Yes! hell yes! it is time for Red Wings hockey! The time of year when hope springs eternal, and everyone thinks they can win the Cup!
Now, set your heart aside (hard to do I know) and tell us what you think will happen? I will go first.
First thoughts. this team is a lot like last years team. going to be pretty good on D and struggle to score goals on a regular basis. IIRC we finished 8th in goals allowed and 22nd in goals scored last year. I really don't expect that to change much. But the D could get worse. I love our group fo talented young and big Dman. Of the 7 that should make the roster only 1-Kronwall is under 6-2. That is a big time change from just 3 years ago. The problem isn't talent, we have plenty. it is experience. There are legit reasons for the term "sophomore slump". I expect all of the younger guys to have down periods over the course of the year. Kindl-less than 2 full seasons, Smith-less than 1 full season, DeKeyser-less than 1 full season, Lashoff-less than 1 full season, are collectively very young and inexperienced. Q is Q and will look good some games and just terrible in others. Over the course of the season I think it will average out and we will end up in the top half of the league. maybe top third.
Forwards are a different mix. We are still very much an offensively challenged team. Our forwards are very good defensive players which will help keep games close. But scoring goals will be a struggle all year. as of today there are only 5 forwards on the team that most of us would consider sure 20 goal scorers: Z, dat, franzen, Weiss, and Alfie. alfie is really a maybe. I don't think we have a 30 goal guy this year. if anyone does it Z and dat are the only real candidates.
On the plus side young talent is on the way. tatar and Nyquist should be on the team-may not be due to numbers, Jurco and Sheahan are nearly there, with others coming. When injuries happen-and it will be an issue, we have some depth to step in/up.
Overall I expect this team to end up somewhere between 6th and 10th in the east. I expect us to start strong. Our speed will help for the first 30-40 games. it is in the second half of the season that our lack of size and toughness will catch up with us. I see 40 wins, 8-10 OTL's and somewhere in the 95 point range when the season is done. In other words-same as last year but for a full season. of course a key injury and we are screwed-not going to tempt fate and name any names.