During training camp and the preseason, Mike Babcock switched up the Red Wings' defensive pairings so Nicklas Lidstrom and Niklas Kronwall were together on the first line. Just days before the start of the season, Babcock has switched things up again, moving Kronwall to the third line with Ruslan Salei and Jonathan Ericsson to the first line with Lidstrom.
"I thought E played some of his best hockey when he played with Nick against Anaheim (second round of the 2009 playoffs),’’ Babcock said. "Their top unit with (Ryan) Getzlaf and (Corey) Perry really make it hard on the other team’s (defense). E’s a big body, we want him to play well.’’
There's no word on how long this change will be in effect, as it appears to be a fluid situation. Babcock will likely reevaluate things depending on how the season opener on Friday night against Anaheim goes.
With the changes to the defensive pairings, here are the projected lines for Friday's game, via Ansar Khan:
Abdelkader-Helm-Eaves (Draper working in)