How do Wings rate in new-look NHL East?
It's summer in the NHL, which means there's not much going on.
Sure, there's a young restricted free agent signed every so often, and maybe a trade gets completed that'll raise some eyebrows.
But for the most part, player movement is rare and teams basically have their rosters set.
So, it's time to take a look at the Eastern Conference — post playoffs — and see how the Red Wings stack up.
Who's better? Who's worse? And who's about the same?
If GM Tim Murray can add a useable defenseman, the Sabres could contend. But, Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart would have to have solid rookie seasons, and Evander Kane and Ryan O'Reilly must play up to expectations.
A major reason the Blue Jackets missed the playoffs was the heavy dose of injuries. When they were healthy, they were tough. After the acquired F Brandon Saad from Chicago, the lineup looks capable of a lengthy playoff run — as long as everyone stays healthy.
The Penguins remain top-heavy, with a lot of dangerous, eye-opening talent. Acquiring Phil Kessel from Toronto and pairing him with Sidney Crosby could make for a dangerous combination. Young, promising talent on defense is supposedly on its way, too.
Losing F Joel Ward in free agency (San Jose) hurts, but the Capitals signed Justin Williams and acquired T.J. Oshie (St. Louis), two proven, versatile veterans. Losing D Mike Green to the Red Wings weakens the defense.
There's been several head-scratching moves, and it's difficult to predict how it'll all shake out. One thing is certain: Trading D Dougie Hamilton isn't going to make the Bruins better. They could miss the playoffs a second consecutive season.
The Hurricanes secured a great pick in D Noah Hanifin, but that isn't nearly enough to make them contenders. There isn't enough depth, especially up front, and speculation is growing they'll trade F Eric Staal and G Cam Ward.
This wasn't close to a playoff roster last season, and it doesn't look better now. GM Ray Shero has work to do, the foremost problem being how to acquire offense for a roster without much.
Martin St. Louis retired, and his 52 points aren't going to be easily replaced. They traded F Carl Hagelin (Michigan) because of cap restrictions. This roster is still good enough to reach the playoffs, but it's not as good as it was.
The Senators haven't made any dramatic changes since their Cinderella run ended. They needed to. This is a borderline playoff team, and some young players will continue to get better. But the Senators can't expect to go 21-3-3 like they did at the end the of the season.
This roster wasn't great, but trading Phil Kessel to Pittsburgh only weakens a lineup that will struggle to score. Mike Babcock is a great coach and will figure out a way to keep the Maple Leafs semi-competitive, but there isn't much talent.
D Mike Green is a valuable addition, and F Brad Richards adds versatility. But the loss of Mike Babcock, arguably the best coach in the NHL, balances out the acquisitions. Losing Pavel Datsyuk (ankle) early doesn't help, either.
The Panthers are the same young, improving team. The addition of F Reilly Smith (Boston) and re-signing Jaromir Jagr only helps. With the young talent, plus veterans such as Jagr, Roberto Luongo and Dave Bolland, they could storm into the playoffs.
GM Marc Bergevinmade a great move re-signing D Jeff Petry (Orchard Lake St. Mary/Michigan State). But the loss of Max Pacioretty (knee) early will hurt. This team needs a bit more offense.
No major moves from GM Garth Snow, although some analysts expect him to snare one of the inexpensive free agents looking for a job close to the start of camp. They'll get an extra boost moving to Brooklyn. This is younger team that continues to mature.
This wasn't far from a playoff roster, but the Flyers haven't done much to improve other than getting F Sam Gagner and hiring an intriguing college coach (Dave Hakstol). If the defense could be tweaked, this roster will hang around the playoff chase.
The defending East champions haven't lost anyone vital and have every reason to expect former first-round pick Jonathan Drouin to blossom into a major contributor. The Lightning look like a team capable of returning to the Stanley Cup Finals.