Take a look at our reasons why the Red Wings will make the playoffs this season.
The Detroit Red Wings were once a perennial postseason contender, boasting an impressive streak of 25 consecutive playoff appearances and clinching the Stanley Cup championship four times. Additionally, they made it to the Stanley Cup Final on two other occasions. However, when General Manager Steve Yzerman returned to the helm in 2019, he faced a significant challenge. The question now arises: has he made enough changes to position the Red Wings as legitimate playoff contenders for the upcoming 2023-24 season?
The Power Play will be better
During the previous season, the Red Wings‘ power play unit performed at a moderate level, operating at an efficiency rate of 21.2%. However, with the addition of goal-scoring forward Alex DeBrincat and the offensive-minded defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, there is a strong anticipation that these numbers will experience a significant improvement moving forward.
Improved Goaltending Depth
Starting goaltender Ville Husso is expected to handle a heavier workload more effectively this season compared to the previous one, during which he appeared in a career-high 56 games. It's worth noting that last season, both Alex Nedeljkovic and Magnus Hellberg faced considerable challenges and have since departed. The addition of new goaltenders, James Reimer and Alex Lyon, provides the Red Wings with much-improved depth in the goaltending department, bolstering their overall strength in this crucial position.
Improved goal scoring
Detroit has struggled to secure a bonafide goal scorer in recent years, and this challenge was exacerbated by the extended absences of now-former Red Wings forwards Jakub Vrana and Tyler Bertuzzi last season. However, the addition of DeBrincat, a two-time 40-goal scorer, has given the Red Wings their first legitimate and lethal scoring threat since Marian Hossa in the 2008-09 season.
They are now used to Derek Lalonde's system
The Red Wings faced an adjustment period at the beginning of last season while adapting to the new system introduced by head coach Derek Lalonde. This transition is not unlike what many other teams go through when they bring in a new head coach after having played under a different leadership figure for several years.
Their defensive depth has improved
While the Red Wings grappled with challenges in scoring goals, they also faced difficulties in preventing opponents from scoring. In the upcoming season, there are expectations for second-year Red Wings defenseman Ben Chiarot to rebound and improve his performance, especially with the addition of former Maple Leafs defenseman Justin Holl. Furthermore, forward J.T. Compher is renowned for his defensive prowess, which should contribute to strengthening the team's defensive efforts.
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- The Detroit Red Wings have not qualified for the playoffs since 2016, a seven-year drought
- With the addition by Steve Yzerman of several new players, an improved defense, and another year of experience under head coach Derek Lalonde's system, all the pieces are in place for the Red Wings to finally break their streak of playoff absences in 2023-24
- The Red Wings will make the playoffs if all of the above factors work in concert with one another
Bottom Line: Time to make a run
As the Red Wings enter the fifth year of Steve Yzerman's tenure as general manager, there is growing anticipation among fans and observers for significant on-ice results. The expectation for progress and improvement is understandable, given the passage of time under his leadership.
Is 2023-24 the year that the Red Wings will make the playoffs?