The Detroit Red Wings are facing a HUGE offseason

Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Red Wings have been rebuilding their roster. That is not new news. During this time the Red Wings have placed emphasis on restocking with promising young talent. The  Wings are in a good position to win the 2019 NHL Draft Lottery. But there is more to the offseason story.

For starters questions surround the future of general manager Ken Holland who is under contract though 2019-2020. There is a loud noise coming out of Detroit, Holland could be replaced this summer by former Red Wings Hall-of-Famer Steve Yzerman, who built the Tampa Bay Lightning into a league powerhouse.

Ken Holland has been been mentioned with the current general managers job with the  Edmonton Oilers. It is well known Holland and Oilers owner Daryl Katz are good friends. So there could be something to this rumor.

The Detroit Red Wings currently stand with an 11.5% chance at the number one pick in the NHL draft. Even if Detroit does not have the top pick they will have a top five pick and will be able to grab a potential impact player in the top-five.

With plenty of salary cap space, Detroit could look to set their  sights on a club with limited salary-cap space. Holland (or whoever is in the general mangers chair) could dangle offer sheets to young restricted free agents on cap-strapped teams.

The Detroit Red Wings Pipeline is in very good shape as far as prospects, who could be trade bait to pry away a budding stars such as Toronto Maple Leafs Mitch Marner.

With the young Red Wings core taking steps forward, this is a bit of a critical offseason. The Red Wings next phase needs to be bringing in good solid veterans. Both offense and defense. No reason to go sign a player like Erik Karlsson of the San Jose Sharks just yet.

But a couple of players that can bring the young Wings to the playoffs doorstep. That is what needs to happen as the curtain closes on the 2018-19 regular season and the Detroit Red Wings begin to prep for the offseason.


Michigan Spring practice underway, Shea Patterson may not be the #1 quarterback

Embed from Getty Images Michigan Wolverines head football coach Jim Harbaugh has three quarterbacks on his roster who are all highly regarded. Last season starting quarterback Shea Patterson  returned for his senior season after starting all 13 games and complete 64.6%  of his passes for 2,600 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2018. Patterson is only penciled in as the starter.

Competition is what Jim Harbaugh has harped on during his time in Ann Arbor. Both  Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton are said to be putting the heat on  Shea Patterson this spring leading Harbaugh to say “There’s no possible way that Shea Patterson will be able to put his feet up, in my opinion.”

This is how far the quarterbacks at Michigan have evolved. From one good one, to three above average quarterbacks on the roster all battling for for roster positions on the depth chart. It has been a process, but it paying off.

Dylan McCaffrey, was a 4-star recruit who will be a redshirt sophomore in 2019, Dylan saw plenty of time as Patterson’s backup last fall. He threw his first career touchdown pass the next week against Western Michigan. Dylan also showed he can use his legs to make plays a 44-yard touchdown run on a zone read against Wisconsin was promising.

While Joe Milton who also was also a 4-star recruit showed he may have the strongest arm of the Michigan quarterbacks. Milton played in three of the Wolverines final four games of the season and was able to preserve his redshirt status.

Harbaugh said that offensive coordinator Josh Gattis is giving the three players  equal reps this spring. All three players are looking good so far. It is fair to say the Wolverines starter will be the player who steps up into a leadership role. Who can command the huddle as well as not get rattled when things are not going well during the course of a game. Shea Patterson was that player last season.

This season appears to be different at least in the now. All eyes will be on the three quarterbacks to see if anyone separates from the rest.

Detroit Lions are Wins Above Replacment free agent winners

Embed from Getty Images One week into the NLF offseason, Pro Football Focus looked at each teams additions and subtractions, along with Wins Above Replacement or WAR. The Detroit Lions came is as the 4th biggest winner.

Wins Above Replacement, is a non-standardized sabermetric statistic developed to sum up a player’s total contributions to his team. It is newer to the NFL and football as WAR has been used in baseball for some time. Yet it is just as effective.

Now, let us take a look at what WAR shows us with newly signed free agents by the Detroit Lions, We will start with Detroit’s big signee defensive edge rusher Trey Flowers. The Lions signed Flowers to a 5 year $90 million dollar deal is he worth it?

WAR shows us that Flowers had at least 77 quarterback pressures in each of the past two seasons. What does that mean? The Lions have had no, zero pass-rusher in the Pro Football Focus (PFF) era that had more than 72 pressures in a season. Not only that but only twice since 2006 has a Lions pass-rusher had more than 70. Ndamukong Suh had 72 in 2013 and Ezekiel Ansah had 71 in 2014. Making Flowers a solid addition.

