Can someone help me out here... What is the true meaning of a "#1 Defenseman"? By definition, there should be 30 "#1" Defensemen in the NHL, correct? The answer: It doesn't really matter.
This is because Defensemen play in pairs, they are tandems built based on chemistry and synergy that hopefully play greater than the sum of their parts. Based on definition, I think it would be foolish to say Nick Kronwall is not a top 30 Defenseman in the NHL, so yes, he's #1... But not an elite #1. The other question is, how can anyone honestly rank Defensemen? Points are only a small indication of Defensman's true value to a team... I watched all and (attended 2) of the Red Wings playoffs games this year and can tell you that Kronwall did as good a job at shutting down Steven Stamkos as anyone else, which is his primary responsibility.
The comparison to Nick Lidstrom is completely foolish, yet so often made. Lidstrom is arguably the best defenseman to ever play the game - Bobby Orr was revolutionary and of course had more offensive talent - but there isn't a Defensman in the history of the game to consistently do more for a team than Nick did, don't forget Bobby only played 9 real seasons in the league. To support that point even further, Lidstrom also played with Brian Rafalski for a good chunk of his career - where Kronwall has played mostly with Brad Stuart and Jonathon Ericsson, so its easy to see where a big disparity in point totals would come from.
I would define a true #1 Defenseman as a player who plays on the top pairing, against the other teams best, playing in all situations - contributing offensively (with a good first pass) while being responsible defensively (limiting turnovers) and demonstrates leadership to support the growth of others.
Who cares? It's either Babcock or Blashill - both outstanding coaches... I would personally rather have Blashill because he knows these players as well as Babcock does, and knows the next generation (Mantha, Oulette, Anthanasiou, Pulkinnen) a hell of a lot better. The current Detroit Red Wings, anyway you look at it, are the bi-product of a great job that Blashill has done in terms of development of our young nucleus, and they evidently respect him as a coach, which is massive. It just feels right, let him finish the job he has started and see if he can get more out of a Teemu Pulkinnen or a Tomas Jurco than our current coach has.
I also didn't like Babcock's attitude last night, it was a selfish press conference he used as a marketing ploy to put the spotlight on himself - and the great job "he" has done. Without finding the direct quote, he basically said that the Red Wings have won "too much", and been "too good" in recent years to be in the position to draft a replacement for Pavel Datsyuk or a "Great Player on the Back End", and that "the team isn't as good as it was". My issue here is that the Red Wings were still an extremely good hockey team when Pavel Datsyuk was drafted (in the 6th Round) - actually they won the cup that year (1998), and the year before that (1997), and then again in his rookie year (2002) - so maybe a good future doesn't cost you a miserable few years. I understand that the Salary Cap made it easier back then, but who currently has better future than this? (Besides Edmonton)
TATAR - LARKIN - MANTHA
NYQUIST - SHEAHAN - ABDELKADER
JURCO - ANTHANASIOU - PULKINNEN
BERTUZZI - GLENDENNING - FERARRO
DEKEYSER - MARCHENKO
OULETTE - SPROUL
JENSEN - (THIS YEARS 1ST ROUNDER?)
I am not exaggerating when I ask this, but which forward on that list doesn't have star potential? Yes - we need help on the back end, but defenseman also mature at a much older age than forwards do, and our scouting staff is still the best in the business.
As inconsistent as the NHL Department of Player Safety seems to be at times, I think they still primarily focus on 2 aspect's of each reviewable play (much more than any other's): Injury + History.
Because a hearing doesn't guarantee a suspension, I think the 2 main factors in the decision to only FINE Kronwall are as follows:
(1) Kucherov was NOT injured on the play + (2) Kronwall does NOT have any suspension history with the NHLDPS - Actually, he doesn't even have a review history because the Havlat hit was a game misconduct for interference... And interference (at the time) wasn't even grounds for an infraction leading to a game misconduct (which pissed me off).
If I'm wrong and he is suspended, I'd like to channel the 2007 Anaheim Ducks when we beat them 5-0 in Game 3, Pronger got suspended the next game for a hit on Holmstrom (where he also wasn't even penalized on the play) and the Ducks came back and beat us 5-3 in Game 4.
Guys, I still don't understand the "it will take a miracle to win this series" attitude.
Game 1 - we got heavily outplayed and won on the road against the best home team (by far) in the NHL without our best power forward.
Game 2 - we got slightly outplayed and lost on the road against the best home team (by far) in the NHL without our best power forward.
Game 3 - we play at home against the worst road team (by far) in the NHL playoffs with our best power forward
Game 4- we play at home against the worst road team (by far) in the NHL playoffs with our best power forward
Series is 1-1... 3 games remaining in DET, 2 games remaining in TB.
