As a Red Wings fan, I am tuned in a bit more into Detroit and their roster and what have you. Last year's team, the first without Nicklas Lidstrom in a good, long while, was likely their worst roster in many years, perhaps even decades. It was a team with young talent that took some time to find their stride, and they dealt with injuries too, and so it looked for a little while like the Wings might miss the postseason for the first time in a long, long while. However, they managed to fight their way to the seventh seed, and then they enjoyed a nice surprise playoff run. They upset the Ducks, and then came oh so close to eliminating the eventual champions the Blackhawks.
Detroit's roster looks a bit better for this season. While they lost Valtteri Filppula, and will likely lost a couple of other key members from last year's team, they added the veteran Daniel Alfredsson, as well as Stephen Weiss who, if healthy, is as good as Filppula. They also still have Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall, and Jimmy Howard in net. Having said that, it is Detroit's young players who will likely decide where this team ends up when the regular season is over.
I was impressed by Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson last season, and guys like Tomas Tatar and Riley Sheahan may be able to help more. On defense, Jakub Kindl has become a legitimate NHL defenseman, while Brendan Smith and Danny DeKeyser have some skills. None of these guy are likely to be the next great Red Wing, but they can be good players, giving Detroit the depth they've enjoyed in seasons passed.
The Wings are also, finally, in the Eastern Conference. Gone is Chicago, but they are reunited with Montreal and Toronto. Also, Florida is there. Detroit has some tough teams to compete with, and they have to go up against more teams for a playoff spot, but they are definitely in the race. However, I do not think they are guaranteed a spot. They will have to fight to make the postseason, and I do not see them as Cup contenders. This is not the Red Wings team of years gone by. They are just another pretty good NHL team that hopes to make the playoffs and pull off a couple upsets.