Coming off of a 32-40-10 record last season and missing the playoffs for the third straight season, the Detroit Red Wings hope to turn things around this season. Red Wings fans have been disappointed in recent years because they are used to seeing the Winged Wheel playing for the Stanley Cup. When Detroit failed to qualify for the playoffs in the 2016-2017 season, it was the first time in almost thirty years. Before that, the last time that the Wings failed to make the playoffs was the 1989-1990 season. As a result, many Detroit fans are anxious for their team to return to the playoffs.
This offseason, the Red Wings made a big change in their front office by hiring NHL Hall of Famer and Detroit Red Wings legend Steve Yzerman as their new General Manager. While many fans and experts believed that center Dylan Larkin would be donning the captain’s “C,” the team announced that the University of Michigan grad would not be named captain this season and they would play the season without a captain. I was disappointed upon hearing this because Larkin had said that he was ready for the captaincy and I believe that all Wings fans are as well.
One of Yzerman’s first big moves was selecting German defensemen Moritz Seider 6th Overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. Many experts and fans were skeptical of the pick, saying that Seider was not a player that had a lot of spotlight and that Yzerman could have gotten him with a later pick; however, Yzerman’s role as the Tampa Bay Lightning GM created trust and helped assured people that Steve knew what he was doing.
The biggest roster change for the Wings was defenseman Niklas Kronwall’s retirement. Kronwall was selected 29th overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by the Wings and has been in the organization ever since. Number 55 was a huge part of the Detroit Red Wings and helped the team win the Stanley Cup in the 2007-2008 season. Aside from Kronwall, the Red Wings lost NHL veteran Thomas Vanek, who left the Wings to play for the Austrian National Team. Fortunately for the Red Wings, there were no other departures and the team did not go through a major shift in their roster.
Over the past few seasons, the Red Wings have gotten a lot younger as a team. Players like Johan Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk, and Henrik Zetterberg retired, paving the way for a group of young talent to help lead the team back to the playoffs. Led by young stars Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi, Andreas Athanasiou, and Dylan Larkin, the Red Wings are showing glimmers of hope that they can get back to the level they were at in the late 90’s.
Dylan Larkin has a lot of expectations going into the season. He is suspected to be the next captain and must deal with all the pressure that comes with that. He is also undoubtedly the face of the franchise. Larkin had a career-high 32 goals to go with 41 assists for 73 points last season. He also showed that he can be one of the best at taking face-offs in the league. Larkin will look to improve even more and potentially return to the all star team.
Many people are excited to see how the Wings do this year. With Yzerman now running the team, there are those who feel that Detroit is going to start playing better and may have a chance to make the playoffs this year. Fans believe that all the young talent they have is going to bring a new energy to the team, and it would not be surprising if within the next five seasons, the Red Wings make it back to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Red Wings opened the season on the road in Nashville against the Predators on October 4th. The Wings beat Nashville by a score of 5-3. Bertuzzi scored two goals, while Larkin, Mantha, and Luke Glendening each scored one goal. The following day, the Red Wings hosted the Dallas Stars for their home opener. The Red Wings greeted their fans with a 4-3 win over the Stars. Mantha stole the show, scoring all four goals for the Wings that night. Mantha scored five goals in the first two games of the season.
The Wings are currently fourth in the Atlantic Division behind the Buffalo Sabres, Boston Bruins, and Toronto Maple Leafs. Detroit currently has a 3-2-0 record, which gives them six points on the year.
After three disappointing seasons, the Red Wings are finally moving in the right direction. Yzerman and Larkin have brought a newfound energy to the team and the fanbase. The Red Wings will be fun to watch this season and have the potential to return to the postseason.