NHL Power Rankings and Predictions

SAN JOSE, CA - JUNE 04: Sidney Crosby
SAN JOSE, CA - JUNE 04: Sidney Crosby /
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Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s hard to imagine the NHL playoffs without the Detroit Red Wings. Many hockey fans have quite literally never witnessed a postseason that didn’t feature the Red Wings. But judging from how their roster looks now, fans better start preparing themselves.

The loss of Pavel Datsyuk cannot be understated. Sure, he hasn’t been as productive in recent years as he has in the past. However, he was still Detroit’s best all-around forward, playing during all situations. His sudden departure from the NHL to go to the KHL is one that the Red Wings likely won’t be able to handle.

To try to replace him, Detroit signed Frans Nielsen. Sure, he’s a very good center who can play during all situations just like Datsyuk. However, Nielsen is getting old, much like the rest of the Red Wings roster.

The Red Wings did nothing to address their largest area of need: their blue line. As it stands, their blue line looks slow and unskilled. Mike Green, Niklas Kronwall, and Danny Dekeyser were the only Red Wings defensemen to get 20 or more points last season. Kronwall is aging, so that’s a major concern moving forward.

It’s up to Dylan Larkin and Nielsen to replace Datsyuk. But even if they do that, their lack of depth will likely cost them a playoff spot.