Detroit Red Wings have had a tough time of things in the NHL during recent years and the situation doesn’t look it will get much easier over the next couple of seasons.
Red Wings legend Steve Yzerman was honest enough to admit as much when he replaced long-serving general manager Ken Holland nearly a year ago.
Detroit’s famed run of reaching the play-offs 30 times between 1983 and 2016 seem a distant memory at the moment and this season’s efforts have been utterly woeful.
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The Red Wings have collected just 39 points this term, a tally that represents the third-worst points percentage in the history of the franchise.
For fans more familiar with deep play-off runs and Stanley Cup victories, these are desperate times to be a Detroit supporter.
Yzerman has worked hard to address the situation, but he still has plenty of work to do in order to restore the Red Wings back to the top of the tree. Read on as we look at the latest state-of-play.
The coaching conundrum
The Red Wings were already slumping when Jeff Blashill took over from Mike Babcock as head coach, but he has failed to arrest the slide.
During their glory years Detroit were regularly towards the head of the 888sport betting to win the Stanley Cup, but that has been far from the case under Blashill.
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Yzerman has resisted the temptation to hang Blashill out to dry publicly, but he is fully expected to make a coaching change this summer.
His former teammates Lane Lambert and Gerard Gallant have both been linked with a move to the Motor City and it would be no surprise to see one of them replace Blashill over the coming months.
Bernier buying the Red Wings time
Jimmy Howard’s decline in form gave the Red Wings a major issue in the netminding department, but Jonathan Bernier’s performances have bought Yzerman some valuable time.
After starting the season as a largely unconsidered back-up, Bernier went on to establish himself as the starting goalie as he recorded a .907 save percentage for the season.
The 31-year-old achieved this despite playing behind the worst defensive unit in the league and he deserves the opportunity to backstop the team from the start next term.
With Howard entering unrestricted free agency this summer the Red Wings will need to find a new back-up, but Bernier’s efforts have given them valuable breathing space.
Seider ready to step up
The Red Wings’ defence has failed to gel, leaving fans wondering where the next Niklas Lindstrom or Chris Chelios is going to come from.
They may discover the answer to that question next season, with German international ‘D’ man Moritz Seider expected to make the step up from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.
At 6-foot-4 and over 200 pounds Seider is undoubtedly a big unit, but there is plenty more to his game than just size.
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The 19-year-old should see plenty of ice time next season and that will only serve to aid his development as the strives to establish himself in the NHL.
The ‘franchise’ line
Forwards Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha have given Red Wings fans hope that the franchise can climb the standings once again.
Injuries to Mantha disrupted the line during the 2019/20 campaign, but the trio showed plenty of positive chemistry on the occasions they played together.
There is a really nice balance between the players, with each of them bringing a wide range of attributes to the table.
If they can all stay healthy next season the Red Wings will have at least one forward line that should cause major damage in the NHL.