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2013-14 NHL Team Preview: Detroit Red Wings Predictions – Odds

Bet On NHL Hockey: Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings begin their 2013-2014 season October 2 having gone through a ton of change this past offseason. Perhaps the biggest change came when the NHL realigned the divisions ahead of the upcoming season.

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Odds to Win Stanley Cup: 16/1
Odds to Win Eastern Conference: 17/2
Odds to Win Atlantic Division: 7/2

As part of the NHL’s radical realignment for the upcoming season, Detroit will join Boston, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Tampa Bay, Buffalo and Florida to make up the new Atlantic Division. Gone from their division is the Chicago Blackhawks and in are three Original Six teams. The Wings also added Daniel Alfredsson during the offseason to an already impressive forward unit.

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Detroit will be looking for an incredible 23rd straight playoff appearance this year but they do have a few question marks ahead of the 2013-2014 campaign.

Detroit surprisingly struggled last year offensively – 2.58 goals per game last year – good for 22nd best in the league in goals. But the team may have addressed that problem by luring Daniel Alfredsson away from Ottawa. [ad-4437448]

Up front, the Wings go into the season with Alfredsson playing alongside Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Mikael Samuelsson, Niklas Kronwall, and Jonathan Ericsson on a veteran team with plenty of playoff experience. Add it Stephen Weiss who came over from Florida, Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm, Todd Bertuzzi, Patrick eaves and Jordin Tootoo and the Wings look solid up from but old just the same. The question is – can the forward unit withstand an 82 game grind and a playoff run that weakens even the hardest of players?

Defensively, Detroit looked just fine last year despite the loss of Nik Lidstrom. They ranked fifth in the NHL last year defensively with an average of 2.29 goals against per game. That said Detroit is thin on the blue line heading into the season. Detroit’s top pairing of Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson are a terrific duo but outside of that they are, on paper, not that strong. Jakub Kindl, Kyle Quincey, Brendan Smith and Danny DeKeyser are projected to fill the second and third pairings for Detroit – not exactly elite caliber names. Defense was a strength of the Wings last year but could potentially become a weakness this year.

Goaltending could bail the defense out this season – and it will likely have to. Jimmy Howard arguably had his best season as an NHLer last season, going 21-13-7 with a 2.13 goals against average and .923 save percentage in 42 appearances and he will be out to prove that his big contract extension was worth it. He plays well in big games – a 2.44 GAA and .924 save percentage in the playoffs last year for the Red Wings, but without stout defending, he looks like an above average keeper only heading into the season.

Betting Prediction: Detroit’s move to the East is seen as a positive for this team – less travel and the fact that they won’t have to face the Hawks six times. That said this team will have to defeat Boston, Pittsburgh and a host of Eastern Conference contenders to reach the promise-land. The Wings barely made the playoffs last year and will likely struggle to get to the postseason this year as well.

Gone are the days that the Wings are in the conversation to win it all! I’m not even sure a playoff spot is guaranteed!

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Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.