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Red Wings begin preseason without captain, open roster spots

Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on December 2, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Detroit Red Wings 10-1. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on December 2, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Detroit Red Wings 10-1. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

The Detroit Red Wings will open the 2018 preseason on Wednesday when they play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Little Caesars Arena. 

GAME TIME: 7:30 p.m.
TV: FSDT, NHL

Here's at look the rest of Detroit's preseason schedule: 

  • Sept. 20 -- 7:30 p.m. against the Chicago Blackhawks in Detroit
  • Sept. 22 -- 7 p.m. against the Boston Bruins in Detroit
  • Sept. 23 -- 3 p.m. against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh
  • Sept. 25 -- 8:30 p.m. against Chicago Blackhawks in Chicago
  • Sept. 26 -- 7 p.m. against Boston Bruins in Boston
  • Sept. 28 -- 7:30 p.m. against Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto
  • Sept. 29 -- 7 p.m. against Toronto Maple Leafs in Detroit 

RELATED: Here is the 2018-19 Detroit Red Wings TV schedule

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Zetterberg's career is over -- no captain right now

With Henrik Zetterberg's career coming to an abrupt end right before training camp, the Red Wings are left without one of their top centers and, perhaps more importantly, their captain. I took a quick look back at his NHL career here, arguing in favor of "Z" being placed in the Hall of Fame. 

Indeed it is an end of an era, but the question is who takes over wearing the C? I wrote about this very topic right here, mulling whether or not Dylan Larkin is next in line and, if so, whether now is the right time to hand the captaincy to him. 

What will this year's Red Wings lineup look like?

Now that we know Zetterberg for sure isn't playing this season, we can start to get a better idea of what the team's lines will look like. At the very least, the following table shows the Red Wings players who are expected to be playing in the NHL this season: 

 LWCRW
Forward Line 1Tyler BertuzziDylan LarkinAnthony Mantha
Forward Line 2Thomas VanekFrans NielsenGustav Nyquist
Forward Line 3Justin AbdelkaderAndreas AthanasiouMartin Frk
Forward Line 4????Luke Glendening Darren Helm

 

As for the defense: 

1st PairingJonathan EricssonMike Green
2nd PairingDan DeKeyserTrevor Daley
3rd PairingNiklas Kronwall????

 

Who fills in those question marks? Well, I ran through the list of prospects here. You could be seeing Filip Zadina and/or Michael Rasmussen in the Red Wings' top six forwards.It will be exciting to see some new, youthful faces in the lineup this season. Looking to the future is key at this point, because it might get a little ugly for them. The Red Wings defense is considered among the worst, if not the worst, in the league. 

Howard, Bernier between the pipes

Of course, goalie Jimmy Howard is returning for his 12th season with the Red Wings. He will be joined by 29-year-old Jonathan Bernier, who fills the role left vacant by Petr Mrazek. Bernier should help give a boost to the position for Detroit, as I write about here

Around the league: Leafs excitement, Sens embarrassment

The 2018-19 NHL preseason is now well underway. John Tavares scored Tuesday night when the Toronto Maple Leafs faced the Ottawa Senators in their first preseason game, and the city of Toronto nearly exploded -- at least on Twitter. 

But it was Senators news that stole the show. During the first intermission of that same game, Senators GM Pierre Dorion gave this awkward answer to a simple question: Name one positive thing about the Senators right now. Dorion paused for about 4 seconds, with a blank stare, before answering, "We're a team." The look of fear on Elliotte Friedman's face is priceless.

Dorion hasn't had anything to celebrate, especially after franchise defenseman Erik Karlsson was traded to the San Jose Sharks for, well, a bag of pucks. Pucks are useful, they're just not Erik Karlsson. 

So to all the frustrated Red Wings fans out there, remember things could be much worse. 


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