Niklas Kronwall

With Lidstrom and Stuart gone, Detroit is going to need some help on defense


This summer is shaping up to be a big one for the Detroit Red Wings’ defense. With Nicklas Lidstrom hanging up his skates and Brad Stuart sent off to San Jose, the Wings’ blue line is in rough shape.

Detroit heads into the offseason with Niklas Kronwall as their top guy with Ian White, Jonathan Ericsson, Jakub Kindl, and Brendan Smith as fellow incumbents and Kyle Quincey as a likely-to-be-re-signed restricted free agent. While that’s enough to make up a starting six-man unit, that’s not what you’d call a Stanley Cup-caliber set up.

Detroit has oodles of salary cap space and high hopes of going after Nashville’s Ryan Suter as well as New Jersey’s Zach Parise. It’s the blue line that requires the most attention though and Suter should just be the starting point.

Soon-to-be college free agent Justin Schultz is there to be chased after and with Detroit’s penchant for going after defenseman who played at Wisconsin (Suter, Smith, Chris Chelios, and Brian Rafalski). Ansar Khan of mentions Dennis Wideman as a potential Plan-B. Hey, Detroit could use the power play help, right?

Guys like Jason Garrison, Filip Kuba, and Matt Carle also offer interesting backup plans, if they’re available, but no one that’s a true No. 1 defenseman. Suter or bust? Sure looks that way for Wings GM Ken Holland.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?