2018-19 outlook: In a league that has been increasingly reliant on speed, the Red Wings continue to value Helm’s skating ability, mainly for checking, but also for some offense.
They also like his versatility. He’ll start the season on wing but can move to center in case of injuries. He’ll continue to be one of their leading penalty killers and their biggest shorthanded threat. He’s not likely to see power-play time but has played the net-front role on the second unit.
Many have difficulty accepting Helm’s contract and large cap hit, but he has been an important role player for 10 years and will continue to fill that role as long as he can remain healthy.
The idea was born at the 2018 IIHF World Championships in Denmark, the first international tournament with NHL players participating since Johansson’s passing. The U.S. won the bronze medal at the event, and Johansson’s spirit loomed over the tournament.
“We really did rally around JJ at worlds. We wanted to bring a medal home for him,” said Larkin.
The team would hand out a hard hat to different players inside the locker room. “It wasn’t supposed to be this way, but every guy shared his story about JJ, and how they met him. Something he’s done for them. Everyone has a different story. How much he did for everyone,” Larkin said.
The Red Wings forward decided he wanted to help organize something in Johannson’s honor. Initially, it was going to be a game that featured Detroit players past and present. But when his national team peers caught wind of the idea, they all vowed they’d take part. Soon, the late August event started to resemble a USA Hockey All-Star Game.
Some wondered if these players would be willing to sacrifice the time to travel to Michigan for the game.
“You know, it’s easy for guys to say they’ve going to play in a game like this, and it was a nice thought, you know? But they’re here. And I’d tell everyone in that room that, as good as they are at hockey, they just proved they’re even better people,” John Johannson said.
RED WINGS, FOX SPORTS DETROIT ANNOUNCE 2018-19 BROADCAST SCHEDULE
… 79 Wings Games to be Featured on FOX Sports Detroit …
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings and FOX Sports Detroit today announced the 2018-19 Red Wings local television schedule.
FOX Sports Detroit (FSD) continues its award-winning production and carriage of Red Wings games by airing a total of 79 preseason and regular-season contests with 70 games slated for FSD and nine on FOX Sports Detroit Plus (FSD PLUS).
Additionally, FOX Sports Detroit will carry all non-exclusive games in the first round of the Stanley Cup® Playoffs.
With the popular announce team of Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond calling the action, FOX Sports Detroit’s comprehensive coverage also includes pregame and postgame editions of RED WINGS LIVE. In addition to live reports from the state-of-the art Little Caesars Arena and road venues, studio portions of RED WINGS LIVE will originate from FOX Sports Detroit’s studios at its Southfield headquarters.
A total of six Red Wings games will be nationally exclusive broadcasts on NBCSN.
One last note on Zetterberg and Plan B for the Red Wings: Michael Rasmussen, Detroit’s first-round pick in 2017, is expected to get a long look in training camp and, barring a disaster, should make the team.
He was drafted as a center, although the expectation is that he’ll ease in to the NHL on the wing. That said, Blashill didn’t rule him out as a center option for the Red Wings minus Zetterberg.
“I certainly wouldn’t say I wouldn’t consider him. That’s not the case at all,” Blashill said.
He agreed that it’s easier to break into the NHL on the wing, but the bigger reason Blashill likes Rasmussen as a winger is his ability to play in front of the net. You could tell that Blashill was eager to get the 6-foot-6 Rasmussen out there.
“He might end up being a winger in the National Hockey League,” Blashill said.
Ten years ago, the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks ushered in a new era of hockey – one built on speed, puck possession and an incredible pool of talent that ensured playoff contention every season.
But hockey, like most things, is cyclical. The state of the organizations in Detroit and Chicago is quite different in 2018. These two historic franchises wrote the playbook on how to build a contender in the modern era. But they also are writing a sequel – one that speaks to the importance of salary cap management and continuous player development.
Detroit’s story has already been written. The Red Wings are embarking on a full-blown rebuild and it may be some time before they come out of it. The Red Wings were naturally going to dissolve first. Their core was substantially older than their Original Six brethren, and so was their window of contention.
The Red Wings now carry the league’s oldest roster by a significant margin – the average player age working against the Detroit cap is 31, which is three standard deviations from league norms these days. Players age 34 and up, a vanishing breed in the NHL, are consuming about $36-million against the cap. Not only are those players relatively unproductive (or, simply not playing, like forward Johan Franzen), but the organization hasn’t been able to replace them with competent young talent. The rebuild is ongoing and will take some time.
Yost continues, and I would argue that the Wings’ consistent misses at the draft over the past half-decade–yielding an inability to build a “next generation” defensive corps and trading away the Calle Jarnkrok and Mattias Janmark for veterans to “continue the streak”–have significantly hamstrung the team, but those are just two of the factors playing into the Wings’ struggles today.
Detroit Red Wings and Toledo Walleye extend affiliation
Walleye to continue serving as Red Wings’ ECHL affiliate for three seasons
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings and ECHL’s Toledo Walleye today announced a three-year extension of their affiliation agreement. The 2018-19 season will mark the ninth year of partnership between the clubs and extends the affiliation through at least the 2020-21 season.
Still, in a sense, The Hockeytown moniker fits. Before the Red Wings’ developed widespread appeal by becoming championship-caliber, they had a strong nucleus of fans. Somebody, I forget exactly who or I’d credit them, said to me long ago – “There are only about 30,000 hockey fans in this town, but 20,000 of them show up for every game at Joe Louis Arena.”
Some of those hardcore hockey fans seem to have been priced out of Little Caesars Arena, but the Red Wings still drew considerably better there last season than the Pistons despite often lackluster, boring performances.
The Red Wings are an Original 6 franchise in a border city with Canada. Youth hockey remains strong in this area. Just look at all the NHL players this state continues to develop.
But a point can be made “Hockeytown” is a marketing slogan derived from the franchise’s salad days, and as such represents a constant look back rather than forward.
In that way, I don’t have a problem with it being removed for just the winged-wheel at center ice.
No sense suggesting Dylan Larkin is Steve Yzerman, Dennis Cholowski Nicklas Lidstrom, Filip Zadina Brendan Shanahan and Michael Rasmussen Sergei Fedorov. Hopefully, they will present the nucleus for a brighter future, and remove the constant urge to look back to the Red Wings’ salad days.