The Detroit Red Wings youth movement continues on Friday night in the 2015-2016 season opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs. This youth movement has been going on the better part of the last three seasons and continues with hot shot prospect Dylan Larkin.
Dylan Larkin made the Red Wings opening night roster. That is a sentence many fans did not expect to hear or read as the Detroit Red Wings shocked many people by announcing Larkin made the opening night roster.
Dylan Larkin is the first teenager to crack the opening night lineup for the Red Wings in 25 years. Larkin is the first teenager to debut for the Red Wings period since Jiri Hudler got called up on December 17th 2003 against the San Jose Sharks both were 19 years old when they made their debuts.
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In my opinion, if Mike Babcock was still the coach here I don’t think Dylan Larkin makes the team. Larkin even hinted as much in a interview.
He said, “There is a new coach.” I don’t want this to be a Babcock bash session but the evidence doesn’t lie. The “kids” weren’t called up until the injuries required them to be..
Now some bad news, the injuries are already starting for the Detroit Red Wings. Defensemen Danny DeKeyser is out three to four weeks with a sprained ligament in his left foot. He was injured Wednesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The three to four week time frame isn’t bad as the injury could’ve been a lot worse.
If DeKeyser is out the full four weeks he will miss most if not all of the first month of the season. Losing DeKeyser hurts but it’s not a killer for the Red Wings. Their defense now is Mike Green, Niklas Kronwall, Brendan Smith, Jonathan Ericsson and Kyle Quincey.
The Wings could also bring up one of their many young prospect defensemen such as Xavier Ouellete and Ryan Sproul. I didn’t mention Jakub Kindl because he is on injured reserve due to an eye infection. The walking wounded so far for the Red Wings are Pavel Datsyuk, Darren Helm, Jakub Kindl, Alexey Marchenko and Danny DeKeyser.
The good news is that of the five Wings on injured reserve none of them are expected to miss more than a month with the exception of Pavel Datsyuk. Even Datsyuk is expected back shortly there after.
With DeKeyser out for the first 10-15 games the Red Wings will have to mix and match their defense and rely on the goaltending of Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard. Jeff Blashill has said he knows who’s starting Friday against the Toronto Maple Leafs but won’t make it public until he talks to the goaltenders.
Another thing to keep an eye on is Johan Franzen. Franzen has battled concussion issues and is still having headaches. I’m no doctor but I think he needs to retire and enjoy the rest of his life. With all we know about concussions now I don’t want Johan Franzen to be another statistic.
Many pundits are picking the Red Wings to not only make the playoffs but advancing past the first round for just the second time since 2009. Personally, I have the Wings finishing second in the Atlantic and going to the Conference Finals.
The 2015-16 NHL season officially begins on Wednesday but the Red Wings begin on Friday and this season is one of the more intriguing seasons I can remember.
Free agent players Mike Green and Brad Richards are going to be fun to watch, the young guns of Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Dylan Larkin, etc will be fun to watch keep growing. Also, for the first time in a while the Wings may have a goaltending controversy if they don’t already have one.
I personally am on Team Mrazek but Jimmy Howard was an all star goalie before he got hurt last season. Has Howard reached his ceiling here? I think he has but we’ll see.
How do you think the Red Wings do this season?
Next: The Detroit Red Wings and the season of hope