Originally posted on Nightmare on Helm Street  |  Last updated 8/2/12
So what are we looking at right now in terms of defense heading into this next season?

Kronwall-White
Quincey-Ericsson
Smith-Kindl

Question marks?  Sure.  But there are worse top 6 in the league...despite all of the complaining in the Red Wings' universe.  Remember Brett Lebda?  Remember Derek Meech? 

Kyle Quincey had a mediocre (at best) end to the season...that doesn't mean he won't turn back into the stud he was in Colorado that made us all sad we got rid of him.

But the real driver of the back end will be none other than Detroit's own home-grown Punisher...#55 Niklas Kronwall.

Make the jump for more.

Whether or not they strap the "C" on his chest - Kronwall's role on this team is about to get magnified exponentially.  Anybody got a problem with that?

[youtube]Jka30csqyV0&feature=related[/youtube]

Kronwall seems to be getting better and better with time.  It took Nick Lidstrom 10 seasons to win his first Norris Trophy.  Kronwall has played in 8 regular seasons thus far.  Sure - Lidstrom already had 423 points in 8 seasons while Kronwall only has 217...but they're different players playing in different times.  Could we be looking at a one-two punch with Smith for Calder and Kronwall for Norris?  Not bloody likely...but we can dream.

[youtube]cLca3e5QYTY[/youtube]

I'm not saying that Kronwall is going to go out and win 7 Norris Trophies in the next decade or so...but he his becoming a much more well-rounded player.

[youtube]1Fsl70exRfo[/youtube]

The dude can do more than just crush people into dust.  He had a career-high 15 goals last season.  What's even more promising is the fact that he played in all 82 games.  Something he had not done in his previous 7 seasons with the club.

Is Kronwall showing toughness and durability?

[youtube]-flAEgKsrUc[/youtube]

...let's see you get up from that.  (Oh and I love Darren Pang.)

But nobody comes to NOHS here to see videos of Kronwall GETTING hit.  Let's get to what he all have come to love...

Here he is sticking it to Parise and Suter's buddy in Minnesota:

[youtube]SfX5BwDKjq0[/youtube]

You know who didn't like that?  Ryan Clowe.  Who started running his mouth about it?  Ryan Clowe.  Who was next on the Punisher's list?  Ryan Clowe.

[youtube]weFx9DMiros[/youtube]

The hit so hard it almost knocked Engblom off his toolbox.  I remember scaring my wife by jumping up and screaming my excitement for this one....2nd favorite hit of all time (next to Havlat getting Kronwalled).

More ice time means that Kronwall will have much more time to do stuff like this.  And these aren't rookies or scrubs that he's laying waste to.  They're top 3 forwards.  They're All-Star participants.  They're Frank J. Selke Trophy winners...

[youtube]ZKSoNMIIcWY[/youtube]

So as we head into the season knowing that we're going to be seeing a lot more of #55 in Red and White on the ice...be glad.  This season isn't just Brendan Smith's coming out party...it's Niklas Kronwall's turn to take the reigns as a top 2 D-man for this club.  And that spells trouble for every top 3 forward that goes against the Wings this year.

Believe in Detroit...because they can hit.

Hard.
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