While a playoff-bound Red Wings team obviously would be nothing new, the club will make a big change this season when they swap divisions, and conferences, by moving from the West's Central Division to the East's Atlantic Division. As part of the NHL's radical realignment for the upcoming season, Detroit will join Boston, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Tampa Bay, Buffalo and Florida to make up the new Atlantic.
The division change separates Detroit from its bitter rivals in Chicago, which remains in the Central, but it also re-joins the Red Wings with Original Six foes in Boston, Montreal and Toronto. There is also the presence of the Senators, who were less than pleased at Alfredsson's departure for the Motor City.
While Alfredsson is past his prime he could be rejuvenated by this move, or at least that's what Detroit hopes happens. However, with head coach Mike Babcock back behind the bench and superstars like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg still in the fold, even a poor season from Alfredsson isn't likely to end Detroit's postseason streak.
FORWARDS - When Alfredsson shunned the Senators in favor of signing a one- year, $5.5 million contract with Detroit it sent the city of Ottawa into a state of shock.
After all, it almost had become a foregone conclusion that Alfredsson was destined to be an Ottawa lifer, but his decision to leave the Senators has practically turned the Swede into a pariah in Canada's capital city.
Although, the Sens' franchise seemed to take Alfredsson's decision as personal, the club's former captain said the decision had everything to do with hockey. That's hardly a consolation for Senators' fans, who feel betrayed and are likely to boo their former hero with vigor when Alfie takes the ice in Ottawa as an enemy combatant for the first time. In case you want to mark your calendars, Alfie and the Red Wings are scheduled to make the first of two stops in Ottawa this season on Dec. 1.
Although he'll turn 41 years of age in December, there is reason to believe Alfredsson could have a productive year in Motown. He had 10 goals and 16 assists for the Senators last season -- his 17th with Ottawa -- during a lockout-shortened campaign and is not that far removed from a 27-goal, 59- point showing in 2011-12.
At the very least the Red Wings hope Alfredsson can make up for the offense lost when Valtteri Filppula left Detroit this summer to sign a five-year, $25 million deal with Tampa Bay. Filppula had nine goals and eight assists over 41 games for the Red Wings in 2013.
Alfredsson, a steady two-way right winger throughout his career, has joined a line with centerman Stephen Weiss and left wing Johan Franzen. The unit figures to be second behind Detroit's projected top line of Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.
Datsyuk was rumored to be considering a move to Russia's KHL over the offseason, but he ended that speculation by inking a three-year, $22.5 million deal with the Red Wings instead. Considered by some to be the best all-around player in the world, the 35-year-old Russian commands the undivided attention of everybody on the ice with his electrifying combination of stellar defensive play and amazing offensive skill.
Last season, Datsyuk led the Red Wings with 15 goals and 49 points from the center position. His plus-21 rating was also the best mark on the team. Meanwhile, Zetterberg finished second in scoring for Detroit, notching 48 points (11G, 37A) in 46 games.