The Detroit Red Wings are preparing for the beginning of training camp for the upcoming 2020-21 NHL season, which is slated to begin January 13.
And fans will see that this year’s edition of the team will look noticeably different than the squad who earned the unfortunate distinction of being the worst Red Wings team in over three decades.
Naturally, they’ll be working to put the memory of last year’s miserable 17-49-5 out of their minds as quickly as possible. And while there were plenty of voices amongst the fan base who were pining to see head coach Jeff Blashill replaced, GM Steve Yzerman made the decision to retain him for at least another season.
“In terms of appreicating the position I’m in and appreciating the job I’m very aware of what our record has been,” head coach Jeff Blashill explained. “I appreciate every day that I get to coach hockey for a living; not many people have the opportunity that I do. To do it in the NHL in the highest league against the very best, is awesome.”
“The fact that our organization has made decisions that have kept me here in the position I’m in says that we understand that there isn’t a quick fix – it’s just not the reality of what happens in sports. I’ve committed to our group that we’re not taking any shortcuts.”
Of course, Blashill was up front regarding how the team has performed the past several seasons.
“From a wins and losses perspective, it hasn’t been nearly good enough… We’re trying to get to a better tomorrow.”
In order to immediately improve their record, the team will need more offensive output. While injuries to top players such as Anthony Mantha did them no favors last year, Blashill noted that their top line of Mantha, Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi accounted for most of the team’s scoring. Certainly, more is required.
“We’ve gotta get more scoring depth out of our forwards, that’s for sure,” Blashill said.
Yzerman reworked the look of the roster this offseason, bringing aboard the likes of Bobby Ryan and Vladislav Namestnikov while bidding goodbye to veterans Justin Abdelkader and Brendan Perlini, both of whom struggled mightily to compile points.
As far as the blue line is concerned, the team also parted ways with veterans Jonathan Ericsson and Trevor Daley while bringing aboard Jon Merrill and Troy Stetcher. Additionally, Blashill gavae an optimistic health update on Danny DeKeyser, who missed most of last season after undergoing back surgery.
Training camp will get underway December 31 from Little Caesars Arena.
– – Quotes via Brad Galli of WXYZLink – –