Our defense this season hasn't been the best in the NHL by any stretch. Neither have our shootouts. Personally, I still haven't seen enough to find out what the true problem of this team is, but looking at the roster, it has to be the defense. Kronwall is fine, so is Ericsson. Dekeyser Smith is great, and Kindl Quincey are about average. Lashoff has been doing decent as a fill in. The problem with our defense is injuries. We have one of the best if not the best minor league systems in the world right now, so we have many options. First, do we make a trade? Do we wait till next year and let Illitch spend his money on the Tigers? Do we call somebody up from Grand Rapids?
Then there's our prospects. We have so many people that are pretty good and talented that are being thrown on waivers. Eaves and Tootoo, as well as whoever minor leaguers we have up could be forced on (Tatar, Nyquist). Eventually somebody is going to pick up one of our guys.
What do we do about Howard? I know he's struggled lately, but it's not totally his fault. It seems like every other team except for the Wings can score more during a Shootout than what there goalie allows. I'm a big Howard fan and was thrilled when I found out we resigned him long term, as I think up to this point in his career he is one of the better goalies in the league, and think that we can win on any given day with him as our goalie. Gustavsson has gotten more offensive support as evidenced by our 3-1 win over Buffalo, and has done about the same defensive wise as Howard. Do we start the monster and let Howard sit on the bench, or start our star goalie?
Mantha. The kid is as good a prospect as any in any league right now. He's on fire again, and I think he could end up with 100 points, 50 goals if we keep him where he is. Personally, I think we should call him up before the 2016 season next to Jurco and Sproul. If you don't think we should rush our guys up, well than I recommend you watch some of his highlights even from so far this season. The kid is NHL Ready today, and had any team in the Top 15 taken him, he'd probably be on an NHL Roster right now.
Yes we have the best triad of leaders in the world of sports right now with Babcock, Holland and Illitch, but what happens if Babcock gets old and wants to retire, or at least leave our Head Coach job open? What happens if Holland wants to take a lower position and follow Devellanos path, then there's the worry that Mike Illitch is in his mid 80s now, and he won't live another 15 or maybe even 10 years most likely as much as we all love him he leaves when he leaves and there's no guarantees his kids/grand kids/greatgrandkids will put as much effort, money or love into this team as Mike and Marian have done for the last generations.