That was painful to type but it just so happens to be the Detroit Red Wings record from the 2019-20 season. They were by far the worst team in the NHL and they have a long way to go before they are back to what we expect them to be.
Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman made it clear from the moment he came home that it is going to take some time to build the team back into Stanley Cup contenders and as we speak, there is still a ways to go to get there.
That being said, what should Yzerman’s offseason priorities be heading into the 2020-21 season?
Scott Burnside of The Athletic recently published a piece where he takes a look at the offseason priorities for each NHL team. Here is what he came up with for the Red Wings.
Detroit Red Wings
2019-20 record: 17-49-5, eighth Atlantic Division
So many holes in this lineup that somehow managed to compile a minus-122 goal differential in just 71 games. But you’ve got to start somewhere, right? Let’s start with the premise that this team is three or four years away from legitimately returning to playoff contention. So, this isn’t about signing a flashy free agent to plug a particularly gaping hole along the blue line or in goal, although both positions are woefully thin. Instead it would seem that with an abundance of salary cap space GM Steve Yzerman has to be amenable to making that cap asset work for the Red Wings in the hopes of at least incrementally speeding up the rebuild process. A year ago Carolina nabbed a first-round pick from Toronto in order to take on Patrick Marleau’s contract. Yzerman has to ferret out the kinds of deals that cap-strapped teams will be looking to make to free up space to stay in the playoff and/or Stanley Cup hunt. For instance, would Detroit take on Nino Niederreiter or Jake Gardiner if the Canes sweetened the deal with picks and/or prospects? What about Kyle Turris’ onerous deal in Nashville? Or Brent Seabrook in Chicago? There is hay to be made here for a Detroit team that is still deep in the rebuilding tunnel.
Nation, what would you like to see Steve Yzerman do this offseason? What should the priority be?