The Detroit Red Wings are getting ready to start another season shortly and while many aren’t expecting an impressive season from this team, the team still has eyes for the playoffs. MLive’s Ansar Khan answers some mailbag questions about the upcoming season and points out that with the combination of gritty veterans and young talent, the team may show some promise. The scribe writes to expect 36-year-old veteran Henrik Zetterberg to center Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist, who were their top line at the end of last year. The belief is that Tatar and Nyquist should benefit from Zetterberg’s presence to build their confidence early in the season.
He added that Dylan Larkin looks ready to take over as the team’s second-line center and be matched with Anthony Mantha, who scored 17 goals in his first full season. Justin Abdelkader might be a good fit to fill out that line. The third line would Frans Nielsen, Darren Helm and Andreas Athanasiou, if the restricted free agent signs with the team. Luke Glendening, Riley Sheahan and Tyler Bertuzzi are the likely candidates on the fourth line, assuming things don’t change much in training camp.
- The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s David Schoen writes that the team will be counting heavily on the success of Russian veteran Vadim Shipachyov this season. The 30-year-old forward was the third-leading scorer in the KHL last year with 26 goals and the team believes that if he can make the conversion to the NHL successfully, the Golden Knights might be better than many believe when it comes to offense. The team already has James Neal, Jon Marchessault, Reilly Smith, David Perron and the hope is Shipachyov will be that top-line player that opens up the offense.
- In the same story, Schoen adds that he wouldn’t be surprised if Golden Knights’ goaltender Calvin Pickard makes a name for himself, possibly even this season. While starting goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has received all the press and has become the face of the franchise, Pickard is just 25 years old and was a second-round pick in 2010. He was considered a top prospect before he struggled in a full-time role for the struggling Colorado Avalanche last year. His 2.98 GAA left a lot to be desired. However, Fleury is already 33 and while he was impressive in the playoffs for the Penguins, didn’t have a great year as the backup, putting up a 3.02 GAA for the year in 38 games. If Pickard can re-establish himself in Las Vegas, he could find himself getting big minutes.