Cleat Geeks

Detroit Red Wings: 2015-16 Season Projection

2014-2015 Overall Record: 43-25-14 (100 Points) 6th in the Eastern Conference

***Lost in Game 7, Easter Conference Quarterfinals Against the Tampa Bay Lightning***

Red Wing Team Leaders

Detroit Red Wings: 2014-2015 Team Leaders

Notable Offseason Losses:

None

Notable Offseason Acquisitions:

D Mike Green (Former Team: Washington Capitals)

F Brad Richards (Former Team: Chicago Blackhawks)

F Eric Tangradi (Former Team: Montreal Canadians)

Main Team Stats Breakdown:

GFA (Goals For Average): 2.76 (NHL Ranking: 10th)

GAA (Goals Against Average): 2.52 (NHL Ranking: 15th)

SV% (Save Percentage): .909 (NHL Ranking: 21st)

The Detroit Red Wings are very close to a time in transition. Unlike many other teams worried about salary cap, the Wings are worried about age. All of the big names from Pavel Datsyuk to Henrik Zetterberg; even the newly acquired Brad Richards, are thirty plus years old. In the short term, success will be more determined by the key pieces continual production, specifically staying healthy enough to be on the ice at full capacity. Looking out a little further (say, the next 2-4 years), the younger core group will have to step up in a big way. This will mean learning from some of the best in the game, and fast. It will also be interesting to see how well players such as Teemu Pulkkinen, Anthony Mantha, Dylan Larkin and others of the same ilk will step up as needs become more pressing.

Another glaring concern is Jimmy Howard and his shaky overall performance from last season. Sporting a .910 save percentage, a 2.44 goals against average and spotty net presence, Howard better find his game fast. He’ll need return to the form that got him that six-year, 31.8 million deal back in 2013. If he doesn’t, Petr Mrazek will be in wait while looking to take lead in net. Mrazek definitely didn’t hurt himself with his .918 save percentage and 2.38 goal against average last season.

As for the defense, average comes to mind. The Wings defense won’t win any awards, but they also won’t cost their team many games on a consistent basis. The signing of Mike Green this offseason should only help them. Most of this defensive core are in the prime of their careers; knowledgeable in maturity while knowing what needs to happen on the ice. In the next few years, management will have to make some very important decisions, as their young prospects within the defensive side are not as formidable as other clubs.

The Red Wings still have enough for another Playoff push, though for how long is anyone’s guess. Playing in the Eastern Conference is definitely beneficial for this team, as finesse seems to embody the East much more than the West. If injuries on a mass scale aren’t problematic for the Wings, they should have their 24 consecutive Playoff streak continue to 25; though it’s doubtful that they make a lengthy Playoff run.

2015-2016 Season Projection: 4th in the Atlantic Division

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