I don't want to base everything off one game, but I feel pretty comfortable in saying that this defense has some major issues as many of us anticpated losing three top four d-men in two years. The Red Wings likely aren't a cup contender this season and the defense isn't going to get fixed through prospects already in the system. They also probably won't be as bad as tonight to receive a high draft pick and get an impact player right away.
I mentioned it in the GDT and I believe the Red Wings need to call up the forwards (namely Nyquist and Tatar, maybe Andersson) that are NHL ready or close to it and see what they have now. The top-six is devoid of skill and players that can generate offense outside of Datsyuk and Zetterberg and opponents can take them away easier without worrying about secondary threats. There's too much old and slow up front on this roster. I appreciate what Cleary, Bertuzzi and Samuelsson have done as Red Wings, but their purposes were better served on a team that was competing for championships. Not to mention, age has caught up to all three lately. They don't have trade value, so they likely play out their expiring contracts or maybe get bought out.
The only two forwards that might be attractive trade options at forward are Filppula and Franzen. I think now is the time Holland has to pursue and obtain a legitimate d-man. Striking out in free agency can happen as we've seen and the market is thin this summer anyways. A package centered around one or both of Filppula and Franzen (plus other prospects) gets you an extremely necessary piece on defense and provides the opportunity to assess the prospects at forward in those vacant spots. Nyquist and Tatar are blocked by a glut up front, yet the current crop of forwards in the top-six is aging and struggles to score goals when it matters.
Holland has to take a risk since the Red Wings are in transition. It is a retool of sorts on the fly, while also providing an opportunity to build for the future. I don't think you can go forward with this group of d-men and expect to go deep in the playoffs again soon. Use an area of strength to fix a weakness, since solutions don't appear to be there internally. Smith is promising and maybe Quincey/Ericsson are adequate in lesser roles, but it's pretty clear the Red Wings have in no way replaced the departures of Lidstrom, Rafalski and Stuart. There needs to be serious exploring for a top pairing d-man by Holland very soon.
Edited by GoWings1905, 20 January 2013 - 12:38 AM.