, even through the playoffs. He finished the season with a goals against average of 2.13 and a save percentage of .923%.
The Red Wings powerplay finished in the middle of the pack this season with a percentage of 18.4%. The penalty kill saw a percentage of 81.7%. Both decent numbers, but both could improve drastically with the roster the Red Wings have.
The Wings made it to the second round of the playoffs before getting knocked out by the Chicago Blackhawks. The Wings beat the second seeded Anaheim Ducks in 7 games to advance to the Conference Semifinals to play the Blackhawks. The Red Wings took a 3-1 series lead on the Blackhawks, but the Hawks battled back and won the next three games on way to their second cup in four years.
Detroit’s offseason has been busy. Valtteri Filppula walked for money in Tampa, Damien Brunner walked, but has yet to sign elsewhere. The Wings just resigned Brendan Smith to a two year deal, they brought in former Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson, and former Florida assistant captain Stephen Weiss in free agency. Dan Cleary has agreed to a contract and is waiting on the Red Wings to make room on the roster.
Detroit will be making more moves before the season starts. The forward position is loaded, and they still need help on the defensive end. The Wings went out and got the free agents they wanted, and now they look to be favorites next season. Detroit will be joining the Eastern Conference this season, and will play in a division with Boston, Buffalo, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, and Toronto.
Topics: Brendan Smith, Damien Brunner, Dan Cleary, Daniel Alfredsson, Danny Dekeyser, Detroit Red Wings, Henrik Zetterberg, Jimmy Howard, Jonas Gustavsson, Jonathan Ericsson, Ken Holland, Nicklas Lidstrom, Niklas Kronwall, Pavel Datsyuk, Season Review, Stephen Weiss, Valtteri Filppula