I know 1 player (unless Crosby, Ovechkin, Weber) doesn't usually make or break a team - but we can actually roll 3 respectable lines tonight with Abdelkader's return. Furthermore, Sheahan is much more effective as 3rd line Center, and Nyquist and Tatar are back playing with world class Centers who have historically made them more productive.
I posted earlier that I would love to see a JURCO - SHEAHAN - GLENDENNING line, but Babcock actually knows these players a lot better than we do.
Storylines are so fragile... If we take this game its 2-1 and were all the sudden 1 game away from putting these guys on the ropes!
I felt like this thread needed to happen - I usually don't do this, but seriously guys... Almost every post I have read (from our fans) has the Red Wings out in 4-6 games. It's not going to be an easy series, but what am I reading? Our biggest disadvantage is in net... and the other team has Ben Bishop starting who has NEVER played in a playoff game? Since 2008 this guy was a backup goalie before starting his first season last year, since then he's had 2 good seasons, or 1 fewer than Jimmy Howard has had and Jimmy's best seasons were a lot better than Ben's.
But who cares because..that's right! Petr Mrazek is starting in net for us - now were doomed! Wait a minute, lets check his resume...
2012 - IIHF WJHC - Bronze Medalist - Named Best Goalkeeper in the tournament.
2013 - AHL - All Star, Calder Cup Champion.
2014 - AHL - All Star, 2nd in GAA, 3rd in SV% - Played his first games in the NHL.
2015 - Named playoff starter for the Detroit Red Wings
See a trend starting here...
Well if the goaltending isn't as lopsided as advertised, were still doomed because in 2014-2015 the Tampa Bay Lightning averaged the 2nd highest 5 on 5 goal differential and Shots For/Against (for you analytic fans), and because playoff hockey is played much more at even strength, we have to be in big trouble! Like I said, it wont be easy, but playoff hockey is much different as we have seen our own teams built exactly like this lose to LA, Anaheim, Edmonton, and Calgary in early rounds as prohibitive favourites.
People lose sight of the fact that we have 2 of the worlds best defensive (and offensive) forwards playing against them... As long as we win those matchups, we can win the 5 on 5 puck possession game as well. Obviously, this mean special teams are imperative - but didn't our PP finish 2nd in % and 1st in goals scored this season?
I just had a good laugh at all of the experts on here who contributed to the "Fire Ken Holland" thread, but are now reluctant to part with any of our "overripe" prospects because all of the sudden "they like our team" too. And to everyone who understood that the current NHL landscape doesn't allow for any individual team to compete for the Stanley cup every year, please pat yourself on the back for defending him like I did.
As for a trade to "get our offense going" - We currently rank 6th in the NHL in GPG and 8th in PP% (all after scoring only 4 goals in 3 games in 4 nights). I think the question is "should we make a trade for a new goaltender who can make a save in a shootout?"... kidding.
I would certainly trade Tatar if he were the centerpiece of a package to acquire Tyler Myers. I understand what kipwinger is eluding too (sorry I don't know how to reply to posts with the quote above it) but I think you could also say the same about Myers - who in only 10 months older than Tatar by the way. If you were to compare Chris Pronger, Zdeno Chara and Jay Bouwmeester's first 4 seasons in the NHL, Myers certainy doesn't look out of place (with MUCH better numbers than Chara).
The point is that defenseman - especially "big" defenseman - take much longer to develop than forwards typically do - and when you consider that Myers has struggled the last 3 seasons, look no further than the team he is playing on. It should come as no surprise that his best 2 seasons were the only seasons his team made the playoffs during his career, and his best season (48 points as a Rookie) was also the teams best season (division winners).
Pronger did not have 48 points until his 7th NHL season. Chara did not have 48 points until his 9th NHL season. Bouwmeester has never scored that many points.
I don't really know who his partners have been throughout the years, but I'm willing to bet that he hasn't had one as complete as Kronwall. I can also tell you that when you look at his defensive game (because I am aware that Pronger and Chara are defensive minded players) isn't much further behind then these players as 24 year olds. He would instantly help our PP with his huge RH shot and our PK by finally having a player who can clear the front of the net.
KRONWALL - MYERS
ERICSSON - SMITH
DEKEYSER - QUINCEY
Is a much better top 6 than anything we had last year - don't forget or underestimate that Quincey was a much better player with Dekeyser than he was with Smith.
I would do Tatar, Kindl, Oullete, and a 2016 1st in a heartbeat for this player.
I started the topic because I was annoyed of hearing about how bad we were when we didn't sign Boyle or Niskanen, or that no-one wants to play in Detroit anymore. To me, this represents an approach we as fans believe in that is simply unrealistic, because in the (hard) salary cap era - no team can/will compete for the Stanley Cup on a yearly basis. Not only does the hard cap hinder the money we can spend on free agents every summer, but the 7 year contract also limits free agency availability and allows the best players every year (who aren't ever elite) to receive inflated contracts because of the demand for them.
