The Detroit Red Wings were 24-16-8 in a strike-shortenws NHL season last year and just don’t seem geared to go anywhere greatly above what’s usually been a comfort zone for them record-wise during the regular season. If they finish about 12 games above .500, that would make sense. It’s a decent Red Wings team, but not one that’s going to set the world on fire until perhaps the playoffs when coach Mike Babcock really likes to see his team outperform what they did during the regular season. That’s what happened in 2013 with a strong Stanley Cup playoff run. It might happen again.
The Red Wings for years complained about being in the Western Conference and wanted to be in the East. Their wish has been granted and fewer trips out West could be less of a burden on a team during the rugged 82-game schedule. Five of the teams in the Atlantic Conference, of which the Wings are members this season, had .500 or better records last year, with the likes of the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadians.
But the Red Wings will be able to hold their own with plenty of talent at the forward spot. They added Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss at the spot, and also have Dan Cleary returning.
The scoring will be spread out like it usually is with the Wings, but expect forwards Pavel Datsyuk, who led the team with 15 goals and 24 assists last year, and Henrick Zetterberg, with 11 goals and 37 assists, to be top scorers again along with Johan Franzen.
Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson will continue to give the Wings scoring from the defensive positions. Justin Abdelkader also returns as one of the team’s capable enforcers.
Goalie Jimmy Howard had a 2.31 goals against average last season and continues to assert himself as one of the league’s top netminders.
The Wings have enough talent to make the playoffs and maybe also obtain home ice in the first round. Record prediction: 40-28-14.