Detroit Red Wings: 5 Players Who Will Need to Earn Extensions in the Next Year

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Detroit Red Wings: 5 Players Who Will Need to Earn Extensions in the Next Year
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

With the retirement of Brian Rafalski earlier this offseason, the air was electric with rumors of free agent signings and trades galore.  This would be the first time in a long while that Ken Holland would be able to spend freely on whoever he wanted.

And I bought into this, just like most other Red Wings writers and bloggers.  Back in May, I wrote this slideshow dreaming up a list of free agents that Detroit could bring aboard to shore up their defense and spur their offense into action.

Looking at that slideshow now, I feel mildly silly.  I wasn't completely off though, because a lot of those players could have helped the the Red Wings in both the short-term and the long run.

But, after remaining inactive on the market, Detroit has a lot of work to do to get ready for the upcoming season.

A lot of their current roster is due to move on, and the squad has several youngsters that will be itching for play in the pros.  Now more than ever, the choices that Holland and co. make will directly impact the team moving forward.

Here are five players that will make or break their careers in Detroit over the coming season, based on the pressure coming from the minors, and the players that the team could land in free agency during the next offseason.

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