The youth movement has got some legs in Detroit and that's the good news, as their young players that they have been able to draft and cultivate are now starting to bear some fruit. Some incredible luck at this year's draft, netted them a top three prospect down in the 6th overall pick and they could potentially have themselves a scorer back in the fold right away.
Still, it could be some of the veteran players that could really tip the scales for the Red Wings, since Henrik Zetterberg's health has been an issue in the news this summer. For now, we're assuming that Zetterberg will continue to play through some back problems that he has and do so, like the warrior he has shown to be in season's past.
The Red Wings could show some upside in the 2019 season, assuming that everyone comes to play. They have some real potential to show off, even if they are still a little strapped for cash.
Table last updated on August 13th
Most Intriguing or Breakout Player
With his younger brother becoming the 2nd overall pick in last June's entry draft, one has to wonder what kind of fire that may have lit in Evgeny Svechnikov, who hasn't quite yet broken into the Red Wings lineup in a regular season role, after being the 19th overall pick in 2015.
The older of the two brothers has seen 16 NHL regular season games, so far, but only has 2 goals and 4 points to show for his efforts. He still has rookie status, heading into the 2019 season and it is somewhat intriguing to possibly see a couple of brothers duke it out for rookie of the year honours. I have a modest projection for the older of the two brothers currently, but it is certainly flexible, come training camp.
First Round Picks
The rebuilding Red Wings are still a ways out before they have a 1st round pick for the hockey pool draft again. It will be all about patience this year in Detroit and maybe a year or two after that yet still.
Other Pool Worthy Forwards
There's a pretty good group of forwards in Detroit, but only one is leaping up among them all and that is the newly re-signed Dylan Larkin. He broke out in a big way last season and his career trend is still moving upwards. He's followed closely by Anthony Mantha, Henrik Zetterberg, Thomas Vanek, Gustav Nyquist, Andreas Athanasiou and rookie Filip Zadina. There is some cagey veteran leadership in there, but more importantly, there's a good youthful representation there as well.
Other Pool Worthy Defensemen
The defense still leaves a little to be desired, having only Mike Green and Niklas Kronwall as your dependable hockey pool scoring blueliners. Green has been up and down so much in the last few years, while Kronwall's health is a factor year after year, so it's hard to get too excited about these two and the young defenders haven't really made their mark yet and a few of them might be running out of time.
Jonathan Bernier had a really good run of play with the Colorado Avalanche last season, so when he hit the free agent market in July, the Red Wings didn't take long to snap him up and dangle the carrot in front of him. He could be a capable guy to take the number one job away from Jimmy Howard or at the very least, give him a good run for his money. I still have Howard as the majority leader, but this is well before training camp hits.
Team to Pick From Late?
Rebuilding teams are hard to get excited about in their depth. The Red Wings could get a good run out of some young players and they could be good ones to keep your eye out for. Martin Frk or Tyler Bertuzzi, they were very close to being there last year and a good run might put them over the top.
Unsigned Players and Salary Cap
With Larkin re-signing recently, that finished off the laundry list of things to do. The Wings, who have been in cap crunches for most seasons since they instituted the salary cap, are still there, having a 23-man roster, including Johan Franzen, who moves to LTIR for the $3.955 million in cap relief and the Wings are still only $592,000 from the ceiling. They will be pinching their pennies again this season, for sure!
We're still waiting on an official word from the Red Wings, as to the status of Henrik Zetterberg, of course, but as you can see by the numbers, until we're told otherwise, we figure he'll be ready for training camp and ready to play on opening night. Back issues are nothing to be scoffed at, but they could be problematic, if they're not taken care of.