Besides staying relatively healthy - this team has ONE NEED. A capable puck moving, offensive defenseman that plays within our system. Forget this obsession with the Right Handed Shot, last time we won a cup we only had 1 in our top six. Our problem is and (has been since Lidstrom left), a massive void on the backend where we lack the playmaking, transition and control of the game we once had.
Kronwall can certainly play this style - but unfortunately he cant seem to do it while playing the shutdown role as well. As long as management stays on the same page - and based on our prospects pool we certainly draft like it - we need to acquire a defenseman (left or right handed) that can get the puck out of our zone and set up/sustain our possession based offense. We still have a very capable group of forwards, not any worse than those of Montreal or New York - the difference is they have much better puck movers than we do.
The rest of our top 6 (Ericsson, Dekeyser, Smith, Kindl and Quincey) represent 4 players that played the exact same defensive minded game, and Brendan Smith who does not fit the style of game our forwards are used to playing. At times, I liked what I saw from Smith, I thought he showed some of his skillset - but it was almost ALWAYS a great individual rush beating 1 or 2 players, circle back and make a pass to a forward regardless of how bad of a position the forward was in. His 19 points in the regular season, and 0 in the playoffs seam to reflect this.
I understand the value of having a mix of Right Handed players, but this team needs a Quarterback - even if he shoots left.
I agree with this, but I don't think it goes far enough. I want the puck mover. That's the top priority. But since the San Jose and Nashville series a few years ago teams have figured out that if you keep Detroit to the outside, and block shots, you'll beat them. In the playoffs we play EXCLUSIVELY from the perimeter.
We need to get bigger and grittier. I don't mean fighters, or hulking fourth liners. I mean we need top six talent with enough size and toughness to play in front of the net. It's not surprising that guys like Carter, Bickell, Bourque are scoring in the playoffs. They go to areas that playoff goals get scored from.
I'm not saying skill doesn't matter. It does (Gaborik is proving that every game). I'm saying we've got enough skill already and need to compliment it. One or two big bodied wingers who can score in the crease (sorry Abby) would probably increase our success.
- wings4thecup06 likes this