Red Wings Pre Season Rapport
This years camp was very exciting in many ways, for example who was not anxious to see the brand new Red Wings such as Dominik ” The Dominator” Hasek , Luc “Lucky” Robitaille or “Golden Brett” ,(Brett Hull), but don`t forget Fredrik Olausson and “Old” Uwe Krupp. Detroit had also invited many contract hopefuls but unfortunately thay didn`t sign any of them even dough some of them were impressive, such as speedy sniper, Chad LaRose and Danny Groulx, a good two-way defenseman. I was really hopeing that Detroit would sign some of them to add some more depth into the organisation but… The camp had also some interesting young Red Wings prospects, Pavel Datsyuk, Sean Avery, Ryan Barnes who were hopeing to crack the lineup this year.
Let`s take a look at those players that have a chance of makeing team.
Red Wings have some problems with the goaltending, but this year the problem is not that Detroit doesn`t have a TOP goalie, the problem is that they have to many goalies and one must be dealt before the waiver draft on September 25th. The one who will most likely go is Chris Osgood, who has not become the great goalie Detroit had hoped even though he has won two Stanley Cup rings, one as a reserve. He will most likely be dealt to New York Islanders for prospects and/or draft picks. This means that Hasek will be the starting goalie and Legace as his reserve. Jason Elliott, the 26 year old goalie has shown solid play during the pre season and is now third goalie in the organization, he will presumably play in AHL.
Goalies in the system
Detroit has a good depth of goalies after this years draft where thay picked up Drew MacIntyre who has been good during the camp and Nick Pannoni who also has showed solid play. But the one who has the best chance of making the team in the future is Stefan Liv from HV 71 in Sweden. He has been great during the pre season and is one of the best goalies in Sweden at the age of 21. He is also fighting for a spot on Sweden’s World Championship team. Look for bright thing in the near future from this guy!
Defense looks pretty good this year with the addition of Fredrik Olausson and Uwe Krupp who are two veteran players. But Detroit has not only old players on the D, there are some young players to such as the very young and talented Jiri Fischer who will look for a breakthrough year, then there is Maxim Kuznetsov who is not as young as Fischer but he also has some potential and will look for more ice time this year. One of my favorite players Jesse Wallin who will probably be dealt before the season starts. This year he has been great during the pre season and has shown great defensive game but unfortunately Detroit has to manny defensemen (9) and one must be gone before the season starts. Wallin will probably include in the Osgood deal. Another “young defensman” Mathieu Dandenault who had a great season last year and will look for a careear year.
As usually you have the best defenseman in the league in Nick Lidstrom who is allways great. Chris Chelios has had some hard seasons but is now fit for fight and will look fro a great season that includes Olympics in Salt Lake City as a Capitan of USA team. Steve Duchesne who also has battled injuryes over the last seasons will try to stay healthy and chip in some points on PP. Keep an eye on Fredrik Olausson who could be a very good strengthening during the season.
Defensemen in the system
There are some young and promissing defensemen upcoming in the next years, such as the speedy quarterback Niklas Kronwall from Djurgarden (Sweden) who has had some problems with injuryes last season and will try to stay healthy and produce some more points this year and strengthen his two-way game. Then you have the great Greyhounder Paul “BAM BAM” Ballantyne, who countineues to impress the wings coaching staff with his tough and distinct play. He has once again had a great camp and will now look to become one of the top defensemen in OHL. Other notable defensemen with some upside are Alexander Seluyanov from Lada in Russia where he will look to make some impact in his new team, and last years selection Miroslav Blatak who will play his first senior season in Czech Republic.
I was hopeing to see some changes up front but I could`t even dream of something like this. First Luc Robitaille and then Brett Hull, what do you say, unbelivible. But I must say that Detroit really needed those improvements, thay were lacking some goalscorers and thay gort some goalscorers. But this is not only positive, this will mean less ice time for the younger Red Wings such as Boyd Devereaux, Jason Williams, Pavel Datsyuk and Yuri Butsayev and one of them will be sent down to AHL, probably Yuri Butsayev, but you can`t allways get everything. The offense looks great with players like Yzerman, Fedorov, Shanahan, Hull and Robitaille. There are also some players that don`t score many points and don`t get as much attention as star players, but they are very important players for a team, for example Tomas Holmstrom, Darren MaCarty, Kirk Maltby and the great checker Kris Draper.
Forwards in the system
I just say HENRIK ZETTERBERG, this guy is phenomenal, he has had a great pre season both with Timra (his club in Sweden) 9 points in 9 games and with the national team, 2 helpers in 3 games. He has also started the season with grand play, one goal and three points in three games, but the points are not so important, it is his great muture two-way game that makes you wonder how in the world he was drafted as late as 210th overall in 99. And when I saw that he was not included on the Top 25 Forwards on HockeysFuture, the only word I had was SCANDAL!
But Zetterberg is not the only promissing player in the system, there are several other players such as Tomas Kopecky, who has adjusted nicely to North American style of hockey will look for a big year in WHL, Igor Grigorenko, this years first pick 62nd overall, I read that Red Wings had him ranked as the 15th best player in the draft, and i was jokeing about it, but with his great preseason both with Lada and the Russian U-20 team he has showen that he has great potential. Par Backer, last years 187th pick overall looks like a steal to me. He had a phenomenal season last year both with Bofors (div 1), and Swedens WJC-team. This year as a 19 year old he has cracked the lineup one one of the best teams in Sweden, Farjestad. He has played a confident two-way game thus far and is one of the favorites for the Rookie of the year award. He has allready been named to the WJC-team.
The new prospects rankings will follow in a few days.