We are 18 days away from the start of the NHL season. The scheduling of your Fantasy Hockey drafts have begun. The DraftKit is on sale and it is time to start previewing the 2016-17 NHL season.
I will be previewing two teams every day and each preview will consist of: Projected Line Combinations, a breakdown of each team’s top Fantasy assets, a look at their goaltending situation and 2016-17 NHL Standings projection.
If you don’t want to wait for the previews, buy our 2016-17 DraftKit—which has previews for every team as well as projections for over 300 players and goalies. You will get rankings and projections on here over the next few weeks, but why wait, when you can get it all right now for just $4.95?
Let’s take a look at the Detroit Red Wings.
|Frans Nielsen – C – (from NYI)||Pavel Datsyuk – C – (to KHL)|
|Thomas Vanek – LW – (from MIN)||Brad Richards – C – (Retired)|
|Steve Ott – RW – (from STL)||Andy Miele – C – (to PHI)|
|Joe Vitale – C – (from ARI)|
|Matt Lorito – LW – (from NJD)|
In 2015-16, the Detroit Red Wings extended their playoff streak to a ridiculous 25 consecutive seasons, but they have failed to make it out of the first round for three years and haven’t been to a Stanley Cup Final since 2008-09.
This summer the Red Wings took a huge loss when Pavel Datsyuk announced that he would be returning to Russia to play in the KHL. Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg have been playing together since 2002-03, but Zetterberg will skate without his “Euro Twin” in 2016-17. Up front, they brought in Frans Nielsen (via Free Agency) to fill the void left by Datsyuk’s departure. Nielsen has become a consistent point producer and two-way centre during his time with the Islanders and will help the Red Wings in all three phases of the game (Even Strength, Power-Play and Penalty Kill). They also added veteran winger Thomas Vanek, who was bought-out by the Minnesota Wild after posting just 18 goals and 23 assists (41 points) last year. Those two join a relatively youthful group, led by Dylan Larkin, Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar. Larkin enjoyed a quality rookie season while both Nyquist and Tatar struggled to regain their form from two years ago. Their offseason additions will help make the Red Wings’ one of the deeper lineups in the NHL, but also serve as roadblocks for some of their NHL-ready prospects like Andreas Athanasiou and Anthony Mantha. Both seemed poised for potential top-6 roles heading into this season, but now it looks like they’ll start as third or fourth liners.
The Red Wings’ biggest concern is their blueline. Danny DeKeyser earned a lucrative five-year deal this summer and he joins Mike Green as the top-pair in Detroit. Their veteran second pair of Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson is coming off of a disastrous 2015-16 season. A bounce-back, especially from Kronwall will be imperative for the Red Wings’ success this year. Brendan Smith can be used anywhere from the top-pair to the press box, despite his impressive possession numbers.
In goal, the duo of Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard is back. Last year was the first year that Mrazek was used as a No.1 netminder and he impressed, but it was a tale of two seasons. Prior to the All Star break he was one of the best goalies in the NHL, posing a 18-9-4 record, 2.03 GAA and .932 SV%. However, he struggled in the second half, seeing his numbers drop to a 2.86 GAA and .899 SV%. Mrazek returns as the No.1 this year and will look to build off of the first half of 2015-16. Howard on the other hand is one of the better backups in the NHL, given his extensive experience as a starter.
All in all, the Red Wings should end up being similar to the team they were last season. The loss of Datsyuk is colossal, but Nielsen should serve as a capable replacement. In addition to the veteran centre, another year of experience for Larkin as well as a much improved Nyquist and Tatar should see the Red Wings’ goal scoring numbers inflate.
Red Wings in the DFO Top 275:
- 91. Petr Mrazek – G
- 121. Tomas Tatar – LW
- 123. Gustav Nyquist – LW
- 131. Dylan Larkin – C
- 144. Mike Green – D
- 153. Henrik Zetterberg – LW
- 177. Frans Nielsen – C
- 213. Justin Abdelkader – LW
- 218. Niklas Kronwall – D
- 266. Thomas Vanek – LW
2016-17 Season Projection:
The Red Wings will once again back into the playoffs and extend their impressive streak to 26 consecutive seasons. They have an impressive group of young forwards and a stud-to-be in net, giving them a high floor.