Over the course over the next week or so, we’ll be chatting with a few different writers around the division to gauge how the team they cover has been performing since the end of the season.
How would you grade the Wings’ offseason?
Call it serendipitous, but the Wings have made out pretty well so far this offseason. First, they made out like bandits at the draft by having Filip Zadina and Joe Veleno fall to them in the first round. Their second and third rounds weren’t too bad either. Second, they restrained themselves in free agency by not offering any contracts longer than 3 years. Third, they’ve done a great job so far of retaining their RFAs to team friendly deals, with Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou each singing for under $4-million AAV. Dylan Larkin is still outstanding, but the confidence is there that it will get done. Overall, I’d give them a B, which is more than I would have given them last year._
How would you grade the Leafs’ offseason?
They promoted Kyle Dubas to GM and won the biggest free agency sweepstakes in six years. Plus, they locked JT in for 7-years at $11-million AAV. It’s a hell of a deal. What’s the highest rating you can give? A++?_
When do you think the Wings’ “window” is going to be open?
It’s going to be a long time for a true Stanley Cup window to open up for the Red Wings. Several things need to happen. One, they need to shed all of the terrible contracts that they currently have, which will take 2-3 years. Two, they need their future star players to actually develop into star players. Zadina’s ceiling is going to make a huge difference here. Three, they need to be good enough that they can attract free agents. They still don’t have that number one defenseman on their roster or in their system. Four, they have no bonafide superstar goalie in their system. They need to get one of those to open a window. If I really had to make a guess, I’d say five years. If a window hasn’t opened by then, then they’ll likely be starting this whole cycle over again._
If these two teams come up against each other in the playoffs, what do you figure is the biggest deciding factor? (I asked this for everyone… not that I see it occurring)
Toronto: Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner, William Nylander
Detroit: Mike Green, Danny DeKeyser, Trevor Daley, Jonathan Ericsson
That’s Detroit’s top-4 defensemen. That will be the biggest deciding factor.
Is the Atlantic still a three horse race in your eyes?
Yes and it’s not even close. Florida may push for a wild card spot, but they have no chance at stealing away a top-3 spot from Boston, Toronto, or Tampa Bay. And it’s not even worth mentioning Detroit, Montreal, Ottawa, or Buffalo when talking about a playoff race in the Atlantic Division.