The Red Wings missed the playoffs last year for the first time in 25 years, and this year things were not much better. The Red Wings do have a decent excuse though. They have been dealing with their older players leaving and their younger players coming in. Therefore the whole culture and environment are changing in Detroit. A player like Henrik Zetterberg a legend in Detroit will soon be forgotten. When the old is out and the new is in, it is never an easy transition.
The Red Wings went 30-39-13, 73 points, ranking 27th in goals for(212), 8th in goals against(254), 24th in power play percentage(17.5), 23rd in penalty kill percentage(77.5). They certainly did not too well in any department last year. The positives for the Red Wings though they had Mike Green make an All-Star appearance, Anthony Mantha, Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou had successful seasons and there are a lot of bright signs for the Red Wings and their forward group.
The top reasons the Red Wings were not successful this season were quite simple, they are young, they lacked depth, lacked goal scoring and their blueline is old as dirt. The Red Wings also have not really secured that goaltending spot so that has played negatively into the team’s success.
What went wrong for the Red Wings
(1) A young roster. Look at every team that has ever gone through a rebuild, the Maple Leafs, Oilers, Coyotes, Penguins in 2006-07, the list goes on. When the team is young and the players on the roster especially speaking top six are a young group of forwards it is tough to really be a solid team that can make an impact in this league. Dyland Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou, Martin Frk, Luke Glendening, Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi, these players are all under 25 years old, so the environment is a very young and it is difficult to be good when your team is inexperienced.
(2) Depth scoring and depth across the front end. Now the Red Wings top six was not bad but when you match with other top six’s it is tough. So when your bottom six is Frans Neilsen, David Booth, Justin Abeldkear and Luke Witkowski it is tough to be competitive in a league that yearns for a solid bottom six. The Red Wings top scorers were Dylan Larkin with 63 points than Henrik Zetterberg with 56 points after these two the Red Wings had 10 players with 40 points or fewer.
(3) Their defense was old as dirt and their goaltending was to put it nicely a question mark all year. The defense is centered around Danny DeKeyser, then Trevor Daley, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson you are going to have trouble on the backend. Plain and simple, and problems on the backend will not lead to a successful season. On top of Jimmy Howard, Petr Mrazek issues in the beginning of the year the Red Wings goaltending situation was a bit of an issue and when Howard turned it around and had the crease when Mrazek left it was too late for the Red Wings to turn their season around.
Will things be better next year?
Well, the Red Wings have number 6th overall pick looking at drafting Adam Boqvist which will help the blueline problems. They have a very young up and coming forwards, the only issue is that Larkin, Athanasiou, Frk, Mantha, Bertuzzi are all RFA’s and will need to be resigned, Mike Green will surely be gone in the offseason and things could be worse but the Red Wings will resign their core forwards who will be RFA’s this offseason but things will not be better anyways, they will be a borderline basement team again, maybe around the .500 mark easily again in the 23-25 range and you can count the playoffs out.