After 24 games last season, while we were a healthy Red Wings team, we were a whooping 12-14...It's more than injuries that are slowing us down from winning a Cup...
First off...how can a team have a record longer than games played?
If we arbitrarily change it to include October and November (27 games) it becomes:
13-10-4, where OT losses count as real losses, and the third column is only shootout losses.
That's a Wings team where Bertuzzi and Cleary were in the lineup, Tatar had limited minutes, Nyquist hadn't been called up, and Weiss was playing injured and Alfredsson was learning a new system. Oh, and Franzen was having whatever secretive issues plagued him. We were hardly healthy, just not as injured as we would become. I separated the shootouts because those can't really indicate the success or failure of a team. It's more like pure dumb luck on a given night for an individual player.
In other words, the Wings got points in 20 games of 27. That's pretty remarkable considering all the dead weight on the team. If we look at a record as showing games where points were earned they were 20-7 in the first two months. Consider that any of those games could've been victories with a lucky bounce here and there.
Now we have the kid line and Nyquist. Smith is coming on and hopefully won't pull a Kindl, Zetterberg will be healthier than he's been in years, it's really not as bleak, at least for the regular season. We still have to change as a team to be built for a playoff run, but I'm not worried about the regular season, even if we iced the same team we did this year (God forbid).
Most overused term in hockey "good puck moving defensemen."
What the Wings need before we start camp: 2 smart puck moving defensemen.
We had SOOOOOOO many horrible first passes by our defensemen that caused an equal amout of turnovers in the neutral zone that I literally lost count most games. Opposing teams knew this and pressured our defense and created millions of these turnovers. (See Quincey, Kindl, Lashoff and Smith) On the flip side, their inability to make that 1st pass in an accurate manner cut in half our scoring chances most nights.
Consider that last point. If you can increase 5-10 more scoring chances, you essentially add an extra goal every other game. That's 41 more goals a season.
This is why I don't think we need another forward. We just need TWO good puck moving defensemen.
Mike Babcocks style of hockey is 100% dependent on defensemen that can move the puck, make great 1st passes and even join in the scoring by having an above average shot. Smith Big E and Kronwal meet this criteria ( I know Smith is frustrating to most of you but he is still very young) but none of our other defensemen even come close to Babcock's brand of Hockey.
All that said, I don't think Holland sees it this way and will most likely only pick up one average defensemen instead of trading for two top 4 types.
I don't really care if Sproul and Oulett are 21 and 20...if they can play at the NHL level, they should be here...if they need more time in GR, that's fine, but if Babcock and his staff think they're a better option than Kindl and Lashoff, bring them up and roll them out there. I think Marchenko..assuming his ankle is 100% is absolutely ready now and I would rather bring him up than overpay to keep Quincy..which given the thin FA market for Dmen is something we'd likely have to do.
BTW..I'm not a Quincey hater, I think he's been a decent 2nd/3rd pairing guy for much of his time here. I don't think the trade that brought him here was a bad one, yeah we gave up a number one for him, but we got a couple of years of play from a top 6 Dman . That's not a bad return. I just don't think Quincey is worth the $5 mil or so someone else will throw at him.
I don't think that any of those older guys are the answer, even in the short term. Boyle's play dropped off significantly this year, I've never been impressed with Zidlicky or Morris, and Timmonen is a small, 39-year-old left handed shooter. I don't want anyone over the age of 35 signed, period. Niskanen and maybe Gilbert on a shorter term deal are the only 2 I'd be really interested in, and I doubt Niskanen makes it to free agency. With Sproul, Ouellet, and Marchenko, plus the lower tier prospects coming and Kronwall, Ericsson, and Dekeyser not going anywhere, and Smith finally settling down and still having upside they don't need to go out and do a lot defensively.