The 2022-23 Detroit Red Wings will certainly be looking much different when they hit the ice later this week than the squad who last suited up at Prudential Center in the 82nd regular season game this past May, with the biggest change being the hiring of new head coach Derek Lalonde, who arrived as a former assistant with the Tampa Bay Lightning that helped them reach three consecutive Stanley Cup Final championship series while winning two titles.
Of course, they were infused with an extremely valuable influx of rookie talent last season with the debuts of German defenseman Moritz Seider and Swedish winger Lucas Raymond, both of whom found themselves in the Rookie of the Year conversation. It would eventually be Seider taking home the honor, the first Red Wings player to win the Calder since the mid-1960's.
And he'll be tasked with helping get the Red Wings back into a position to fight for their first postseason berth since 2016. But is that the goal as the season begins on Friday?
We need to be an on top team,” he said. “That's who we want to be, and would love that to be our identity.”
“A successful season would look like us improving our team defense, keeping it out of our net, and playing meaningful, significant games near the end of the season. Not far off from where these guys were from the middle of last year, but we want to extend those things later in the year.”Detroit Free Press
Derek Lalonde has a tall task ahead
Of course, qualifying for the postseason this year would be a tall order for the rebuilding Red Wings, considering it took 100 points to even qualify for the final Wild Card spot last season.
I don't mean to be pessimistic on the word playoffs, but I think it's more of a credit to the Eastern Conference,” Lalonde said. “100 points was the threshold last year….we want to improve our defense, keep the puck out of our net, and be am much better team 5×5. If that happens, I'm hoping results will take care of themselves,s and then hopefully the results put us in the position of playing meaningful games as late in the season as possible.”Detroit Free Press
The Red Wings take on the Canadiens at Little Caesars Arena, with the opening face-off scheduled for just after 7:00 PM EST.