After the tearful departure of Steve Yzerman, the Detroit Red Wings extended their power across borders and bad lines by adding Mike Modano and Chris Chelios.
Modano will return to the Red Wings to end his career, near to his roots growing up in suburban Detroit. But Modano was always a Red Wings kind of player. A kid from Westland can’t play on Mike Illitch’s youth team without some kind of loyalty to the red and white.
Pre-game partying at Cheli’s won’t be a thing of the past. Though the Wings declined to sign Chris Chelios to play, they have brought him somewhere, anywhere within the team’s organization. Is this like the Messier internship that I so covet? Bringing in experienced Red Wing alum will calm the crowds. Chelios, who already gets the drift, will make an impact out of sheer loyalty despite the disruption from last year.
So how does all of this benefit your fantasy hockey roster on draft day? You can still rely on Detroit to fill you fantasy needs, particularly Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. These two power forwards will make it work. Injuries and an off-kilter mode sent the Wings into tight situations yet they still took a spot in the playoffs.
Johan Franzen is the third guy on the running relay team- he makes up the difference to hand off the score. He wants that role, so expect plenty of assists and shots on goal.
With the return of Jiri Hudler, anything goes. He was ranked 12th in scoring in the KHL, but that may not translate to NHL quotas. If you can spare the spot, then take a chance.
If someone in your league is keeping Jimmy Howard, too bad. This is the catch him if you can pick. Don’t think it’s crazy to draft a goalie first either. The role of goaltender is diminishing in its impact, but you must have one starter to lead the charge. Two solid goalies work for your stats to diversify your scoring into more categories.
For those who have Chris Osgood, I don’t know what to say. Look at your options.
Adding Ruslan Salei was fine. I watched him play in Denver and he stood solid on contributions to the team. He could get fired up alongside Justin Abdelkader, who will return for the Wings. Watch this winger with a punch- he’s from a hot bed of western Michigan hockey that I grew up with. A burst of brilliance could come from either, but not enough scoring or penalties for either defensive player to sit on you roster just yet.
I’m still waiting for Jonathan Ericsson to show that he has the fight and might to play like the usual Detroit defensemen. He fits in so well with the Swedish stronghold in Detroit it seems to be just a matter of time that he lifts his play to the level expected. Todd Bertuzzi leads the team in PIMs, so that’s that until someone else on the D-list can step up.
Though it is only approaching mid-August, my hockey groups are actively discussing the upcoming season. The Wings fans are analyzing the power of “our” roster, the New York Rangers are analyzing the moves of the management, and the Colorado Avs fans are drinking a beer in the mountains chill about their hockey team exceeding expectations last season.
Take a few more weeks to relax, and then get ready to plan your strategy as training camps begin in September.