Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Detroit Red Wings.
The Detroit Red Wings finally got what they wanted last season with the league’s realignment: A move from the Western to Eastern Conference. That gave them a far more favorable travel schedule and the chance to play against some classic rivals more frequently.
Now in the new Atlantic Division, Detroit got off to a 6-2-0 start, but they hit some rough patches, due in large part to injuries. Forwards Johan Franzen, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and Stephen Weiss were among those that missed substantial chunks of the season.
In the end, it was the rise of promising young forwards Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, and Riley Sheahan that helped the team squeak into the playoffs and extend the franchise’s streak of postseason appearances to 23 seasons.
Detroit didn’t do much once it got to the playoffs as Boston dismissed the Red Wings in five games, but the campaign can still be viewed as a step in the right direction as far as their rebuilding effort goes.
The larger issue at this point is if the Red Wings will be able to lure talent to help compliment their rising young players and have at least one more serious playoff run with 33-year-old Zetterberg and 36-year-old Datsyuk before they’re slowed down by age.
Detroit used to be a choice destination for free agents, but that hasn’t been the case in recent years and this summer was no exception. Detroit wasn’t able to sign a single noteworthy defenseman and instead brought back Kyle Quincey at a cost of $8.5 million over two years.
With the Red Wings largely unchanged from 2013-14, they will enter the season as contenders for a playoff spot once again, but some serious question marks remain.