The First 48: The Detroit Red Wings’ Step in the Right Direction

Ben Chiarot. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Ben Chiarot. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Red Wings
Ben Chiarot. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

The Defenseman

The tandem of Ville Husso and Alex Nedeljkovic is an upgrade in goal. Which was just one of the many things that needed to be addressed this off-season. One of the other things that needed to be addressed was the defense.

They Red Wings added, Ben Chiarot, Olli Maatta, and Mark Pysyk to help bolster the defense with NHL experience and grit.

The team proved last season they were too soft in their own end, especially in the corners. Based on the current roster and everyone being healthy, we could see something like this opening night: Chiarot-Seider, Edvinsson-Maatta, Walman-Hronek with Lindstrom and Pysyk as the extras.

Chiarot is coming off of a career high in points. In my opinion, he was the secret sauce to Montreal’s Stanley Cup Final run two seasons ago. His ability to keep players out of the crease, shot blocking, and to shut down the oppositions top players will allow Seider to show his offense game more often.

Maatta has shown he has been a dependable defenseman putting up a solid plus/minus rating his entire career. As a veteran of 500+ NHL games, he will be a good guide to any younger partner he will have. Pysyk is another veteran of 500+ games. His career has had some adversity playing on a declining Sabres team and a rebuilding Panthers team.

Pysyk will be great 7th defenseman and will be capable off filling in full-time, if needed. The defense could still be improved over the summer with another signing or via trade.

Steve Yzerman made comment of his work over the last 48 hours.

"Today, it’s July 14th, and I think we’ve improved the team” – @detroitredwings Instagram"

The team is better and will compete with what is currently on paper and in their organization. There is one thing we can always count on with the “Yzerplan”, the side-step. The Wings have, indeed, taken a step forward. Some have debated that Yzerman’s quote has indicated the team is ready for October. I believe there is still negotiations for Nazem Kadri. Kadri accelerates the rebuild. His 200-foot game, his goal scoring ability, and his ability to play on the edge makes the Wings top-six very formidable.

Remember the log-jam of forwards and the defense could use some improvement? Well, whether Kadri is signed or not, there most likely will be a trade of one or more of our forwards for a top-four defenseman. I personally would love Shea Theodore from the Vegas Golden Knights or Jeff Petry from the Montreal Canadiens. I evaluated the options to obtain these players in a previous post. Looking at our new additions up front, we may have different assets available in a trade.

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Needless to say, the first 48 hours of free agency set the table for the Wings to compete for a playoff spot and be an exciting team to watch as they take their next steps.