Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. It takes a while for the Hockey News’s articles to pop up on the internet radar, so this lovely gem from the THN’s Matt Larkin, discussing “Stanley Cup windows” for Atlantic Division teams, splattered itself across the screen a day late:
WINDOW CLOSED: Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators
Here’s a depressing stat: the Red Wings, perceived as a bottom-dwelling rebuilder right now, have the highest salary cap number in the league. That’s how badly they’ve buried themselves with expensive veteran contracts, from Frans Nielsen’s to Darren Helm’s to Justin Abdelkader’s. Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha have developed into impact forwards, and Filip Zadina was an absolute steal at sixth overall in the draft, but the Wings’ veterans might continue to keep them a bit too competitive, robbing them of the lottery-ball count necessary to secure a franchise-altering superstar pick like Jack Hughes next summer. If Henrik Zetterberg’s bad back keeps him out all year, it might be a blessing. At this point, losses help the Wings more than wins. They are years away from competing in the Atlantic. Don’t forget who’s at the top of this division. Kucherov, Stamkos, Hedman, Tavares, Matthews, Marner, Marchand, Bergeron, Pastrnak and company will bully the bottom teams black and blue.
The way the Red Wings will pry open their Stanley Cup window might take years of drafting and developing players and more years of drafting and developing players, but at this point, staring at a still-living body of players (competitive or not) and poking at them for a giggle’s sake is getting old.
I suppose that’s the Wings’ lot for the next couple of seasons, and one earns one’s way out of the franchise-as-a-punchline category, but as a partisan, the zingers still sting from time to time.
2. Speaking of which, the state of the Red Wings’ defense is not exactly elite, but I think THN’s Sam McCaig’s ranking of Mike Green’s status among the league’s #1 defensemen is a wee low (if only by a couple of spots)…
29. Mike Green, Detroit Red Wings: In reality, you want him on the second pairing and running the power play.
3. And in cheerier news, the London Free Press’s Ryan Pyette reports that Wings draft pick Alec Regula was named the London Knights’ Rookie of the Year at the team’s end-of-the-2017-18-season awards ceremony. Regula may not be a #1 defenseman in the making, but he’s “part of the solution.”