The Detroit Red Wings are currently in a playoff spot ahead of their matchup against the Los Angeles Kings tonight. Be honest, who would have predicted that? GM Steve Yzerman has made his mark on the franchise that he helped as much as anyone resurrect from the dead during his playing years, and he’s once again doing it again in the front office.
Let’s take a look at five bold predictions for the team as we get ready for the new year.
1. Dylan Larkin will hit 70+ points
The Detroit Red Wings captain is enjoying what can truly be considered as a bounce-back season. Already with 15 goals on the year, easily besting last season’s total of nine, he’s on pace to eclipse the 40 goal mark for the first time in his career.
2. The Red Wings won’t sell at the deadline
We’ve gotten used to seeing the Red Wings acquire talent at the Trade Deadline in year’s past to gear up for a lengthy playoff run. Of course, in their recent lean years, it’s been the opposite. However, with the campaign they’re enjoying so far, barring some kind of monumental letdown, the team will be right in the thick of things when the annual deadline approaches early next year, and won’t punt on the season.
3. Moritz Seider will win rookie of the year
The Red Wings have not one, not two, but three rookie of the year candidates in Lucas Raymond, Moritz Seider, and goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (still considered a rookie per NHL rules). While Raymond currently leads all rookies in scoring, it is the non-flashy but extremely effective play of Seider that’s brought badly needed balance to Detroit’s blue line. It was considered a gamble taking him with the No. 6 overall pick in 2019, but so far, he’s shaping up to be the steal of the Draft’s 1st round.
4. The team will challenge for a wild card playoff spot
The fact that the Red Wings are two games above the .500 mark prior to tomorrow’s New Year’s Eve game is a major improvement to where they were in December of 2019 when they were well on their way to owning the NHL’s worst record by a wide margin. As a matter of fact, if the Stanley Cup Playoffs were to begin today, they’d be in for the first time since 2016. And with the pending return of Jakub Vrana right around the corner, don’t be surprised to see them make a serious challenge for one of the Wild Card berths.
5. Both Nick Leddy and Vladislav Namestnikov will earn new contracts
Both pending unrestricted free-agents, both Leddy and Namestnikov have enjoyed productive years for Detroit. Leddy has brought his veteran Stanley Cup winning experience to Detroit’s blue line and has served as a mentor for Seider, while Namestnikov has already eclipsed his goal output of last year.