The Detroit Red Wings will open the 2013-14 regular season at home 8 p.m. Wednesday when they face off with the Buffalo Sabres.
The Red Wings are back in the NHL's Eastern Conference playing in the new-look Atlantic Division. Wednesday will be the first of four meetings with the Sabres this season.
Detroit is coming off a season which ended heartbreakingly in a second-round Game 7 against the Chicago Blackhawks, who eventually moved on to claim the Stanley Cup for the second time since 2010.
That rivalry is a thing of the past now that Chicago and Detroit will play in different conferences. The teams meet just twice this season -- once in Chicago and once at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
2013-14 Red Wings roster has depth up front
The Red Wings have been busy putting together their final roster which includes newcomers Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss. Both were offseason acquisitions expected to give the team more experience and depth up front. Meanwhile, Gustav Nyquist has been assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins while Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves have been put on long-term injured reserve. Jordin Tootoo also is on the IR.
Captain Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Justin Abdelkader, Johan Franzen, Todd Bertuzzi, Joakim Andersson, Cory Emmerton, Drew Miller, Daniel Cleary (who resigned to a 1-year deal in early September) and Mikael Samuelsson round out the offense.
Defense includes young prospects, talented veterans
The defense will include rookie stud Dan DeKeyser, a Macomb Township native, who flashed signs of poise and strength with the puck before injuring his thumb in the playoffs last season. The top pair will be veterans Jonathan Ericsson and Nicklas Kronwall.
Jakub Kindl, Kyle Quincey and Brendan Smith round out the starters on the blue line. Brian Lashoff, 23, is back on the roster and so is 20-year-old newcomer Xavier Oullet, who was drafted 48th overall by Detroit in 2011.
Jimmy Howard starting, backup not set in stone
Jimmy Howard will be starting in net. No surprise there, but he likely will be backed up by Jared Coreau and/or Petr Mrazek -- who is in Grand Rapids for now -- while Jonas Gustavsson is on the IR.