2022 Offseason Guide: Detroit Red Wings
The glory days of Hockeytown may be gone, but the Detroit Red Wings are on the right track. They finished with a 32-40-10 record; 8th worst in the league. However, Red Wings fans should be somewhat excited for the next few seasons, as they are taking strides forward. GM Steve Yzerman, former C for the Wings, has been finding so many good prospects — they just have to put it all together. Can Detroit turn it around quick enough? If anyone can, it’s him. Let’s take a look at some possible solutions.
The Red Wings roster is not in bad shape, but they’ve certainly seen better. Some injuries Detroit encountered this season were Robby Fabbri, who missed the last 2 months with a torn ACL, along with Dylan Larkin who had core muscle surgery, missing the final 2 weeks. Lastly, star W Filip Zadina suffered from appendicitis and missed the last 2 weeks. The top four point scorers for Detroit this year were Larkin with 69, Tyler Bertuzzi with 62, Lucas Raymond with 57, and Moritz Seider with 50. Good news, those are the main components of their core, they’re expected to score. Bad news? Outside of those four, the next highest point getter was Filip Hronek with 38. If the Wings want to win, they need more people that can put the puck in the net and keep it out. Starting goalie Alex Nedeljkovic did not play well behind the Detroit defense, finishing with a 20-24-9 record, with a 3.31 GAA and a .901 Save Percentage.
Steve Yzerman has 2 choices this offseason – Option A, full-on rebuild. Option B, use what you have and try to make the playoffs this year. I think they should go for option b, as they are a few pieces away from contending for a playoff spot. Some possible moves that could work would be trading Tyler Bertuzzi for either a solid prospect or a high pick. Yet you can get assets for him at his peak, coming off a 30-goal season at 27. He’s not getting any younger, might as well get the most out of him.
Next, replace him with someone similar from Free Agency. A good piece could be Avs forward Andre Burakovsky. He’s a solid piece that can fit on any line and can give good production. Another piece worth noting is Minnesota F Nino Niederreiter, who has been solid his whole career and only 2 years older than Burakovsky.
Yzerman also has to address the left side of the defense. With Jordan Oesterle the only one signed, they have to get some veteran guys. A good fit for them would be Josh Manson from Colorado. Another defenseman that could work would be lefty Ben Chariot from Florida, who was a decent piece for being on the 3rd line. Lastly, they should sign Sam Gagner and Marc Staal to veteran minimums as they can help the younger guys like Seider and Raymond, plus still produce. Nevertheless, I think Stevie Y can turn this franchise into a playoff team if he plays his cards right. He’s done it with Tampa, I don’t see why he can’t repeat for Detroit.
Detroit has $35 million in the bank, more than enough to get some solid pieces in Free Agency. They have 4 pending RFA’s with 6 pending UFA’s. I think they should resign Filip Zadina to a decent contract and Jake Walman to a 2–3-year trial. Both being young they can still breakout, plus they can get on team friendly contracts to save $. They have the money/ resources to get good players, Detroit just has to pick the right players and execute. However, a majority of the team is on 1–2-year contracts — so they have to start winning soon before stars ask for more money.
Finally, the NHL Draft. Finishing 8th is not good by most team standards, yet this year may be different. As a result of finishing 8th and being unlucky with the lottery, they didn’t move spots at all. The Detroit Red Wings are really missing a center behind Larkin and might have struck gold this year. With their first pick at #8, the Wings have a chance to get that next great C. He goes by the name of Matthew Savoie, and he is the best skater in the draft. Savoie’s not the biggest guy at 5’9 180, but one who can turn laterally and make any defender look silly. Last season with the Winnipeg Ice of the WHL, Savoie finished with 90 points in 65 games, scoring 35 goals. Furthermore, he reminds me of another center from Detroit with great hands and a crazy shot: Pavel Datsyuk. I think this would be a great pick for Detroit, a franchise piece for years to come. They have a first rounder, a pair of 2nds, a 3rd, three 4ths, a 5th and two 7ths in this upcoming draft. I think they can use this capital to get Savoie (if available), a few other pieces and a goalie to turn this team around.
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