My buddy Casey is now the head writer at SB Nation's Detroit Red Wing blog, Winging it in Motown. Subject matter aside, it's pretty good so I recommend it. In fact, I answered some questions for him, so check that out.
It's the beginning of the year, so let's catch up with our Red Wing knowledge shall we..
Detroit always seems to favor veterans, and it doesn't seem like there are too many great prospects from 18-25 in the system right now that are close to making the NHL, is that true or false? Who are some of the AHL or draft pick guys that Penguins fans should keep an eye on that may play roles in the NHL in the near future?
Casey: They have a few young guys that are up and coming in Grand Rapids but with the depth and very little turnover from year to year on the roster, it may be a bit before they get their shot. One guy that a lot of Red Wings fans are really excited about is Tomas Tatar. He's got some very special skills and although he's not the biggest guy at 5'10" and 175 lbs, he's got plenty of speed to make up for that and great skills on the puck. He's a highlight reel on the ice and a very humble kid. Another guy that might make an impact a bit sooner is Mattias Ritola. He's a guy that might be on the waiver wire because of his contract and some team might take a chance on him. I don't think this will happen because he doesn't have all that much NHL experience (7 total games) but he does have a good set of skills and can make some nice plays. Probably the biggest of the up and comers is Jakub Kindl. He's going to be getting more playing time with the Wings this year so he might be someone to watch during the game (if he's dressed). He's been highly touted and he's got the head for the game at the AHL level, just a matter if it will transfer to the NHL or not.
More with Casey after the jump. Will he mention that 1 time he beat me in a video game on a fluky goal (and has conveniently never played me again)? Will he also mention how he still owes me a six-pack for the result of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final?...
Seriously, Mike Modano's going to play with the Red Wings? How weird is that to not see him in the North Stars/Stars organization and see him in your teams jersey?
Casey: Honestly, it still kind of seems like something you'd see on a video game. (Speaking of video games, remember that time I schooled you in NHL10? Yup.) [Ed. note: Gaaaaah!] He's one of those players that you never expect to see in a jersey other than the one he spent the majority of his career in. Like Brett Fav...Laidainian Tomlin...Michael Jor...okay, those are bad examples. But he's one of those players that it will take getting used to him actually being on your team instead of something that happened in a dream. Mike Modano wearing red and white? Yep.
Which departed player leaves the biggest shoes to fill? Is there anyone really?
Mmm...probably Brett Lebda because I won't have anyone to curse at.
How do you see Steve Yzerman doing in his new job as Tampa GM? Do you think he'll be able to replicate Detroit's success and model of running a team?
I think Yzerman will be excellent at his job in Tampa. He's already made some good moves and I think as the team progresses and he's given more freedom, he'll be able to build a better team. Plus, what player wouldn't want to come play for Yzerman? I think he'll take some of the model for success that Detroit has used over the years. You go with what you know and he'll use that background for management I think.
Will the Wings be adversely affected by not having Yzerman around for the first time in forever, or does the rest of the strong front office staff pick that slack up and move on without missing much of a beat?
I don't really see his departure affecting the team in that aspect. I think the front office has been built to be very strong and someone will fill in well for him. Of course, we still don't really want to accept that Stevie is a part of another organization but I think most fans will accept it and hope that he does well in any of the tasks he undertakes.
Given the state of the tough Central division, who do you see as the Red Wings' primary obstacle to win the division in 2010-11? Do you think Detroit wins it this year? If not how many teams in the division finish the year better and who will they be?
I think Detroit is by far the top team in the Central this season. Yeah, the Blackhawks are the defending champs but how much of that team is left? Not much. The Predators are the biggest challenge to the Wings (in my opinion) but I still think the Red Wings (if they're able to stay healthy) are the top team in the division.
Thanks again to Casey.