Kevin Allen (USA Today): “Red Wings have developed into a threat to win”

While the hockey world paid closer attention to the likes of teams such as Chicago, Tampa Bay, L.A., and Montreal, the Detroit Red Wings silently moved along their off-season with a few goals in mind; bolster the defense with a veteran scoring presence, bring in a veteran forward that can contribute points and lead the young players, and have a draft that can benefit the organization in the near future. While the results of their off-season will be debated among the fanbase, (re-signing Dan Cleary? Really?), there are those in the media that believe the Red Wings had a better off-season than we’re seeing on the surface.

One such person is Kevin Allen for USA Today Sports. He penned an article previewing the Red Wings’ upcoming season, and he believes that the Red Wings will not only challenge the Tampa Bay Lightning for the division title, he thinks they’re a threat to win it all, under new head coach Jeff Blashill. He believes Blashill will be under immense pressure, having inherited the job from “a legend” in the form of Mike Babcock, but also because he’s tasked with extending Detroit’s 24-year playoff streak.

Allen goes on to state that Detroit’s goaltending has improved with the full-time tandem of Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek, as they challenge one another for the starting job. He also believes that the Red Wings’ offense could finish in the top 10 in the league, with Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar possibly combining for 50 goals this season. While the Wings could still use another 1st or 2nd line defender, they’ve bolstered their back end with the likes of offensive-minded defenseman Mike Green, who should help with production from the blue line. The only big question mark he mentions will be the state of Johan Franzen, who made his debut last night against the Pittsburgh Penguins, after missing eight months with a concussion.

The injection of youth into the system who are champing at the bit to break into the NHL, in the forms of Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, and Landon Ferraro, is another point Allen believes adds to Detroit’s bright future. With such a deep system of talent, it pushes the players on the ice to work that much harder to keep their jobs on the roster.

You can read the full article here, and you should, as it’s a very good read, and it’s great to see the Red Wings start to get some of the recognition in the media again that they deserve. We can only hope that this season goes as well as Kevin Allen is projecting it to. GO WINGS!

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