Wings Preseason Lines Show Depth

The Detroit Red Wings announced their first two preseason game lineups today, and the depth of the Red Wings is apparent because both lineups -- which are totally different -- are capable of competing in the regular season:

@ Pittsburgh Penguins

Jiri Hudler-Pavel Datsyuk-Danny Cleary
Fabian Brunnstrom-Cory Emmerton-Patrick Eaves
Drew Miller-Ryan Johnson-Jan Mursak
Tomas Tatar-Chris Conner-Tomas Holmstrom

Niklas Kronwall-Brad Stuart
Brendan Smith-Mike Commodore
Garnet Exelby-Logan Pyett

Jimmy Howard
Joey MacDonald

@ Philadelphia Flyers (London, ON)

Valtteri Filppula-Henrik Zetterberg-Johan Franzen
Justin Abdelkader-Darren Helm-Todd Bertuzzi
Gustav Nyquist-Joakim Andersson-Willie Coetzee
Tomas Jurco-Brent Raedeke-Francis Pare

Nicklas Lidstrom-Ian White
Jonathan Ericsson-Jabub Kindl
Brian Lashoff-Doug Janik

Ty Conklin
Jordan Pearce

The line-up for the Penguins game will most likely be a more talented roster because of the depth on defence and the goaltending, but it seems as if Babcock did this on purpose. He matched up every player with someone similar and put them in the same spot in the lineup. 

Obviously, Datsyuk and Zetterberg are expected to be similar types of players, Filppula and Hudler are looking for bounce back years, Franzen and Cleary are both power forwards and Emmerton could become the next Darren Helm. There are similarities in each lineup and it should show the depth of the Wings' roster.

Players to watch include Johnson, Brunnstrom and Conner, as all three battle for a spot on the roster, as well as Emmerton and Mursak trying to make the squad full time. 

Babcock has said that if the player is good enough, they will get him under contract. Look for Brunnstrom to get a contract. Johnson will most likely be the odd man out, and 

Conner will probably start in Grand Rapids because of his two way clause.

Brendan Smith has been showing he is worth a spot on the team, as he was the captain of the prospect team in Traverse City. The player with the loftiest expectations is Jonathan Ericsson, who is making over three million dollars this year and needs to step up. I don't expect Ericsson to do much, so anything above that will surprise me.

A few more prospects that won't make the team but will be a part of the near future in the Motor City are Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Jurco and Joakim Andersson.

Pavel Datsyuk wore number 24 in camp in honour of Ruslan Salei, who passed away in Locomotiv's plane crash in Russia.

Kyle Busch

www.thecheckingline.com
www.twitter.com/KyleBusch11