This post is part of Red Wings Day on PHT…
The Detroit Red Wings have been one of the model franchises in the NHL for a very long time (they made the playoffs for 26 years in a row), but every team goes through a phase where they have to retool their roster.
Some teams can retool on the fly (that’s incredibly difficult), while others are forced to blow up the roster and start from scratch.
Even though the roster needs a lot of work, Red Wings general manager Ken Holland has already stated that there will be no long and painful rebuild for his team.
“We have the best fans in the world. They’re passionate. They’re incredible,” Holland said in April, per MLive.com.
“These fans want to watch playoff hockey. Nobody wants to see a rebuild. They want to see us be competitive. They want to see us have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. While we’re trying to draft and develop and get better long-term, one of our short-term goals is trying to figure out how to make the team as good as it can be and hope that team can qualify for the playoffs.”
So, it’s gonna be a retool over a rebuild, but is that really the best decision?
Making the playoffs every year is great, but being stuck between sixth and 11th in the conference year after year isn’t always a recipe for success either.
The Wings’ cap situation is far from ideal. As of right now, they’re one of three teams (Chicago and Toronto are too) that have negative cap space. Of course, that’ll change once they put Johan Franzen on injured reserve, but that still doesn’t leave them with a ton of room.
They also have many veterans making a lot money. Henrik Zetterberg has been terrific for the Wings over the years, but the 36-year-old still has four years left on his contract at just over $6 million per season.
Frans Nielsen, 33, was signed as an unrestricted free agent last summer. He’s on the books for five more years at $5.25 million.
Defensemen Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson and Trevor Daley are all over 33 years old, and they each have at least two years remaining on their contracts. They each make between $3.16 million and $4.75 million.
On the flip side, Detroit does have some interesting young pieces that should be able to help them win right away.
Dylan Larkin had a tough sophomore season. He’ll need to bounce back in a big way if the Wings make it back to the postseason.
After scoring 27 goals in 2014-15, Gustav Nyquist has had back-to-back disappointing seasons. The 27-year-old needs to contribute more.
The goalies are also a question mark for them going into next season. Coming into last season, it appeared as though Petr Mrazek was ready to become a solid number one goaltender. Unfortunately for Detroit, things didn’t pan out that way (he ended up being exposed in the expansion draft).
Jimmy Howard had struggled over the last few years, but he emerged as the starting goaltender once Mrazek failed to seize his opportunity.
Like any team, the play of their goaltenders will affect the outcome of their season.
We know that Holland isn’t interested in blowing up the Wings roster, but what would you to if you were in his shoes? It’s time for you guys to vote (feel free to leave your opinion in the comments section, too).