from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Many are predicting the Red Wings, who finished 28th overall with 74 points, to be even worse in Steve Yzerman’s first season as general manager. Some might argue if they’re not going to make the playoffs, they’re better off finishing at or near the bottom for a higher draft pick.
But it’s also important for the young core to experience some success, for the team to take a significant step. Even a 10-point improvement over 2018-19 would show the rebuild is on track.
Here are five ways the Red Wings can be better in 2019-20:
A productive second line
The Red Wings know what they're going to get from their top line of Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi. The unit was dominant at the end of last season and should produce again (otherwise this team will be in worse shape than anyone could imagine). That's assuming good health; Larkin was hurt in practice Tuesday and the severity of the injury not immediately clear.
A dangerous second line would help the top unit, so teams can’t focus entirely on containing the Larkin line. Andreas Athanasiou took a significant step by scoring 30 goals. Taro Hirose is a smooth facilitator with a knack for picking up points and should work well with Athanasiou. Valtteri Filppula will get the first crack at centering the line but if he’s not effective, Frans Nielsen will take over. The biggest issue with this line is a lack of grit, nobody to really win tough battles in the hard areas in the corner and around the net.