Summer Skate: Detroit Red Wings
No such thing as a rebuild in Hockeytown, but goaltending must improve
Although the weather outside doesn't necessarily make us think of winter pursuits, it's a good time to take the temperature of every NHL team. Hockey Prospectus will guide us through the leaguewide tour, spotlighting one player trending up and one player trending down for each club as well as a key statistic as we look ahead to the 2014-15 season. References will be made to goals versus threshold (GVT), a Hockey Prospectus proprietary statistic; for more on GVT, click here. All other advanced stats are courtesy of Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com.
The Detroit Red Wings came within a whisker of missing the postseason for the first time since Nirvana was an up-and-coming band, but coach Mike Babcock got his club to scratch and claw its way into the playoffs. Unfortunately for the citizens of Hockeytown, the mighty Boston Bruins made quick work of the Wings, eliminating them from the first round in five games.
There is plenty of déjà vu going on in Detroit as the Wings enter this season, with question marks about whether they can return to being a legitimate competitor in the East. With a very thin blue line and their franchise netminder coming off a lackluster campaign, they will pin their hopes on the health of future Hall of Famers Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg and a group of young forwards. The Wings will need everything to break their way to continue their playoff streak.
Trending up: Jimmy Howard, G