With training camp and the preseason just around the corner, it's about time I give my two cents on who needs to do what for this team to contend for the Cup. I'll be reviewing in alphabetical order and alternating between forwards and defensemen. I'm hoping to be done by the time the regular season starts, but we'll see. Anyways, here's the first:
Abdelkader (spell-check just had a heart attack.) Ab... dull... kay... dur, or just say apple-gator and Wings fans will know who you're talking about.
Justin Abdelkader got quite a bit of attention last year when he scored two goals in the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals, but it's important to remember that he wasn't drafted to light the lamp. If Abby gets 15 goals this year, that's great, but I'm expecting between 5-10 goals. Abby's value to the team will be based on his +/- rating. A rating of +10 would mean he's had an amazing season, but I'm guessing he'll break even.
Team success this season will depend on defense. The 4-3 wins have to be a thing of the past if the Wings are going to win the Central Division. We're looking at 3-2 and 2-1 games this year and that's where a guy like Abdelkader comes in handy. Think D first and create offense from turnovers and power play chances.
More to come soon and, as always, go Wings!