Brian Rafalski Retiring? Five Current Detroit Red Wings Who'll Need to Step Up

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Brian Rafalski Retiring? Five Current Detroit Red Wings Who'll Need to Step Up
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

If you were among the Detroit Red Wing fans who believed this offseason was going to be an interesting one—you were right on the money.

After retirement talk surrounded Nicklas Lidstrom following Detroit's second straight early playoff exit, Brian Rafalski has seemingly stolen his thunder.  Sportsnet in Canada is reporting that Rafalski is ready to hang them up after a 12-year NHL career that saw him win three Stanley Cups.

His play may not be akin to what we were used to seeing from him as a member of the New Jersey Devils and through his first few years as a Red Wing, but the guy still played some effective, top-end minutes.

Now there is a void, and a chance for some players to step up and fill that space like nothing happened. After all, this is what has made the Red Wings one of the most consistent sports franchises—allowing their young assets plenty of time to develop in the minors—while making sure they get everything they can out of their veteran players before they move on.

From the outside, the departure of Brian Rafalski may seem like a reason to panic for Detroit. I'm sure plenty of pundits will love to play the angle of a big hole left on the blue line. 

What they are forgetting is that this is a team that has seamlessly moved forward after losing greats like Dominik Hasek, Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Chris Chelios, Sergei Fedorov—the list goes on. 

And this, too, should pass. Here are the five players currently playing for the Red Wings, or in the system, who will need to step up:

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