The next big Detroit Lions free agent get was cornerback Justin Coleman. What did WAR reveal about Coleman? Tracy Walker and Darius Slay were the only two Detroit defensive backs to that saw grades above 70.0 for the Detroit Lions. Last season was Justin Coleman’s second season in a row where he rated at 75.0. His near third of WAR shows us how valuable Coleman is.

While it is true the Detroit Lions have spent money this offseason. WAR shows us they spent the money wisely. The grabbed two players who are both 25 years old and who both rate high in WAR. So Detroit clearly did their homework. Not only nabbing two players entering their prime, but players who without doubt helped their teams.


Detroit Tigers prospect update Parker Meadows

Embed from Getty Images Parker Meadows is a prospect all Detroit Tigers fans need to both know and follow. He is one of the Detroit Tigers most exciting prospects based on his high ceiling. The Tigers drafted Meadows last summer out of high school for good reason.

Playing in 22 rookie ball games last summer gave a tease of the talent that Parker Meadows brings to the Tigers. Hitting .284 with 2 doubles and 4 home runs was a solid start. Meadows then moved to the Connecticut Tigers where in six games Parker hit . 316.

The goal for Parker this season is to stay injury free and continue to move up the minor leagues. Last season Meadows battled a hamstring injury early in rookie ball, followed by a back injury in Connecticut.

At 6-foot-5, Parker Meadows hits for average, hits for power and an aspect of his game that surprised some in the Detroit Tigers front office, Parker has speed.  Making him the player with perhaps the most athleticism in the Tigers minor leagues.

“He’s got the arm, he’s got the power, he’s got the speed, Basically, he has all the ingredients that you are looking for in a baseball player.” Tigers general manager Al Avila said. Detroit scouts did a fantastic job of finding Meadows.

Word is the Parker Meadows is all business. He goes about his training all out. Meadows  worked out with a personal trainer four days a week and focused on his diet for the first time.

Parker Meadows currently ranks as Detroit’s No. 9 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. Expect Parker to climb the rankings this summer. He should at some point reach Grand Rapids this season and play for the White Caps.

Parker Meadows has all the tools to be an above average MLB player. It should be fun to watch his growth this summer.


The Detroit Pistons look like they will end the cities playoff drought

Embed from Getty Images Detroit has not seen a professional sports team in the playoffs since 2016. The city has produced eight championships since 1984. No Detroit team is close to winning a championship. These are sad days in Motown.

The Detroit Tigers have not been in the post season since they were swept in 2014 by the  Baltimore Orioles. Now coming off the second consecutive 98 loss season the Tigers are still in rebuild mode.

In 2015 the Detroit Lions lost to the  Seattle Seahawks, in the wild-card round.  In 2018 the Lions finished 6-10, but have their sights on the 2019 playoffs after a solid free agent signing period and a top ten draft pick. That is enough to give Lions fans hope.

The Red Wings will miss the playoffs for the third year in a row. While the Wings are closer to returning to competitive hockey, they are still a couple years away from being a serious Stanley Cup threat. Yet they are getting better that is the good news.

That leaves the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons currently hold the 6th position in the East.  The Pistons are likely to be a one round playoff team, certainly if they face Milwaukee or Toronto,  in the East it could very well be the case.

The Pistons fought through a sluggish January and February and the team opted not to tank and go into a rebuild. That could have perhaps sent some fans over the edge. The team now is looking at a playoff spot under first-year coach Dwane Casey.

The Detroit Pistons have not won a playoff game since 2008. While it does not look good at the moment, if the team can somehow slide into the 5th spot in the East, they would have a more favorable match up. Best case, Detroit draws Indiana in the first series. Otherwise, it will be a quick post-season for the Pistons.

Michigan State Spartans win the Big Ten tournament

Embed from Getty Images The third time was not the charm for the Michigan Wolverines basketball team. Michigan State trailing at halftime fought back and eventually beat their biggest rival for the third time this season. This time Michigan State walked away tournament champions.

Another game, another injury for the Michigan State Spartans. This time Kyle Ahrens went down in what looked like a gruesome injury. Early reports are a very bad sprained ankle. Yet once again the Spartans rallied.

A 3 game season sweep. That is what Tom Izzo’s Michigan State basketball team did to the Michigan Wolverines. Trailing by as many as 13 the Spartans refused to give up. Not that anyone thought they would.

