Detroit Red Wings 2008 Offseason Report
What an amazing show the Wings put on during the 2007-2008 season. They won the Stanley Cup almost effortlessly and earned more than 100 points for the eighth consecutive season. To make things even more frightening, Coach Mike Babcock thinks that his Wings will only improve and should be even better next season.
How can anyone disagree with Babcock after the blockbuster signing of Marian Hossa and with 99% of the team returning. Also, with about 3 million left in salary cap space, Mats Sundin may take a pay cut to win his first cup in Michigan.
Detroit has an amazing line-up lead by Lady Byng and 2008 Frank J. Selke award winner Pavel Datsyuk, Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom and playoff MVP in Henrik Zetterberg. These three players totaled 84 goals, 259 points, and a crazy plus/minus ratio of +119. Offense was never an issue but neither was defense.
What really made this team deadly was the incredible depth in every position, including goaltending.
Originally the Red Wings wanted Dominik Hasek to lead the way but it was Chris Osgood’s 2.09 goals against average that led the league. Same case scenario in the playoffs. Detroit started Hasek and after two bad games in Nashville, Osgood came into the playoffs while never looking back. Now with Hasek’s retirement, the Osgood show will continue.
Draft picks have been the key to the success in Motor City with the new generation stepping up to fill in for the elders. Kirk Maltby and Kris Draper were the penalty kill specialists for almost a decade in Detroit. Now the Darren Helm & Jiri Hudler tandem fits the mold as excellent replacements just like so many others.
The Wings were the third highest scoring team and had the third best power play during the season but now with Hossa, the opposition will not dare take a dumb penalty. Detroit will be a serious force, no question.
Detroit also has the honor to participate in the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
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Notable top players staying for the Detroit Red Wings:
Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Mikael Samuelsson, Johan Franzen, Tomas Holmstrom, Jiri Hudler, Dan Clearly, Darren Helm, Kirk Maltby, Valtteri Filppula, Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski, Brad Stuart, Andreas Lilja, Chris Osgood
Detroit Red Wings - Players added via free agency & trades:
Marian Hossa, Ty Conklin
Detroit Red Wings - Players lost to free agency & trades:
Dominik Hasek (retirement), Dallas Drake (retirement)
What Detroit has:
Four top 10 players in the league. Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Lidstrom and Hossa are going to lead this team to another 50 win season.
Defense not named Lidstrom. Brian Rafalski, Brad Stuart, Valtteri Filppula, Niklas Kronwall, Andreas Lilja are all coming off a great season with the Wings. I would argue that this grouping is with a doubt the best defensive team in the league.
Speed. It's hard to beat a team who keeps the same tempo in the first minute as the last minute.
What Detroit needs:
#1 Goaltending. Osgood knows how to win games but his 35 year old frame can’t play forever. Technically, I don’t think that Osgood is a 60 game player. Detroit did sign Ty Conklin to a back-up contract and he did go on an incredible run last year with the Penguins. Look for the young Jimmy Howard to get at least 10 starts this year.
To repeat as Stanley Cup champions.
Expectations for the Red Wings next year:
You heard it here first. The Detroit Red Wings will finish the season on top of the Western Conference with at least 120 points and win the Stanley Cup for the second consecutive year. Anything less would be considered a disappointing season.
By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Director of Content
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