Even the most novice of NHL fans know that the Detroit Red Wings are consistently good year in and year out. Offseason reports generally do not contain much buzz, but this appears to be a notable exception to this point. The Red Wings, finishing a respectable third in the division last season, had an earlier than anticipated exit in the playoffs. In the eyes of the Detroit faithful, this simply was not good enough, so changes were definitely in the works. That began with the firing of coach Mike Babcock. Jeff Blashill was hired to take on this role, and he is rumored to be a player’s coach who is quite demanding. Given the roster that he has, do not expect to see many radical changes in playing style, but do expect to see a difference in attitude and enthusiasm, both on and off the ice. Perhaps because of the coaching change, moves and deals have not happened quickly to this point, but there are certainly coming.
Defense was not an issue last year for the team from Detroit. Next year looks to see the same defensive presence and, if possible, perhaps even strengthened. Already having a strong corps of defensemen, the team has gone out and signed free agent Mike Green to their roster. This looks to make the blue line even stronger, and the future is indeed bright in that regard. If anything, the roster is defensive heavy, with many analysts seeing seven possible starters. Because of this, the rest of the offseason may see the team off loading one of the regulars in order to free up some salary space, or possibly deal for a more offensively minded player. We shall have to wait and see how that plays out, if at all, before the puck drops in October. The defensive mix is made even more interesting when one considers the level of young talent for Detroit in the minor leagues. Perhaps it is time for management to spend some time considering the future of the offense.
Graphic via hookedonhockeymagazine
While there were a lot of questions heading into this off season, the Red Wings do appear to be making some moves to shore up their future. They recently announced a deal with forward Teemu Pulkkinen. It is for one year and worth a reported $735,000. He is young and is posed to stay with the team long term if they can keep him happy. The deal leaves cap space for the team, while allowing Pulkkinen an opportunity to prove himself. If he does, and all indications are the he will, the team will likely have to pay out big come this time next year. To this point, the team has not pulled too many other moves. They do have six unrestricted and eleven restricted free agents that they need to take into account. By most reports, perhaps as few as one or two of the unrestricted players will be back in a Red Wings uniform, so fans can expect quite a few new faces on the club come October. The next few months should prove to be rather exciting, and hopefully position the team for a new beginning in the new season.
Graphic via freep