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The Red Wings Goalie Situation and Beyond: Things To Watch For This Season

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NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

As we are in a period of quiet activity around the NHL, it got me thinking what are some of the things I will be watching for in the league this year. Now this doesn’t mean these are the biggest story lines this coming season. The Red Wings do have several decisions to make during or right after this upcoming season and those are on my mind as well.

Petr Mrazek/Jimmy Howard:

I am curious as to how this will play out after all the Mrazek drama over the summer and now that we are back to Howard being the guy in net. Will Mrazek be motivated and good enough to win his starting job back? What will the Wings do if that happens and more importantly with this situation dragged out another year who will the team rally around and play harder in front of? The goalie market has opened and closed several times since this all started and is 100% on management for letting it get this far. Oh and Mrazek needs an new deal after the season.

Ken Holland’s Future:

Holland is entering the final season of his contract and we know the majority of fans want a change at the general manager’s position. We also know there is only one person that can fill that position which will make 100% of Hockeytown happy and that is Steve Yzerman. Realistically though, Kris Draper or Ryan Martin would be promoted. The cap and contract situation is bad They have 11.8 million in cap space next season (give or take with the cap rise/fall) with Mrazek, Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Ryan Sproul, and Riley Sheahan all needing new deals. Mike Green is the teams lone unrestricted free agent. Plus, Andreas Athanasiou’s contract will need to be included in that. With no space to improve except via trade, which Holland has not done so far the team is stuck for this year and next.

Blashill’s Future:

Entering his third season of a four year contract in Detroit and with a record of 74-66-24. A decision either way will need to be made after the season - extend Blashill or part ways. The worst thing that could happen is he is brought back for a fourth year lame duck coach: a situation that is not ideal for anyone involved.

Oilers/Flames

From Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the Oilers side. Then Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan on the Flames side. These are two exciting teams to watch and they should be making some noise and providing us all with great late night hockey viewing throughout the year.

Matt Duchene/John Tavares

Where will both Duchene and Tavares end up? How many Tavares to Toronto rumors will we get? The bigger question is if the New York Islanders do not have him signed to an extension by the trade deadline will Garth Snow move him regardless of the teams playoff position? Will Joe Sakic come out of this looking good after those who missed on Tavares, then turn to Duchene will he get the value he has been looking for all along? He may prove smart holding on to him until teams get desperate at the deadline.

Pens Three Peat

Pittsburgh has had the safety net of Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury for a few years now. Management knew this situation with the cap ramifications included couldn’t continue so they made sure Vegas took Fleury. With every point important how will Antti Niemi fare as the backup? Also will all the wear and tear with all these games played the past few years catch up to them this season?

The Next Surprise Team

I’ll be watching the Arizona Coyotes. They have some nice pieces they drafted nd brought in this summer as well. Antti Raanta finally having a team to start on every night. With Alex Goligoski, Jakob Chychrun (currently injured), Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Niklas Hjalmarsson on the blueline when all four are healthy it is a solid four. Also adding Derek Stepan up front Arizona could be a fun team to watch. I’ll be watching if they can make a run into a playoff spot this season.

The Maple Leafs

Now after signing Patrick Marleau and making the playoffs, the young team in Toronto has high expectations. They are expected to make the playoffs, expected to finish higher in the standings and make noise in the process. They are in a different spot with pressure and expectations. Will be watching if they take a step back like many teams do going through this process or keep rolling along.

Capitals Over The Hump?

Finally, the Washington Captials. Will this be the year they finally get by the Penguins? Will they knock out Pittsburgh or will someone else do it for them? Will this be the year they win the Cup? and will we ever see Alex Ovechkin lift it? If not this year what does Washington do in response to another season of failure, is also something to watch.

The Olympics

I will be curious as to what the Olympic rosters will look like. Ovechkin has stated he is playing regardless. Will he actually do this? What will the NHL’s response be? More importantly what will the rosters look like and will the hockey be good enough where people go out of the way to watch the games at inconvenient times?

We all get excited about different things that could happen this season. In our comments, lets hear some of the things you the reader are looking forward to this coming season around the NHL.