The Detroit Red Wings approach the 2011-2012 NHL season with more turnover than they are used to. While there is typically a depth position or two up for grabs, this offseason has seen the Wings lose some of the grey from their beards, opening up some spots for depth chart jumping.
Gone are Kris Draper, Chris Osgood, Ruslan Salei, Brian Rafalski and Mike Modano. Modano really didn't take up a whole roster spot due to the whole traumatic skate injury, so replacing him is more or less a moot point. But otherwise, the opportunity is there for the kids littering Detroit's farm system to make the jump to the Big Leagues.
Detroit had a mildly busy offseason, but not in the way a lot of pundits figured.
The talent pool was more shallow during the summer of 2011 to be sure, but there were plenty of quality blueliners available to shore up the defense after Rafalski unexpectedly retired. But July proved to be a market friendly to the players, and salaries inflated to laughable levels.
Kenny Holland made a few savvy moves, bringing in Mike Commodore for defensive depth and Ian White to round out Detroit's top four while bringing the number of times he's been called savvy to a solid 250,000.
With training camp on the horizon (in my hockey dreams) the name of the game seems to be competition, especially for those last remaining spots on the roster. There seems to be a veteran option and a youthful option for every spot.
Holland even saw fit to bring in notorious Stars bust Fabian Brunnstrom to compete for a spot on the opening night roster.
All this seems pointless however, as yours truly has already pieced together what should be the line combinations for the opening game come October. So Mr. Holland, I'll assume that the check is in the (E)mail, along with complimentary season tickets. And to the players who didn't make it, thanks a lot for coming out. Don't call us—we'll call you... up in the event of an untimely injury.