If all goes to plan, the NHL will be returning to the ice sometime in August. For 24 teams, it will be a tournament that quickly turns into the normal 16 team playoffs. As for a certain seven teams, the 2019-2020 season is no more. For the most part, it’s considered a disappointment, for some, it’s all part of a rebuild. Over the next while, we will fill you in on what occurred for the teams that fell short for the benchmark to play on. Up first is the 31st ranked Detroit Red Wings. Let’s get to it!
Make sure to check out all of our other NHL team recaps here.
Record: 17-49-5, 39 points(31st)
What Went Right
This was a pretty disappointing season, there is no sugar-coating it. Expectations weren’t set very high as the Wings are constructed to rebuild around a core of young talent. Just 17 wins in 71 games is historically bad. This won’t do well for the psyche of all involved going forward.
Despite the poor record, there were some nice individual performances. Dylan Larkin, the team’s best player, continues to evolve nicely into the leader of the organization in just his fifth year. He led all players in points with 53.
Czech born defenseman, Filip Hronek, who turns just 23 in November, led all Wing defenseman in points with 31(65 games). He also led the entire team in average ice time per contest with 23.54 minutes. Hronek was given a large role when veteran rearguard Danny DeKeyser went down early in the season with a major back injury. In only his second NHL season, Hronek has already shown great improvements. The Red Wings should be ecstatic with the possibilities of what Hronek could become.
Larkin and Hronek are likely to be two of the most important pieces going forward for the organization. Let’s highlight some others that are on the right path. Tyler Bertuzzi put in another solid performance with 48 points. He, along with Larkin and Anthony Mantha could be a trio that has long-lasting appeal for Detroit. Robby Fabbri, Filip Zadina, and goaltender Jonathan Bernier all performed very well as well. Fabbri was brought in from St.Louis and chipped in for 31 points in 53 games. He profiles as a nice second-line winger going forward. The highly touted Filip Zadina made an impact immediately in his inaugural season. He scored eight goals and 15 points in 28 games before breaking his ankle.
31-year-old backstop Jonathan Bernier played above expectations as he shared goalie duties with Jimmy Howard. Bernier accounted for 15 of the 17 Red Wing victories while maintaining a respectable 2.95 goals-against-average. The Wings had a host of players building in the farm system that they have high hopes for. The most notable ones, Moritz Seider, Joe Veleno, Michael Rasmussen, and Gustav Lindstrom, will all be on the radar to get a crack at the lineup in 2020-2021.
What Went Wrong
The numbers don’t lie. This team was overmatched on most nights. Too many games lost by more than three goals. The 2.00 goals per game weren’t near enough to cover up the deficiencies in their zone.
The early-season injury to veteran defenseman Danny Dekeyser certainly played a part in the Wings giving up way too many scoring chances. At 30 years of age, Dekeyser is one of the very few that offers a strong base of experience and knowledge. He is vital to building this group in the future. He had back surgery in December and will be monitored closely this off-season.
We touched on the goaltending already, this is a major area of concern that could be altered in the off-season. There are no concerns for Jonathan Bernier, the same can’t be said for Jimmy Howard. The 36-year-old won just 2 of 27 games and had an inflated goals-against of 4.20.
Despite dressing forwards that had good campaigns, the depth is majorly-lacking. After Larkin, Mantha, Bertuzzi, and Fabri the offense dries up considerably. Every other forward had no more than 21 points. You can bet that the Wings will be eyeing Alexei Lafreniere in the upcoming draft.
Detroit is re-committing to Head Coach Jeff Blashill. This is only fair as Blashill hasn’t exactly been given the most ideal roster to work with. A solid draft and the addition of some free agents will give Blashill a chance to build something good.
Speaking of the 2020 Draft, this has to be something Red Wing fans are excited about. Detroit has an 18.5% chance of selecting first overall. Lafreniere is the consensus number one selection, but fret not because there are some potential gems littered throughout the heap of players eligible.
It will be interesting to see how GM Steve Yzerman approaches free agency. A big splash is highly unlikely, but addressing the goaltender position and adding some depth should be on his to-do list.
Also, something to look for is how the organization implements its young talent brewing in the AHL. Evgeny Svechnikov(W), Joe Veleno(C), Michael Rasmussen(C), and Moritz Seider(D) will likely have a chance to make an impact. The team could be banking on them to step in and contribute much like how Filip Zadina performed. If they don’t, Yzerman will likely have to make some bolder moves before things unravel any further in future seasons.
Questions and comments?
Hit us up on the Socials:
Check out our Facebook Group where you can read and post articles at The Scorecrow
Reddit Group where everyone can post without fear of being banned at The Scorecrow
Follow Joel Dorcas on Twitter @Joel_Dorcas6
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images