In Steve Yzermans’ first season as the Detroit Red Wings General Manager many were hoping that the results would be better. The Red Wings at the All Star Break are sitting in last place in the NHL with a 12-24-4 record, which is good for 28 points. The next closest team currently sits at 41 points. The Red Wings also sport a -90 goal differential which is the worst in the league by 43 goals. While this season is all but lost, there are some bright spots and some obvious needs of improvement going forward.
The best news for the Red Wings faithful is that the top three scorers currently on the team are under the age of 25. Tyler Bertuzzi, the lone All Star for Detroit, is tied for the team high in points with Dylan Larkin at 36 points. Larkin who is only 23 years old leads the team in assists at 23 and projects to be one of the main pieces the Red Wings can build around. Filip Hronek is the Red Wings top defenseman and is sitting third on the team with 26 points while only being 22 years old. The youth movement is in full effect in Detroit and while the team is struggling this season, there is hope to return to the playoffs in the next couple of season.
The biggest need of improvement on the Red Wings is goaltending. Jonathan Bernier is taking over for long time starter Jimmy Howard who is having one of the worst seasons of his career. The depth of goaltending in the organization is not quite there in the first year of Steve Yzermans’ reign as GM, but is definitely an area he will look to improve in the off season.
While the Red Wings are having one of the worst seasons in franchise history, there is no reason as of now to think they are on the wrong path. Everybody knew heading into this season they did not have the talent to compete for a playoff spot. If you look at the other major sports the newest tactic is tanking to jumpstart a rebuild. While I don’t think they are intentionally tanking, they will have the number one draft pick and if it hits, along with some free agent signings, I could see the Red Wings back in the playoffs where they belong in the next two seasons.