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Grading the Detroit Red Wings: Defensemen and Goalies

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Grading the Detroit Red Wings: Defensemen and Goalies
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Jimmy Howard was a big part of the Detroit Red Wings' playoff run in 2013.

COMMENTARY | The Detroit Red Wings' 2012-13 season had its fair shares of highs and lows. A team many predicted wouldn't even make the playoffs was one win away from the Western Conference finals.

This article will look at the defensemen and goalies that played throughout the season. Grades are based on performance as well as expectations met during the season.

Defensemen

Niklas Kronwall -- B+

Kronwall led all defensemen on the Red Wings in points during the regular season with 29 but also had a plus/minus of minus-5. He's always a threat to deliver the big hit and has been more cognizant of not hitting in a way that could get him suspended or fined.

Jonathan Ericsson -- B-

Ericsson has games where he makes great defensive plays to stop a scoring chance, then he has games where he makes an ill-advised pass that leads to a break the other way. He just finished his sixth year with the Red Wings, and I thought he would be further along than he is now.

Jakub Kindl -- B+

Kindl has shown great improvement over last year. He is more confident with the puck, especially on the blue line with the second power-play unit. He led all defensemen on the Red Wings during the regular season in plus/minus with a plus-15. He is a restricted free agent, but I expect he'll be in Detroit next year.

Brendan Smith -- B

Smith had a rough start to the regular season, and a few rough games in the playoff series with Chicago, but it could have been worse for his first full season with the Red Wings. He was asked to do a lot with the likes of Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart gone. He'll improve next year.

Brian Lashoff -- B-

Lashoff was brought up early in the season when the Red Wings had multiple injuries on the blue line. He fared well, but also was last on the team in plus/minus with a minus-10. He played just three games in the playoffs as Carlo Colaiacovo returned from injury.

Ian White -- C

I don't know what White did to get in coach Mike Babcock's doghouse, but it's certainly a good sign he will not be in a Red Wings uniform next year. The unrestricted free agent played just 25 games in the regular season and was benched for every single playoff game.

Kyle Quincey -- B-

Quincey had a rough start to the season, but rebounded nicely with a seven-game stint in January and February in which he was a plus-10. He shows signs of brilliance, but the Red Wings were no doubt hoping for more as they traded away a first-round pick in order to get him.

Danny DeKeyser -- B+

Signing DeKeyser was one of the best moves the Red Wings made all year. The former Western Michigan Bronco is a defensive defenseman the Red Wings have been looking for. Unfortunately, he was injured in the playoffs after just two games. He currently is spending time with the Grand Rapids Grffins as they play for the Calder Cup.

Carlo Colaiacovo -- B

Colaiacovo played in just six games during the regular season and nine during the playoffs. He was signed at the beginning of the 2012-13 season to fill the void left by Lidstrom and Stuart. He's not as skilled as either of those, but he is a solid defender.

Kent Huskins -- N/A

Played in just 11 games for the Red Wings and was traded away to the Philadelphia Flyers. He was a quick fix for the Red Wings when multiple defensemen went down with injuries and wasn't expected to be a season-changing signing for the club.

Goalies

Jimmy Howard -- A

Howard was the reason the Red Wings continued the streak of playoff appearances and the reason they made it to Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals. He was the MVP for the Red Wings during their playoff run. The Red Wings signed him to a six-year, $31.8 million extension back in April, and Howrad deserved every penny of it.

Jonas Gustavsson -- C

Gustavsson spent much of the season injured. He only started four games for the Red Wings, and he wasn't exactly superb in any of them. Luckily for Howard, the shortened season meant he didn't have to play 70+ games. Gustavsson will have to stay healthy in order for Howard to get a rest during the 2013-14 season.

Petr Mrazek -- N/A

Mrazek started two games and picked up a win and a loss. He was impressive, but it's not a big enough sample size to determine what his future is. Howard is the man right now, but Mrazek could be the Red Wings next net minder down the road.

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