It's time to say hello to some of the newest Wings, Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss!
Ken Holland showed the rest of the NHL that the Wings still mean business by stealing Daniel Alfredsson from the Ottawa Senators while still bolstering up the center position by signing Stephen Weiss from the Florida Panthers.
There are a ton of questions surrounding these two players, and while I don't have all of the answers, hopefully I will shed some light over what to expect from the pair.
#11 / Right Wing / Detroit Red Wings
Dec 11, 1972
In the blockbuster move of the summer, the Red Wings somehow managed to convince Daniel Alfredsson to leave his adopted homeland of Ottawa to head to the Motor City. The whole saga is filled with controversy, but I don't want to focus on that, rather, let's take a look at what to expect from Danny in the Winged Wheel.
Alfredsson, much like a fellow Swede that used played for the Wings, is a born leader. During his tenure in Ottawa, I would rank Alfredsson as the most underrated captain in the entire NHL. He isn't a hugely outspoken guy, instead he's more laid-back and frankly, quite Lidström-like.
He's also a good player. He's not as good as he was back in 2005-06 when he scored over 100 points but he put up 26 points in 47 games last year. Alfie's got a phenomenal work ethic and is extremely creative.
He's also got a good shot, which should complement Weiss's passing skills, but more on that later.
His age mostly. He has definitely regressed from the player that he used to be, and there are a lot of questions regarding whether he can keep up with the Wings system. I wouldn't be too worried though, he will probably be playing on a line with Johan Franzen, which will make him seem like Usain Bolt compared to the mule's muliness.
Besides his age I struggle to find many weaknesses with this guy. He's obviously not at the top of his game, but he's still going to produce.
Unlike Weiss, who has expectations to put up big-time points, Alfredsson only needs to do one thing: win the Stanley Cup so he can prove how wrong Eugene Melnyk is. All the talk all summer has been how Alfredsson has betrayed Ottawa or how he refused to listen to Melnyk's offers, all of that can be silenced by one thing, winning the cup.
Besides that, Alfie is expected to put up some points. Considering that the Swede is 41 now makes it a little hard to judge exactly what we should be looking for out of him. In his last 82-game season, where he only played 75 games, Alfie put up 27 goals and 59 points.
While that may a bit too high for Alfie right now, I do expect him to post at least 50 points and he should be hovering around the 20-goal mark.
#90 / Center / Detroit Red Wings
Apr 03, 1983
The Wings second big signing of the summer comes in the form of Stephen Weiss, who signed a 5-year deal with a $4.9 million AAV. This signing hasn't been as highly debated as the Alfie one, much thanks to Senators organization, but will probably be the one that will pay the biggest dividends in the end.
When we look at Weiss's strengths, we often compare him to the player who he is replacing, a certain Val Filppula. The main difference between these two players are their offensive abilities. Most notably, Weiss's ability to score goals.
Excluding last year, Weiss is on a 3-year, 20+ goal scoring streak. He also scored 20 goals back in 2006-07. Now compare those 4, 20+ goal seasons to Filppula's lone 20+ goal season (23 goals in 2011-12) and you see what I am talking about.
Overall, Weiss is a quality offensive player, he can score goals and he can give you some assists. Weiss scored 47 assists back in 2008-09. That's pretty darn good if you ask me. Weiss is also a decent faceoff-taker and is fairly quick.
Once again it is time to compare our newly added Wing to Mr. Filppula.
One of the biggest strengths that Filppula brought to the team was his solid two-way game. He was by no means at the level of Pavel Datsyuk, but he was without a doubt our 3rd best two-way player. Not to say that Weiss isn't a good two-way player, but I don't think that he is even close to the level that Filppula is at.
Further weaknesses include his size. Weiss isn't the toughest of the bunch and doesn't always win key battles as a result of this. And then there is the injury concern. Weiss only played 17 games last season and as a result only scored 4 points. I wouldn't view this as an issue by any means, mostly considering that he has never had any major injury issues before, but it is something to keep in the back of your minds.
Anyone that says that Stephen Weiss doesn't have much to worry about is kidding themselves, this guy has a ton of pressure on him to perform this season.
Babcock has already warned Weiss that he has to perform in Detroit. And let's not forget that he has the 5th highest cap hit on the team, ahead of players like Kronwall and Franzen. Then there is the whole issue of him replacing Filppula. I personally believe that Weiss is a much better offensive player than Filppula is, but does he have the two-way game to keep up with the Wings' demands?
What should we expect from Weiss? Early on, I'd expect some growing pains. Maybe not so much from Weiss's side but rather from Babcock shifting around lines. Once Weiss can find some consistent linemates, which will most likely be Johan Franzen and the aforementioned Alfredsson, we should expect Weiss to be producing on a game-by-game basis.
Expect him to play 77 games, score 23 goals, and notch 44 assists for a total of 67 points. Slightly optimistic? Maybe, but Weiss had a career high of 61 points in 2008-09, which is less than my prediction but when you remember that he played for Florida it all makes sense.
Next we will take a look at the Wings' final two top-6 players.
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