Stanley Cup: 3 Reasons Detroit Red Wings Will Return to Hockey Glory Next Season
Now that the dust has settled following Nicklas Lidstrom's retirement, it is time to take a look at three reasons why the Red Wings will return to hockey glory in 2012-13.
For one of hockey's most storied franchises, a four-year deficit seems like an eternity.
This season, the Red Wings looked old and just a step slow against the Predators in the first round.
This article will discuss both current members of the team and potential additions via free agency that could make the difference next season.
Changing of the Guard
With the previously mentioned retirement of Lidstrom, the Detroit Red Wings will continue their changing of the guard next season.
The changing of the guard doesn't end with Lidstrom, however, as fan favorite Tomas Holmstrom could be on his way out of the Motor City if the Red Wings choose not to offer him a contract.
The pending departure would be part of a growing effort to get younger and make a return to the Stanley Cup in the spring of 2013.
Signing of Ryan Suter
Yes, I'm calling it, the Red Wings will bring Ryan Suter on board this summer to fill the void left by Lidstrom and the departed Brad Stuart.
The tenants of Joe Louis Arena have roughly $24 million in cap space for next season, and will be one of the top contenders to sign Suter.
The American-born defenseman led the Predators in ice time last season and is the best available free-agent on the open market this summer.
Expect Detroit to engage in a bidding war for Suter, but they will come out on top in the end with their top defenseman locked up for the foreseeable future.
With the Red Wings undergoing some changes on the blue line, netminder Jimmy Howard will be even more important than usual this season.
The Ogdensburg, NY native has won at least 35 games in each of three seasons as the full-time starter in Hockeytown.
I have always been a big fan of Howard's, who could be the biggest key in helping the Red Wings return to their glory days with Zetterberg and co. up front.
Howard is one of the best goalies that you'll find in the NHL nowadays and barring injury, will remain at an elite level in 2012-13.