The Wings have many questions going into this season, a particularly big one being what their offense is going to look like. After all, not only did Ken Holland fail to address the need for a top 2 defenseman, but he also failed to replace Pavel Datsyuk’s two-way game this season. After all, he’s been a player for Detroit that, when healthy, has been one of their most productive players. And the other guy, Henrik Zetterberg, isn’t exactly the point per game player that we’ve grown accustomed to watching.
So, with a new era of the Detroit Red Wings on the horizon, it’s time to predict who will produce for the Red Wings this season.
5. HENRIK ZETTERBERG
Speaking of old Hank, he starts off the list in the fifth spot. Despite being the leading scorer on the team last year, and many years before that, he sits here because he’s starting to get up there in age. Last year was the first sign of it, as his 50 points in 82 games was the first time since before the lockout (the 2004-05 one) that he wasn’t in the range of a point per game. Also, by the sound of recent interviews, it seems like management is going to start to give Zetterberg a decreased role, which means that he’s going to see less ice time. This could also see him get more points with easier minutes, but the more likely scenario is that he’ll get less opportunities to get points, which will drop his production a bit.
Predicted Point Totals: 38
4. MIKE GREEN
The only defenseman to make this list, Green is at the edge of his prime, and on the wrong edge. However, this shouldn’t be a concern just yet, as he still has a good year or two left in him. Long are the days of his 30 goal, 70+ point seasons, but he’s still an excellent defenseman, especially at the offensive portion of the game. With the aging of Nicklas Kronwall, look for Green to get a bigger role on the blueline, especially on the power play, and he’ll see the points come his way. While it won’t be anything massive, he should see a slight upgrade in his point totals.
Predicted Point Totals: 39
3. DYLAN LARKIN
The youngest player to play for the Red Wings
in quite some time, Dylan Larkin put up a solid 45 points in his rookie
season. And with a year under his belt, it means that he should see a
bump in production this season. While this could happen, I don’t think
it’s going to be as big as many think. Larkin will see an increased role
this season to help fill the gap of Datsyuk and an aged Zetterberg, and
will also get more attention from his opponents this season, so we may
see him struggle a bit more this season. I think we’ll see a jump, but
it won’t be as big as some fans may be anticipating.
Predicted Point Totals:
2. TOMAS TATAR
After putting up 56 points in 2014-15, Tatar fell back to just 45 points last season, a slight regression. However, at the age of just 25, he’s certainly no old man, and still has some room to grow. his biggest issue last season was that he wouldn’t shoot the puck as much, so if gets the puck on net more this season, he should see the puck go in the net more this season. He’ll also see an increased role (hopefully) giving him the opportunity to do more.
Predicted Point Totals: 51
1. GUSTAV NYQUIST
Like Tatar, Nyquist also saw a drop in production this season, going from 54 points to 43 points. However, a quick look at the analytics will give interesting results. His 5v5 P/60 actually increased from 2014-15, as he went from 1.47 to 1.79. That’s a significant and promising increase. A quick look at his 5v4 P/60 will tell the whole story, as it dropped from 5.61 to 2.99. That was partially from seeing a different, less productive role on the power play for him, and partially from the Red Wings power play not being that good last season. With a new power play coach this season, especially one that had lots of success in Boston last season, expect Nyquist’s power play production to return to normal, perhaps even improve, while his even strength production will also see some improvement, and we may see a return to form.
Predicted Point Totals: 55
Honourable Mentions: Thomas Vanek, Frans Nielsen, Danny DeKeyser, Justin Abdelkader, Andreas Athanasiou