In a subscriber-only article, MLive’s Ansar Khan asks 10 pertinent questions regarding the Red Wings and their 2020-2021 season expectations, including the following:
Which players are poised for the biggest breakthrough?
Two come to mind – Anthony Mantha and Filip Zadina. Mantha is coming into his prime at age 26 and has demonstrated his sniping ability for several years. Problem is, he has missed a lot of games with injuries, some of them the result of fights or altercations the club prefers he avoids. A healthy Mantha will be a consistent scoring threat. Zadina showed progress last season in Detroit before suffering a fractured ankle. Following a good stint in the Czech Republic in the fall, he has looked more confident in camp while pursuing pucks and creating space to unleash his wicked shot.
How much better will the defense be?
The unit is much different and figures to be significantly better. Gone from the start of last season are Mike Green, Jonathan Ericsson, Trevor Daley and Madison Bowey. The Red Wings added Marc Staal, Troy Stecher and Jon Merrill and welcome back a healthy Danny DeKeyser, limited to eight games last season due to back surgery. They join Filip Hronek and Patrik Nemeth. Stecher skates the puck well; he and DeKeyser will improve the unit’s ability to get the puck out of the zone. Staal and Merrill provide some size and should be an upgrade from what the team had.