Detroit Red Wings: 5 Players Who Will Need to Have Their Best Years Yet

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Detroit Red Wings: 5 Players Who Will Need to Have Their Best Years Yet
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Detroit Red Wings have made the playoffs in 21 consecutive seasons, but with the questions surrounding the state of their Nicklas Lidstrom-less blue line, some pundits are predicting they will miss their first postseason in over two decades.

You know the bandwagon is getting full when the guys over at MLive are getting in on the action. Even Ken Holland has voiced his mild doubts about the Wings getting into the NHL's sweet 16.

I understand that the point is that, with the shortened season, it's really anybody's hockey game. One or two bad weeks and a team can quickly find itself on the outside looking in.

So if this do-or-die sprint scenario is facing all 30 clubs in the league, why suddenly are pundits and fans alike betting against the most consistent, veteran-laden squad around? It dumbfounds me. Sure, the loss of Lidstrom and Brad Stuart will be tough to overcome.

But this is what Detroit does. Rolls with adversity and gets the most out of the guys on the current roster. In my book, there is just way, way too much pride in this locker room and in the front office to allow this team to slip beyond the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

Aside from incumbent No. 1 blueliner Niklas Kronwall and netminder Jimmy Howard, there are a few Wings who will need to have their best years yet to assure Detroit's spot in playoffs.

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