Defense - DET
Goals: 4 | Assists: 9 | Pts: 13
Shots:106 | +/-: -5
– The Red Wings’ lack of a high-profile free agent signing in the offseason has been highly discussed in the weeks following July 1, but the absence of a big move could be a move in itself.
“I think it’s a big positive,” defenseman Kyle Quincey said. “We have a structure and a system that we know inside and out, and game one … we know each other, we know exactly what to expect. We know the system, so we’re going to hit the ground running.”
Quincey, who said it was an easy decision to re-sign with the Wings – for two seasons worth $8.5 million – during the offseason, was one of two players to appear in all 82 regular-season games last year. Forward Drew Miller was the other.
“I’ve had a couple rough seasons with injuries and battling through them,” Quincey said. “It’s part of the game and it’s going to happen. I’m fortunate to play all 82 games. I never thought it was possible. Hopefully it keeps going and hopefully we finally get a year with very, very low injuries.”
The roster for the upcoming season will look very similar, except healthier. Centers Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Stephen Weiss lead a litany of players returning from problematic injuries, giving the organization reason to feel confident about the upcoming season.
“If our star players are healthy all year I think we have a really good chance,” Quincey said. “Health is a huge issue. You can’t help your team if you’re not playing. If we stay healthy, I think we have a great opportunity again this year.”
Injuries opened the door for several players to acquire game experience last season. With a clean slate of health across the board, the Wings can reap the benefits of having a plethora of guys with NHL experience, particularly along the blue line.
The defense remains untouched from last season, meaning that familiarity may be this unit’s strongest asset moving forward. Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson and Quincey have all played more than 300 games in the NHL. Last season, Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl, Brian Lashoff and Danny DeKeyser appeared in more than 60 games each. If something positive was to come from last season’s injuries, it’s that all seven defensemen have experience playing alongside one another.
“We have a good crew here, a good team and good organization,” Quincey said. “I know it very well so it was comfortable to come back and it made sense.”