TRAVERSE CITY – Members of the Wings’ second line know it’s going to take some time to find chemistry.
The question is how much time will coach Mike Babcock give them to do so.
After three intra-squad scrimmages the line of Daniel Alfredsson, Johan Franzen and Stephen Weiss have generated little offense.
“Mule, Alfredsson and Weiss still are a wok-in-progress,” Babcock said after the team’s annual Red & White scrimmage to close training camp. “I might need to change that around. We’ll know that in a little while, for sure. We have a lot of players and we have to play 40 guys over the first two games and then at that time I’ll know a little bit more.”
The line accounted for one goal over those three games.
“They’ve got to be better than that,” Babcock said.
Alfredsson and Weiss were Detroit’s two major free agency signings.
Alfredsson, 40, is one of the more creative wingers in the league and still has a fantastic shot.
“I don’t think we’ve lit anything on fire so far,” Alfredsson said. “It’s just a process. I’m sure with a few new people, and for the coaching staff as well, (we’re) just seeing where everyone fits in.”
Weiss was the playmaking center the Wings coveted when Valtteri Filppula priced himself out of their plans.
“They’re really great players so it’s not that difficult, but trying to do it in a new system can be a little bit tough at times especially playing against your own teammates that know exactly where you’re going and what you’re trying to do,” Weiss said. “We’ll get better as we go here.”
The club was hoping those two would help Franzen become a more consistent offensive threat.
“I look to run the offense,” Weiss said. “Whether that’s driving the middle and kicking it out and going to the net or being the shooter or whatever. We have to score some goals and help out the top guys that way. Whether that’s 5-on-5 or power play, we have to find a way to be productive offensively.”
The line will get their first chance against another team Tuesday in Chicago.