Extreme makeover: Red Wings

Tough offseason leaves Detroit lacking firepower

Originally Published: July 18, 2012
By Neil Greenberg | Special to ESPN Insider
LidstromJohn Russell/Getty ImagesThe loss of Nicklas Lidstrom will be tough for the Detroit Red Wings to replace.

Trades and signings alter the makeup of rosters every summer, but some franchises renovate their rosters far more aggressively than others. For the next five weeks, Insider contributor Neil Greenberg will examine five of the biggest summer shake-ups to see what we can expect from the overhauled lineups in the coming season. The series continues with the Detroit Red Wings.


This offseason wasn't kind to the Red Wings. Blueliner Brad Stuart took a pay cut to return to San Jose. Jiri Hudler, who scored 25 goals and helped on 25 others, signed a big contract with the Calgary Flames. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the top two free agents this offseason, both chose the Minnesota Wild rather than suiting up for home games at Joe Louis Arena. And Nicklas Lidstrom, who won seven Norris Trophies as the NHL's top defenseman and helped the Red Wings win four Stanley Cups in 20 seasons with the franchise, decided to call it a career.

Detroit has made the playoffs 21 years in a row, winning four Stanley Cups in six trips to the finals over that span, but it has been clear over the past few seasons that this team is regressing. If the Red Wings aren't able to add one of the top remaining free agents -- Shane Doan and Alexander Semin -- or can't swing a trade to add some offense, will there be enough firepower in Hockeytown for a turnaround?

Neil Greenberg is ESPN Insider's NHL analytics expert. His columns have appeared on the Washington Post website, and he is a regular guest on Sirius XM NHL Radio.