3 Ways the Detroit Red Wings Can Keep Winning this Season


Make the Trade for a Defenseman

You can almost be certain that any defenseman thought to be on the trading block this season has been in the eyes of a Detroit Red Wings scout at some point. For nearly a full year now, analysts and fans have almost demanded the Wings to sign a right-handed, top-four, puck-moving defenseman.

After striking out in free agency over the summer and disappointingly handing Kyle Quincey a raise, the Detroit defense has surprisingly been performing in a way almost no fan expected, but all fans will certainly take.

Yet, even if the defense isn’t broken, that doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed. Ken Holland has certainly been working the phones and virtually throwing names to see what’s sticking in different organizations.

Three of the most speculated defenseman include Buffalo’s Tyler Myers and Washington’s Mike Green while Arizona’s left-handed, powerplay specialist Keith Yandle has had his name added into countless talks upon the coming of age of Swedish blue-liner Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Mike Green (Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports)
Mike Green (Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports)

Recent news says that Buffalo is asking for too much for Myers, a 24-year-old, Calder Trophy winner that stands at a monstrous 6’ 8” tall. Green, on the other hand, will stay a Capital as long as the team is winning and fighting for a playoff spot. Yandle, while he doesn’t give coach Mike Babcock the right-hander he so vocally wants, would bring the most consistent offense to the team at a cheaper price than Myers, although he would still be a pricier option to Green.

However, through all of the speculation, Holland seems to have found it best to ride out his defense while they continue to develop their game and young players like Brendan Smith and Danny Dekeyser gain more experience while prospect Xavier Ouellet continues to mature and split time between the AHL and NHL.


Brendan Smith Redwings
Brendan Smith (Tony Ding/Icon SMI)


Finnish with Teemu 

In just his second year of professional hockey, Red Wings prospect Teemu Pulkkinen has taken the AHL by storm and found his way to the top of the goal scorer’s list.

The 23-year-old Finnish winger has scorched his way to the top of the league standings by keeping his confidence high and taking shots. He has 38 points (19 G, 19 A) in 32 games.

“Just give him the puck and he’s going to get six, seven shots and one of them is bound to go in,” teammate Landon Ferraro said.

Pulkkinen, a right-handed, built-to-shoot prospect, would give the Wings just the second right-handed forward on the team, next to fourth-line grinder Luke Glendening.

The Wings are full of left-handed, puck-controlling, pass-first mentalities that love to dish the puck off to a triggerman. Pulkkinen is that triggerman; watch here where he scored two goals in nine seconds for the Griffins last season.

With a cannon of a shot, Pulkkinen isn’t afraid to fire the puck and light the lamp for his team. He plays a similar game to Brett Hull, the linemate that a rookie Pavel Datsyuk was paired with when he first broke into the league and established his dominance.

But, because of cap restraint and a full roster, Pulkkinen won’t put on the Winged Wheel this season pending injuries. However, the Wings have one player who can be freely sent up and down without having to clear waivers, 22-year-old winger Tomas Jurco.

Jurco has been a slight disappointment this season with only two goals and 12 points, even though he has been doing better things on both sides of the puck and plays with a physical edge. The Wings might see it beneficial to swap the two players while one is hot and one is cold. Pulkkinen could be of significant help to a team that occasionally loses the scoresheet battle and sometimes struggles to generate shots and scoring chances.


Give Anthony Mantha the Call

The talk of the Wings heading into training camp this season was the possibility of fast-forwarding their youth system and adding prospect Anthony Mantha to the roster for opening day.

Upon the news of Mantha fracturing his tibia during camp, Holland had said, “We were going to give him every opportunity to make our team.”

Babcock had tried Mantha out playing next to Henrik Zetterberg on the top line before he fractured his leg and would miss the next few months.

(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Mantha sits in the same boat as Teemu Pulkinnen right now in the fact that the Wings would need to experience and injury or be willing to swap Jurco for Mantha in order to get his on the roster.

To date, Mantha has 11 points (6 G, 5 A) in 21 games for the Griffins this year and is beginning to find his form again. He sports the second-best plus/minus on the team (plus-9) and a 12.5 shooting percentage.

The main concern for Mantha is his 45 PIM in just 21 games, which is an average of more than two penalty minutes a game. He ranks second on the team in nearly half as many games as his teammates. The alarm is his adaptation to a bigger, quicker, more-skilled game than his previous two dominating seasons in the QMJHL where he scored 209 points (107 G, 102 A) in 124 games. The Wings and fans alike hope his adaptation begins to smooth out so he can focus on his offensive game and do great things for Hockeytown for years to come.

9 thoughts on “3 Ways the Detroit Red Wings Can Keep Winning this Season”

  1. Greg, they don’t need beef up front. They need scoring. Fun fact. Look at the past month and every game they gave up 3 or more goals they lost. When they scored 3 or more they won. The one goal games, they lost everyone except one. Howard has the second best GAA in the league for starting goalies. That means that 28 other starting goalies have a worse GAA. That means the defense is working correctly. With 2.77 GF/G and a GAA of 2.08, you would think that their record would be better. But their scoring comes in a few high goal games.

    Myers is too high a price tag. He would be good to get because he would be a top 4, puck moving, RH shot, Dman. He would be good for many years and right next to Dekeyser, that would be a great pairing for years to come. Kinda like Lidstrom\Rafalski (I am not comparing them together, but it would be a great pairing that would work for many years). DK is great a defense and is growing his offensive game and Myers is a good offensive D and growing them together would be great for many years. He would be a great pickup, but not for what Buffalo is asking. If they were to take Jurco, Smith,Kindl and another young D outside of Sproul and Marachenko and a pick (we should do it). Moving Smith and Kindl would open spots for Ouellet and Myers and moving Jurco opens a spot for Pulkkinen or Callahan to come up. You could not do any worse than Jurco’s minimal scoring output this season calling someone else up to fill a need.

