Why Detroit Red Wings are optimistic about putting an end to their seven-year absence from the postseason…

The Detroit Red Wings, led by General Manager Steve Yzerman, are optimistic about putting an end to their seven-year absence from the postseason, which currently ties their longest playoff drought in franchise history.

This drought is on par with their non-playoff stretch from 1971 to 1977. Yzerman, a Hockey Hall of Famer, injected a much-needed sense of hope into the team by acquiring prolific goal-scoring winger Alex DeBrincat from Ottawa in July and securing him with a lucrative four-year extension worth approximately $7.8 million per season.

Prior to this major move, Yzerman had already made several subtle transactions during the summer to bolster the team’s depth in forward positions, defense, and goaltending, ultimately culminating in the significant trade for DeBrincat.

Here’s an overview of the Detroit Red Wings for the upcoming season:

  • Head Coach: Derek Lalonde (Record: 35-37-10 in his debut season).
  • Season Opener: Scheduled for October 12 against New Jersey.
  • Departures: Dominik Kubalik, Filip Zadina, Pius Suter, Oskar Sundqvist, Adam Erne, Jordan Oesterle, Robert Hagg.
  • Additions: Alex DeBrincat, Daniel Sprong, J.T. Compher, Jeff Petry, Justin Holl, Shayne Gostisbehere, Alex Lyon, James Reimer.
  • Goaltenders: Ville Husso, James Reimer, Alex Lyon.
  • Fanduel Sportsbook Stanley Cup Odds: 70-1.
  • Last Season: Finished just below .500, marking their best season since 2016, the last time they made the playoffs. However, they still placed seventh in the eight-team Atlantic Division. Captain Dylan Larkin had a career-best 79 points and equaled his career-high with 32 goals. Young players like defenseman Moritz Seider and forward Lucas Raymond performed well in their second seasons, while Ville Husso emerged as the team’s primary goaltender.
  • Strengths: Enhanced depth due to Yzerman’s offseason acquisitions in free agency and trades, covering forward positions, defense, and goaltending. The Red Wings now have more players with NHL experience than available roster spots, a significant improvement compared to their recent rebuilding years.
  • Weaknesses: The absence of a standout superstar is notable. While the team has solid players and some standouts, they lack a game-changing, dynamic player who can significantly impact outcomes. The Red Wings haven’t had a 40-goal scorer since Marian Hossa in 2009, but players like Larkin and Alex DeBrincat could potentially reach that milestone.
  • Expectations: The Red Wings possess the potential to end their seven-year playoff drought, matching the longest in franchise history (1971-77). Yzerman’s acquisition of DeBrincat and his lucrative contract extension provide a much-needed boost in optimism. While Detroit may improve upon its record from the previous year, Motor City fans might have to wait another year for a return to playoff hockey.
  • Player to Watch: Alex DeBrincat. The 25-year-old winger, hailing from suburban Detroit, now bears the responsibility of performing at a star level due to his substantial contract. DeBrincat scored 27 goals and notched 66 points last season in Ottawa, a slight dip from his 41-goal season the previous year in Chicago, where he matched his career-high from the 2018-19 season.

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