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Home Arena: Little Caesars Arena – Detroit, MI., 19,515 capacity
Championships: Stanley Cups: 11, President’s Trophies: 6, Conference titles: 6, Division titles: 19
Owner: Ilitch Holdings
General Manager: Steve Yzerman
Head Coach: Jeff Blashill
Team Captain: Vacant
To say the Detroit Red Wings struggled last season would be an understatement. Young players still learning and veterans past their prime aside, the Red Wings couldn’t catch any breaks as they also found themselves plagued by injury the entirety of the 2019 season. The team finished in the bottom ten of the league in goals scored, combining for only 224 as a team – 209 of those coming at even strength. Detroit also ranked 19th in the league on the power play with only a 18.06 percent success rate. The Red Wings struggled to put the puck on net in general, finishing at 26th in the league for shots taken.
Heading into 2020, there are some glimmers of hope offensively for the Red Wings. Dylan Larkin seems to be stepping up as a new team leader. Tyler Bertuzzi is appearing as a new consistent force for the club, and Andreas Athanasiou reached the 30-goal mark. The Red Wings also had a deep draft (even if their first-round selection of Moritz Seider was criticized). In total Detroit made 11 selections in the entry draft. The biggest acquisition of the offseason was that of former team captain being hired on as the team’s new general manager. After being at the forefront of the Tampa Bay Lightning rebuild, Yzerman hopes to do the same with Detroit – which explains why there was more focus on the draft than free agency. Patrik Nemeth, Calvin Pickard, and Valteri Filppula were the only free agents signed. The team also recently added forward Adam Erne from the Tampa Bay Lightning in a trade. There are some positives to look forward to but heading into the 2020 season, it’s safe to say that Detroit’s rebuild is still strongly in the early phase.
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Detroit’s 2019 woes continued on the blue line. Finishing with the fifth-worst ranking in goals against, the Red Wings allowed a combined 272 goals last season. The team also had the fourth-worst penalty kill in the entire league with a kill percentage of just 77.14 percent. They allowed a combined 56 power-play goals against. The team also allowed the fourth-most shots against and rounded out the bottom-ten in the league for combined save percentage. Defenseman Mike Green was limited to only 46 games last season, Danny DeKeyser was limited to 52 games, and Trevor Daley played in only 44 games – all due to injuries.
One positive right off the bat is that the entirety of Detroit’s defense core will be coming into next season healthy. Should they remain healthy, it is expected that Green and DeKeyser will lead the way as the first pairing but it is also likely that Green could be moved at next season’s trade deadline should the Red Wings fall out of contention as he becomes an unrestricted free agent at the season’s end. The young pairing of Nemeth and Filip Hronek should be interesting to watch. Nemeth joined the club as a free agent after playing in Colorado and is a heavy hitter. With him is expected to be Hronek who was a shining light for Detroit through the tail end of the season. He was later named top defenseman in the IIHF World. Ultimately, it’s all about staying healthy as the defense looks poised to head in the right direction, with prospects like first-rounder Seider waiting in the wings.
Goaltending was an Achilles heel last season for the club as Jimmy Howard, a usually consistent and reliable goalie, put up career-low goals-against average last season of 3.07. He went 23-22-5 and had a save percentage of .909 with zero shutouts. His back up, Jonathan Bernier, struggled even more than Howard between the pipes, posting a 9-18-5 record with a GAA of 3.16 and a .904 save percentage. However, he did manage one shutout.
Unfortunately for the Red Wings, they will be heading into next season with the same goaltending duo. After rumors that he would be leaving the team, Howard signed a new deal with Detroit and will be sticking around for at least one more year. Part of that reason was because of the unreliability of Bernier – they just couldn’t let Howard go. The pickup of Calvin Pickard is an interesting one. Pickard hasn’t seen much action since his days in Colorado back in 2016 so it’s a safe bet that he and Bernier will be battling for the backup position and safe to say that Howard will be coming in as the number one tender for the team.
This will definitely be the year to watch defenseman Filip Hronek. The 21-year-old defenseman finished his rookie season strong last year with 23 points and an average ice-time of 20 minutes per game in 46 games played at the NHL level. Hronek was given his chance due to the team’s accumulated injuries, and although he had some down moments, Hronek saw a late surge and even saw his ice-time go as high as 27 minutes in some cases. The Czech defender was also named best defenseman of the IIHF World Championship tournament where he scored 11 points.
Oddsmakers aren’t expecting the Red Wings to pull off too much of anything in 2020. The O/U for their regular-season points total sits at only 74.5. They are a +525 to make the playoffs next season and a -835 to miss. They still sit with the second-worst odds of winning the 2020 Stanley Cup at +15,000.
|Sportsbook||Over 74.5||Under 74.5|
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