The Detroit Red Wings first game of the season is nearing and there are a lot of question marks still in the air.
The Detroit Red Wings first game of the season is only one day away. With hopes of starting on a good note against the Montreal Canadiens, the Red Wings are trying to figure out their lines ahead of the game. But, as I stated in the first paragraph, there are a lot of questions that still need to be answered.
Now, there are a lot of questions that I want answered, some of them include: Why was Simon Edvinsson sent down when we desperately need left-handed defenseman? And What does Elmer Soderblom bring to the table over other players like Jonatan Berggren? But, I have to be honest with you, although I’d like a little more explanation on those questions, those aren’t the ones we need to be asking.
Towards the end of last year, the Red Wings saw some of their younger players really take a step up. Joe Veleno was seeing minutes on the ice, and he was finally able to show the Red Wings organization what he is capable of. Additionally, they saw Michael Rasmussen finally come into his own. But the number one thing that I took away from the final parts of last season is that the Vrana-Zadina connection is dangerous. Yet, Zadina isn’t even currently apart of their lines.
According to The Athletic’s Red Wings beat writer, Max Blutman, the Red Wings are currently practicing with these lines:
T. Bertuzzi-D. Larkin-L. Raymond
D. Perron-A. Copp-J. Vrana
E. Soderblom-M. Rasmussen-O. Sundqvist
D. Kubalik-P. Suter-A. Erne
Now, I don’t know about you all, but I feel that these lines are not really using players to their strengths. So, I’m going to break them down and give you my thoughts on the lines.
The Red Wings first lines looks to me as though it is set. After last year, seeing how well Raymond played with both Bertuzzi and Larkin, it’s one of those scenarios “Don’t fix what ain’t broke”. Bertuzzi has the shot and strength that allows him to play in front of the goalie while contributing as a goal scorer. Larkin, we’ll he can do absolutely everything you need him to do. He skates well, he shoots the puck well, great hands, passes, and plays great defense at the center position. Then, on the right wing, you have Lucas Raymond who was competing for the calder trophy last season. This line doesn’t need any fixing.
The second line is where I’d make some changes. Personally, I understand why they have David Perron playing the second line with Andrew Copp and Jakub Vrana, but I just can’t justify it after watching how well Vrana and Zadina played together. So, here’s what I would do:
To start, I’d move David Perron down to the third line in order to make room for Zadina. I would then keep Andrew Copp as the second line center and keep Vrana on the right wing. By doing this, you get a veteran player in Copp, while giving him two great goal scorers on the wing.
As we probably all remember, last year when Vrana returned to the lineup, Blashill had Zadina and Vrana on the same line and it took no time for the viewers to see the chemistry they had. Both willing to shoot the puck, and more so than that, both willing to pass it off for the other. They put the league on notice. Putting those two on the line is the best move Lalonde could make.
On the third line, I’d have David Perron on the left wing, Joe Veleno at the center position, and finally I’d have Dominik Kubalik on the right wing. Now, that’s a different line. I know. However, I have a good explanation. Just bear with me for a second.
With this line, I’m looking for strength and scoring. David Perron is one of the best in the league at remaining on the puck through physical play. Not to mention, he’s got a terrific shot from the point. Knowing that, I want Joe Veleno centering that line.
The easy solution at the center position is to play Michael Rasmussen there, but I have to disagree. I personally feel that Joe Veleno is the right choice for that spot. Joe Veleno has the speed that could cause problems for Perron, but I think they could make it work. And the reason I chose Veleno over Rasmussen is because that line needs a playmaker. Kubalik and Perron are both known as goal scorers. Or at least that’s their best trait. Adding Rasmussen to that line, I just don’t think it would work. It needs a playmaker. And that brings us to the fourth line.
The fourth line, in my opinion is pretty simple. In my eyes it should be Elmer Soderblom on the left wing, Oskar Sundqvist on the right wing, and Michael Rasmussen centering the line. It has the size to be a physical line, while remaining a decent offensive line as well. All three of those guys have offensive capability.