The Detroit Red Wings defense problems started when the great number five Nicklas Lidstrom hung up the skates. When Nicklas Lidstrom retired the Red Wings general manager Kenny Holland put all the eggs in the Ryan Suter sweepstakes. When the Wings were told that Ryan Suter and Zach Parise landed elsewhere (Minnesota Wild) Ken Holland was left with nowhere to turn, except to sign Kent Huskins and Carlo Colaiacovo. The Red Wings did a subpar job at best of drafting defensemen; and before the departure of Mike Babcock ‘Hockeytown’ couldn’t even land free agents.
Fast Forward to 2017 and things have not been pretty for the Detroit Red Wings. They currently sit tied for 7th worst in goals against…giving up 148 goals to this point. Problem number one is that Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson have had numerous injuries and father time has caught up with them. Number two, the Wings most reliable Defenseman over the last few years Danny DeKeyser has mightily struggled after signing a 6 year, $30 million dollar contract. DeKeyser hasn’t live up to expectations to this point in the season he has become a liability and not only has his defensive game fallen but the offensive part of his game has also went south. The third issue has been the injury bug figuratively taking a bite out of everyone in the defensive core. Not having Mike Green, Brendan Smith, Alexey Marchenko, and even Niklas Kronwall -I’ll bet his knees will plague him to the end of his playing career- healthy all season hasn’t been good for consistency this year. It has though, allowed rookies Nicklas Jensen, Xavier Ouellet and Ryan Sproul to draw into the line-up. Playing all these young guys is a positive since they’ve been gaining much needed experience. But this does come with growing pains and their prior lack of experience on the blue-line has been noticed.
Most of you might be saying to yourself ‘this is an absolute mess how do you fix it?’
Well for starters it’s not going to happen overnight so patience is a virtue in this case because the Wings don’t even have one top pair defenseman. Secondly, try and convince Niklas Kronwall (36 years old) to finish his career on long term injury because his knees are totally shot and there are a lot more negatives than positives Kronner has when in the lineup and plus you could relieve his entire cap hit. Finally, making some trades could help land a shutdown defenseman or two but the biggest solution would be patience. It may sound cliche but drafting and developing is going to be the biggest key for this Red Wings defense to be fixed. The Wings need one or two cornerstone defenseman and to make this possible they need to draft, develop and be extremely patient as the majority of raw defenseman take some time to develop. The Red Wings have had an extremely great run over the last 25 years but to get back to supremacy many things will need to change.