This marks the first time in the storied Michigan, Michigan State rivalry that one school as won three contests. As good as this game was the Ahrens injury silenced the crowd and brought some of his Spartans teammates to tears as Kyle lay on the court squirming and crying from the pain.

Yet, Tom Izzo showed once again he is the band-aid that as held the Spartans together all season. It could be argued Izzo did some of his absolute best coaching than he has in the last three seasons. Instead of folding when Kyle Ahrens went down, Michigan State dug deep down and found the heart of a champion.

The exclamation point came when Michigan State’s Cassius Winston (Big Ten player of the year) who did not have a great game somehow clutch basket to put a dagger in the Wolverines. Good players rise to the occasion, Winston has been that player all season for Michigan State.

After the game was over and the confetti was falling there stood Tom Izzo with an ear to ear grin. Can you blame him? He was masterful and his team responded. Beating Michigan three times in one season leave no doubt, Michigan State earned the tournament title.

After free agency are the Detroit Lions better?

Embed from Getty Images Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn was aggressive. Starting day one of the free agent signing period. Nabbing two of the NFL’s top free agents as well the markets top tight end. The Detroit Lions appeared to be better. Upon further review there are still questions.

The Detroit Lions still need:




Right Guard

Wide Receiver

These are rather large glaring holes that did not get filled during free agencies first week. It is unclear right now, but conventional wisdom says Quinn may look to the NFL draft to fill those needs. He could also use waivers and player cuts to improve the roster.

The question at the moment is, are the Detroit Lions a better team? Adding Trey Flowers helped strengthen an already stout defensive line. Do not get me wrong I am all for bringing in more talent and creating depth. But the Lions had  and have bigger holes to fill.

Nickel defensive back Justin Coleman was a need and Quinn filled it. Detroit had released Nevin Lawson who had been the Detroit Lions nickel back but struggled to find any sort of consistency. Coleman is a big upgrade.

Jesse James TE, was signed because even though Bob Quinn allowed former tight end Eric Ebron to leave as a free agent. Even though Detroit had three TE’s on the roster. The group of tight ends did not improve in dropped passes. James is a player who was used wrong during his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Detroit envisions Jess James as a great blocker and a downfield threat. He will have every opportunity to prove he is the guy to break the Detroit Lions run at bad TE’s.

Bob Quinn also signed a right guard who is lightly regarded from the Seattle Seahawks. Oday Aboushi. A solid pass blocker. This seems like a quick fix or a depth move. Aboushi did play under current Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell in Seattle, for those who like to connect dots.

The short answer is no. No, the Detroit Lions are not better right now. With needs at skilled positions. More talent is needed. Detroit can not count on one running back to shoulder the load in today’s NFL. They also can not head into the season with a right guard who by all accounts is a backup.

Not too mention WR and safety. Detroit wants the defense to step up and be the unit that carries the team. That is fine. It works well in New England. But they are going to need offensive players who can move the chains and put points on the scoreboard.

Things should become more clear the closer draft day approaches.

As the season winds down Detroit Red Wings Larkin and Athanasiou have a shot at 30 goals

Embed from Getty Images It has been one full decade since the Detroit Red Wings have had a 30 goal scorer. In a lost season for the Detroit Red Wings it is about what is next. It shows how close the organization is to returning to competitive hockey again by have two of the teams young stars closing in on 30 goals.

On a chilly day in the Motor City, Andreas Athanasiou scored goals numbers 25 and 26 as the Red Wings beat the New York Islanders 2-1  in a rare win. The two goals moved the young forward/center into second place on the team in goals scored. Dylan Larkin is at this time the team leader with 27.

Andreas Athanasiou, is a pure goal scorer who plays little defense. That was the knock on him his first couple of NHL seasons. This season has seen Andreas’ defense improve. He even checked a player from New York into the boards.

When Athanasiou’s defense is as consistent as his offense he will be a dynamic player. He will also be a force to be reckoned with. Giving the Red Wings the potential to have multiple players capable of 30 goals.

Last season the Detroit Red Wings asked Dylan Larkin to work on his passing and forecheck. He did. It came at the expense of his goal scoring. Larkin had a career low 16 goals in the 2017-18 season. Having worked on his game and clean it up, the Red Wings told Larkin to return to shooting the puck more. He did. To the tune of 27 goals this season.

This is what a rebuild looks like. It is not as easy as drafting players and sticking them out on the ice. It is draft them, see what they bring to the table and working with them. Allowing them space and time to fail and succeed.

