Detroit Red Wings: 5 Young Players Who Must Step Up to Replace Departed Veterans

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Detroit Red Wings: 5 Young Players Who Must Step Up to Replace Departed Veterans
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

The Detroit Red Wings were the oldest team in the NHL in 2010-11; they averaged about 30.16 years old per player.

That's almost a whole year older than Calgary (ranked No. 2) who averaged 29.35 years old.

Why so old?

Well it's simple really, Detroit's nucleus has just been aging since their 1997 and 1998 Cup runs.

Detroit kept that nucleus of Shanahan, Yzerman, Fedorov (until he left for Anaheim), Lidstrom, Murphy, etc, until all of them moved on to retirement.

Lidstrom of course is still with the team, but he is now 41 years old, and leads another older nucleus in Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen and company.

Detroit's age always makes it easy for people to count the Red Wings out when it comes to the playoff success, and contending for a Stanley Cup.

However, in 2002 and 2008, the Red Wings defied the naysayers and won the Cup, almost repeating in 2009.

But the offseason retirements of Draper, Osgood, and Rafalski have left some pretty significant holes in the Detroit roster going forward into this 2011-12 season.

Which young players will fill in these gaps you might ask?

Read on and I will list the five players that must step up this season to replace those three retirees.

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