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Offseason Outlook: Detroit Red Wings

2019-07-08

2018-19 Grade: F (Last year: D)

Is there a grade worse than F? Because the Red Wings deserve it for the disaster that was 2018-19. Detroit jettisoned anyone with talent in order to maximize their chances to select Jack Hughes in the draft. Unfortunately, luck was not on their side, as Detroit did not win a single lottery and ended up picking 4th overall. Woof.

Studs:

No one. No one on Detroit deserves mentioning here.

Duds:

There isn’t enough space in this short article to list the entire Detroit depth chart, so I’ll keep it short by saying this team sucked this year.

Keys to Success:

1.    Sign-and-trade

The Red Wings have a ton of cap space now and in the future, and very little in terms of talent on the way. With the ability to retain on 3 contracts, Detroit would be wise to sign some big fish this summer and flip them to contenders for picks.

2.    Patience

This team is going to be bad for a while. Detroit’s fan base is better served hopping on another team’s bandwagon for a couple seasons as their Red Wings stockpile picks and prospects. The only thing the Red Wings faithful have to look forward to is top-5 draft picks for the next 3-4 years.

3.    Draft Picks

The draft is the easiest way to inject talent into an organization. With a few valuable players still on the roster, the Red Wings have the opportunity to stockpile some picks for the 2020 draft and reinfuse their cupboards with talent. 

Top 3 Prospects:

Kirby Dach – Taken with the 3rd pick in the 2019 NHL draft by Chicago, Dach projects to be the impact centre Detroit sorely needs. Dach, 6’4”, is a highly-skilled two-way centre with exceptional hockey sense who is surprisingly shifty, despite his hulking stature. Projected DCHL Arrival: 2021-22

Lias Andersson – Andersson’s second season in North America was a bit of a step back, but the young Swede is still a high-calibre prospect. Andersson struggled to produce at the NHL level, mustering 2 goals and 6 points in 42 games while averaging a little over 10 minutes per night. The former 7th overall pick is a dark-horse candidate for a major breakout this year. Projected DCHL Arrival: 2020-21

Nolan Foote – Detroit’s second pick in the first round of the DCHL draft, Foote immediately becomes their second-best prospect. The younger son of Avalanche Legend Adam Foote has the skill, size, and pedigree to be a solid NHL player. Fun fact: both of Foote’s boys were drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Projected DCHL Arrival: 2022-23

2018-19 Outlook:

The Red Wings endured a very tough year in 2018-19, and things are not going to improve much this year. Despite the imminent dark times, the Red Wings have a quality pieces to build around. Kirby Dach and Lias Andersson project to be a formidable 1-2 punch, and Joonas Korpisalo appears to be getting his shot as a starter. The 2023-24 Red Wings project to be a tough team to play against.