Set Lines Means a Few Odd Men Out
Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock announced his lines for the 2013 season before training camp started, which might have taken some people by surprise as there are some players fighting for spots in camp.
Granted, he has had a lot of time to think about it in the months during the lockout, but it might spell the end for a few Red Wing players.
Here's how the lines are shaping up:
The odd men out seem to be Jan Mursak and Cory Emmerton, who will likely be waived to Grand Rapids, unless Babcock decides to keep them on the roster as backups, but it doesn't make sense because Gustav Nyquist is starting the year in the AHL, and he is definitely higher on the depth chart than Emmerton and Mursak.
Datsyuk and Zetterberg have been reunited on the top line flanked by Damien Brunner, who formed chemistry with Zetterberg in Switzerland playing for Zug. If Brunner pans out at least the Red Wings' top line will be dominant.
The second line is a new experiment, with Filppula coming off a strong season and Franzen looking to bounce back from a subpar 2011-12 campaign. Samuelsson is the dark horse; if he doesn't contribute Bertuzzi or Cleary will be bumped up.
Justin Abdelkader shifts to centre the third line between Bertuzzi and Cleary, and this is the line that might be the weakest. Abdelkader is a natural winger, and Bertuzzi and Cleary aren't getting any younger.
The fourth line is a typical grind line, but with speed and abrasiveness. The newly acquired Tootoo should mesh well with Helm and Miller, and the line will probably end up scoring some goals on weaker fourth lines in the league.
Patrick Eaves is skating in camp but will likely stay on the injured reserve for now until his symptoms stop. Mike Knuble was invited to camp but there doesn't look like there will be room for him. If there wasn't room for Tomas Holmstrom, there is no room for Knuble.
Jonathan Ericsson on the top pair should terrify every Wings fan on the planet. Kronwall is the clear number one on the team, but Ericsson will pull him down. There doesn't seem to be any chemistry for a number one defenceman with a guy who throws the puck away repeatedly.
Brendan Smith is paired with Kyle Quincey, who has to show more than last year. Smith is the key to the puzzle on defence; if he falters, so does everyone else.
Ian White and Carlo Colaiacovo is a solid pairing, but they are both offensive defencemen. Jakub Kindl is filling in for the oft-injured Colaiacovo.
Jimmy Howard and Jonas Gustavsson are the tandem in goal for Detroit, with Gustavsson reportedly getting at least a third of the starts. That means Joey MacDonald, for all his brilliance last year, is going to be waived.
The Red Wings roster is shaping up, what do you think the Wings should do with their lines to make them better?