    Green would be a good short term pickup at his price. The Wings have some great young D that are almost ready, just not there yet. Ouellet is ready and should be in Detroit. I would not be mad if they were able to package Smith\Kindl and someone else for him (depending on who that someone is). This would open a spot for Ouellet and give Green a spot on the team. When Green’s contract ran out, the Wings could bring up one of the young D that would be more seasoned next year. Sproul, Marachenko, or Jensen would all be able to fight for a chance to be on the Wings next season.

    Yandle, while being a good puck moving Dman does not do fill any other need for Det. He has years left on his contract (which would not allow a move for someone from the AHL to the NHL without trading him again). He is more expensive than Green (which fills more needs).

    Mantha is NOT READY. I wish people would stop being in love with his name. He is barely doing anything in the AHL. He tore up the Juniors, but has had a bit of trouble adjusting to the AHL. They are bigger and faster than the boys in Juniors. In 21 game, he has scored 5 goals and 6 assists. 11 points in 21 games is not terrible, but when you look at his defense, there is a lot he can still work on. He also is working on things he needs to and is hard on himself when he is not doing well. He is also in a great system in GR and Det that will not allow him to fail. They want to make sure he is ready to come up. It is the same thing they have gone through with all of their talent and its why they have been successful for so many years.

    When the Wings have Pulkkinen or Callahan or Miele, why would you pull up Mantha first? Callahan has the RH shot and size that Detroit needs and has shown scoring touch around the net. He also is not afraid to use his size and mix it up. Pulkkinen has the Brett Hull like shot and finds the small areas the goalie leaves open when shooting. He should be up on the Wings this season, but its a numbers game. Miele also has worked hard to improve his game and being on the Pulkkinen-Callahan line, has produced this season. Pulkkinen and Callahan are both RH shots that can score and should be on the Wings over Mantha right now.

    There are a lot of things that the Wings could do like splitting up Datsyuk and Zetterberg and putting shooters with both of them. Since both would rather setup others to score (they even pass up shots to pass to each other which tends to lead to turnovers). Other teams are also able to put their top D against their line to shut both down. If they split them back up, it creates match up problems for the D. Also, putting shooters on each of their lines, allows them to create and then pass like they both like to do. Pair each with NyQuist and Tatar and tell them to fire away and good things will happen.

    I like you opinions, but Management knows what they are doing and have been successful for so long because of it. They are looking for the future and do not want to trade away the future for a single year or a couple of years. Myers would be a great pickup, but it has to be at the right price. KH is probably hesitant right now also because of all the injuries they have had the past few years and doesn’t want to lose the depth they have. But Smith\Kindl\Jucro\a young D\and a pick would be worth it, but that might be too much for KH. It would open up all the right spots for Ouellet and Pulkkinen\Callahan and give you a top 4 D that could be paired with Dekeyser for many years (a possible be a great top pair for those years). Green is more attractive at his price and will open up opportunities for others after he is gone.

    The Wings are fighting a numbers game more than anything else. They have numbers and a lot of players preforming that are ready to jump to the NHL to prove they belong. Maybe a trade can open up those opportunities.

  2. I know so many people want to throw a rookie in the NHL, but it has been proven over and over again that it pays to have them season at least a year at the AHL. Mantha is great to watch and his skating is a thing of beauty, but he needs some time. Many of his PIM minutes are due to opposing teams going after him. He is not one to step back and that is part of the seasoning process. He does stick up for his team mates. Aubry got blind sided with an elbow to the head the other day and Mantha was right there and kickin some butt. Can’t fault him on that.

  3. I agree with you on Pulkkinen. The other two points are problematic. Regarding the trade, the prices are just too high. Maybe some will come down by the trade deadline. I personally would rather see us pull the trigger on Petry since he’ll likely be the cheapest. But options like Green, Myers, and Yandle are just going to cost the organization too much. With respect to Mantha, I would have been with you before that broken leg. But he’s having a rocky transition from the QMJHL to the AHL. Before Athanasiou broke his jaw he was actually looking like the more NHL ready player between the two. Mantha may be hitting his stride, but I think he could really benefit from finishing out the year in Grand Rapids.

  4. Not sure why the conventional wisdom is that the Wings need another defenseman. Sure, adding a top-4 defenseman would be great, but the problem for the Wings is not on defense–they are above average on goals against. The problem with the Wings, especially come playoff time, is that they don’t have enough beef up front. What they really need is one or two big forwards that can give them more edge for the playoffs. .Their big problem is too many scoring funks. If you look at the Cup winning teams they all have some tough forwards, even in the new NHL which progressively favors skill and speed over brawn and goonery. Adding a Jagr or Iginla would do more than bringing in a defenseman. Besides, offense is the best defense.

    • The Avs probably aren’t ready to part with Iginla, and given that they’ve got him under contract for a few more years would probably demand some big asset to send him our way. Jagr might be a good option. Certainly keeps with our whole “veteran” reputation. Again, that becomes a matter of what the asking price is.





    249 GOALS,225 ASSISTS.




    • Hey Gybon, sorry for the error in communication, I didn’t clarify that it was his second year of North American professional hockey, which is what I was implying. Thanks for pointing that out, I’ll be sure to clarify my articles more form here on!

      • Okay,no sweat….aaaalright!,be sure that you do :) .
        Also, maaaaaybe i was too hard on you with my comment,…slightly :) .

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