For the first time in a long time the Detroit Red Wings could struggle for a playoff spot. After a disappointing playoff loss to the Nashville Predators in the first round, Detroit has spent most of the summer doing nothing except making fans nervous to watch a team that no longer looks like one of the top eight in the west.
The franchise of Ted Lindsay and Steve Yzerman spent the offseason failing to woo Ryan Suter, Zach Parise and the other top free agents even after losing future Hall-of-Famer Nicklas Lidstrom to retirement.
The team’s average age last season was one of the oldest in the league and seemed inevitable that general manager Ken Holland would inject some new life into the team even before Lidstrom officially announced his retirement.
Fans are still waiting.
Holland and Head Coach Mike Babcock have long been considered one of the best tandems in the league but that respect hasn’t translated into free agent acquisitions or trades for big-impact players. The possibility still exists that Bobby Ryan will be on the trade market when the CBA issue is resolved, but when rumors leaked that the Red Wings were interested in Shane Doan it reeked of a desperate move from a desperate team. Detroit fans should be thankful he re-upped with the Coyotes.
That desperation reared its ugly head when the Wings signed Carlo Colaiacovo to a two year contract worth $5 million. It’d be nice if Colaiacovo was a fit on the team but after likely being paired with Ian White, Red Wings fans will be cheering for two players that cut their teeth in Toronto.
As in, like, the Maple Leafs. Who were dreadful when the two were on the team.
One bright spot in Detroit’s summer is the resigning of Justin Abdelkader. Abdelkader won’t ever take the spotlight from Pavel Datsyuk but his defensive, gritty play is something the Wings have relied on in the time he’s been on the time. Plus, he’s from Muskegon, Michigan and played for Michigan State in college. That type of homegrown talent is easy to root for.
Still, fans certainly wouldn’t have minded rooting for fellow Midwestern boys Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.