Last week, I suggested that the Detroit Red Wings look at their future via the trade market. Despite criticism from friends, family, complete strangers, and even my fellow colleagues here at isportsweb.com, I still fully believe that trading away some players with big contracts for prospects and draft picks would be a viable option for Ken Holland and company.
I will admit I was wrong, however, when it comes to the current crop of Red Wings prospects, namely: Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist, two men that represent the future, and even the present, of the Detroit Red Wings. I firmly and confidently stated that these two, amongst others their age, were not ready to lead the Red Wings to another two-plus decades of success; I could not have been more wrong.
Tatar has four points in his last five games, and Nyquist has three points in the last five. While those numbers alone may not necessarily stand out as mind-boggling, the energy and leadership qualities that both players bring in the absence of captain Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and Darren Helm are.
I like to watch hockey alone; I’ve found that watching with people around me, while fun, can be distracting. I can focus on the game when I’m alone. I can focus on the players when I’m alone. Two players that have stood alone from the crop of prospects and talent that the Red Wings have in their pocket are the aforementioned Nyquist and Tatar.
While both have displayed the negative missteps that many young players have (missing open shots, mishandling the puck, etc.), those same missteps, in a way, are what tell me that these guys are going to be great; perhaps even among the greats in the entire league.
What’s my point, you ask? While I’m sitting in front of my computer in my sweats drinking a cold one, these two guys (one younger than me, one only slightly older) have led the Red Wings (along with a surging Johan Franzen) to three wins in their last four games. That’s a fact. It’s a fact that blows my mind to this very minute. Fans and media alike have been talking about the potential of these two for the past few years, and seeing that potential finally come to fruition is so satisfying that I honestly can’t think of the right words to describe it.
Tatar, in particular, has impressed me. He plays much bigger than his 5-foot-11, 179-pound frame, (he’s only 23 years old; he’s going to get bigger) and his ability to get to the puck and make plays for his linemates (whomever they may be) is nothing short of astounding. He’s got 13 points in 23 games in his first full season wearing the winged wheel, and I’ll be damned if he doesn’t increase his productivity in each of his coming years as a Red Wing. If he’s not a leader on this team already, he will be, and you can bet that he’ll be a mainstay (along with Nyquist) of this Red Wings team for a very long time.
I still maintain that Ken Holland should take a good, hard look at the trade market this season and this upcoming offseason. But, between this article and the last, I was very wrong about one key point: The future of the Detroit Red Wings IS ready for the big time. Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist have proven me wrong, and I can honestly say I’ve never been happier to have my words shoved down my throat.
Read more Red Wings rumors, news and opinion on our Detroit Red Wings page