To be honest, I would rather have Quincey for 2 years at 4.25 Million than Niskanen for 7 years at 5.75 Million. Yes, Niskanen is a better Defenseman - but his contract is a representation of 1 decent year he had while playing the majority of his minutes with the top scorer in the NHL. When you consider he was on the 1st PP unit and took the place of Letang for most of the season, 46 points on a top 5 scoring team isn't really that fantastic.
Last year at this time (after losing in the 2nd round to the eventual Champs) we were ecstatic about the season we had and the kids who were coming up (we followed it up by adding 2 of the top 3 available free agents on July 1st) - this year injuries completely derail our season... yet we still make the playoffs... have even more kids develop in between... lose in the 1st round the best team in our conference... and the world is ending? What if we had gone for (arguments sake) 8-6 in the shootout instead of 5-9, we would have had the 5th most points in the conference and played a much easier first round opponent... What if we had won that series and then gotten back Ericsson, and a fully recovered Z? The outlook would be much different I'm sure...
For future reference - this is our lineup without Franzen, Weiss, Kindl and Quincey.
ZETTERBERG - DATSYUK - MANTHA
NYQUIST - HELM - JURCO
TATAR - SHEAHAN - PULKKINEN
ABBY - GLENNY - MILLER
KRONWALL - SMITH
DEKEYSER - MARCHENKO
ERICSSON - SPROUL
Please explain to me how we have nothing to be excited about?
You cannot and will not be in a position to compete for the Stanley Cup every year in a hard capped system. If you are lucky enough to make the playoffs every year in between then that's what you have to be excited about.
Plus the emergence of a very young core of players, who (even if only one) can turn into a superstar this season. You also have Mantha, Pulkinen, and 2-3 AHL Defenseman who look very promising already. If Kenny HAD to sign Boyle or Niskanen because we had no OTHER alternatives he would have jacked the offers, but he probably knows a bit more than we do about who we have coming up and wants to atleast give them a try
I am as pissed off as most Red Wings fans today out of our lack of ability to sign (any) big name free agents, and even more pissed off that our only substantial move was re-signing Kyle Quincey to a contract that pays him as much money as Jonathan Ericsson, more money than Johan Franzen and only 0.5 Million less than Nick Kronwall makes (still a top 10 defenceman in the league).
But as much as we can complain about Quincey, and predict that next season will be a complete disaster - I am seeing more and more tank for McDavid posts - I ask myself when did Matt Niskanen become worthy of a 7 year contract? Isn't Dan Boyle 37 years old coming off a 36 point season on a great team where he was a -8? Why did the world end when we didn't sign these two? Lets just try to use some perspective before we completely turn our backs...
Last season, in a 16 team conference - we finished 1 point behind 6th place PHI and 3 points behind 5th place NYR (who eventually played in the Stanley Cup Final) while having an historically bad (by our standards) record of 5-9 in the shootout. More importantly, we also had our top 3 forwards (when measured by salary) D, Z and Weiss miss 37, 37, and 56 games respectively. I hate to make excuses, but of the 6 teams in our conference that had more points than us last year, not a single one of them could relate to our injury situation (in terms of man games lost to star players). For ex. the top 6 scorers on the Boston Bruins all played in atleast 78 games, and 5 of them played in 80 or more - please don't tell me this would not have helped us or improved our position in the standings.
If we look ahead to next season - what do we have to be optimistic about? Well, we haven't really gotten worse since last year... No we haven't signed any big names either, but we still haven't lost anyone yet. (Alfie remains to be seen). Can you say the same about...
#1 BOSTON - Subtractions: Thornton, Iginla, Meszaros, Moore. Additions: None.
#5 NEW YORK - Subtractions: Pouliot, Stralman, Richards, Boyle, Bickel. Additions: Hunwick, Glass, Kostka, D. Boyle.
#6 PHILADELPHIA - Subtractions: None. Additions: Jones.
The point here is that outside of Tampa Bay, the 5/6 teams that had more points than we did last season have not improved either - and to take it a step further, I certainly feel that Boston, Pittsburgh, Montreal, and the NYR have all regressed. In terms of teams within striking distance who have also improved, NJ and WSH certainly stand alone.
When you consider the possibility of a healthy team, the emergence and continued development of our younger players, the cap room and prospect pool we have to acquire pieces (which Holland MUST use at this point) and the lack of improved teams conference wide + number of teams in our division who have taken a step back (BOS, MTL, TOR, OTT,) I don't think the sky is falling as fast as it seems.