The 2012-13 season was the first one that the Detroit Red Wings played without premier defenseman and captain Nicklas Lidstrom since 1991-92, and it did not go well. It took the Wings a couple of months to figure out how to play defense without Lidstrom, and the gaping hole left in the leadership area by Lidstrom’s departure was also evident. Goaltender Jimmy Howard was distracted for much of the season by the birth of his child and the loss of his defensive safety blanket. But as the playoffs got closer, the Red Wings seemed to pull it all together. The odds makers were so impressed that they gave the Red Wings 16 to 1 odds to win the Stanley Cup in 2013-14. But did the Red Wings make the right offseason moves to get closer to another Stanley Cup championship?
2013 Stanley Cup Odds: 16/1
Notable Change #1: Signing Daniel Alfredsson.
The Ottawa Senators will be a worse team for losing Daniel Alfredsson and the Detroit Red Wings will be a better team for signing the veteran. Despite the fact that Alfredsson is going to be 41 years old, he still has a lot to offer a team like Detroit. He brings back that veteran presence that was lost when Lidstrom retired and he also helps bring a sense of toughness to the offense that has been fading in Detroit lately.
Notable Change #2: Signing Stephen Weiss.
Stephen Weiss has played his entire career with the Florida Panthers and has seen playoff action once. The Detroit Red Wings just made the playoffs for the 22nd consecutive season. Weiss signed with the Red Wings, presumably, to make the playoffs a little more often and have a shot at a Stanley Cup championship before he retires. Right now, the 30-year-old playmaker brings a scoring edge to the Red Wings that will be very welcome. Weiss will be able to move the puck out of the defensive end for the Red Wings and take some of the pressure off shell-shocked goaltender Jimmy Howard. Weiss also gives the Red Wings an offensive anchor for the future, which the team had been missing for some time.
Notable Change #3: Letting Valtteri Filppula leave.
After eight years in Detroit, Valtteri Filppula wound up leaving the Motor City and signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Filppula is 28 years old and entering a prime phase of his career. It would have been ideal for the Red Wings to team up Weiss with Filppula, but that is not going to happen. The Red Wings only made two significant acquisitions in the offseason, but this one loss could wind up leaving a hole in the Red Wings roster that will take some time to fill. Filppula is a gritty player who offered a lot to a Red Wings team that was trying to transition from older players to a new generation of players.
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