Now Detroit has an excellent two way center in Dylan Larkin who can do it all. They have a budding superstar in Andreas Athanasiou who has improved every season he has played in Motown.

Both players are under 24 years old, and both are explosive goal scorers. Both players have gotten better every game they have played for the Winged Wheels.

Both players are above average in the face-off circle as well. Athanasiou who is transitioning to center and done very well with the move has also had to play wing for the Red Wings due to injuries to Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi earlier in the season.

The Detroit Red Wings are not sure if Andreas Athanasiou will continue to stay at center. The Red Wings are looking at a top three lottery pick in June’s NHL draft and could take a center in the draft. It just depends where they think Anthanasiou can both excel and help the Wings.

The last time Detroit had more than one 30  goal scorer was 2008-09 the year  Detroit won it’s  last Stanley Cup Championship, when Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen and Marian Hossa reached the goal mark.

This is very good news for the rebuilding Red Wings who are just about set for flight again.

Big Ten basketball tournament championships bring Michigan/ Michigan State round III

Embed from Getty Images Michigan State has the opportunity to continue the season dominance over in state rival Michigan. This time the stakes are much higher. A number one NCAA tournament seeding is on the line. For the Wolverines they hope the third time is the charm.

The Wolverines and Spartans clashed in the Big Ten regular season just last Sunday. With Michigan State taking the second game of the seasons. The Spartans finished 2-0 vs Michigan.

The two Big Ten schools have seen each other plenty of times through the years. Now meeting for the third time in less than a month, They play for bragging rights, potential basketball recruits, Big Ten championship and a top seed and first round bye of the NCAA tournament as well. The stakes for the two schools has never been this high.

Spartans head coach Tom Izzo, is tasked with finding new wrinkles to help the Spartans hit the trifecta against Michigan. While Wolverines head coach John Beilein is going to have to do something he did not do the first two meeting. Make in-game adjustments. Something Izzo is a master of.

Michigan players are saying they have a chance for revenge. Needless to say the coach and fans will take solid play from the Maize and Blue. While Michigan State is going to have to play above their heads. It is extremely difficult to beat a team two times, let alone three.

It is hard not to lean towards Izzo and his gang of Green and White. But Michigan does have a punchers chance. It is going to be another classic game. Fouls and rebounds will be the storyline.

On a cool March, St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago, two long time rivals will meet at 3:30 pm. The Big Ten’s elite. Did anyone really think it would end differently?

The final 12 games are important to the Detroit Red Wings

Embed from Getty Images The bottoming out of the Detroit Red Wings was supposed to happen this season. It did. However, the big steps forward taken by the organizations young players are giving real hope for a 202 playoff push.

12 games left. That is it. Wins and losses never mattered this season. I repeat, wins and losses this season never mattered. This season was all about getting the Detroit Red Wings top prospects to take the next step. All of them have.

Dylan Larkin, has become and elite two-way center he leads the Winged Wheels in goals and points. He is also going to be the next Detroit Red Wings captain.

Andreas Athanasiou, is offensively gifted. Speed, good Lord Athanasiou has speed. He has 22 goals on the season and projects as a 30 goal scorer. Yet, Andreas is not yet in the elite conversation. Athanasiou’s defense needs work. While it has improved until it peeks he is simply a gifted goal scorer.

Anthony Mantha’s game has come a long way. Mantha should hit 30 plus goals soon. a broken hand kept the young forward from hitting 30 this season. Mantha is a defensive forward. Once he hits 30 goals he will be as elite as they come.

Tyler Bertuzzi, Where to start with Bert? He is the backbone of this Red Wings core. Not as good a goal scorer as Larkin, Athanasiou or Mantha, Bertuzzi does not need to be. He gets under the skin of opposing teams and is deadly on the power play. Never shy to hit hard Bert is a Detroit fan favorite in this his first full season in Motown.

Top prized pick Filip Zadina who will play his ninth and final game for the Wings tonight against Tampa Bay, has given very encouraging signs that he will be ready to step into a starting role next season.

On defense both Filip Hroneck and Dennis Cholowski both looked good and looked bad. Both players were sent back to Grand Rapids to work on parts of their games. Cholowski will finish the season with the Griffins to gain playoff experience.

Two more reasons the Detroit Red Wings will push for the playoffs next season. They will have top lottery pick. Perhaps number one overall.

Also, Steve Yzerman who will be done with his Tampa Bay Lightning contract and oh by the way is living in Detroit.

Detroit hockey is about to be scary good once again.