from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Improvement was minimal, but there was some progress in a rebuild that began at the 2017 trade deadline.
The Detroit Red Wings (35-36-10, 80 points) wrap up the season tonight in Tampa Bay, eying an opportunity to finish .500 in points percentage. They still lost many more games than they won, but it’s a mark that is important to them.
They’ll be looking to end a four-game skid (0-3-1) and at least head into the offseason on a positive note following Steve Yzerman’s fourth season as general manager and Derek Lalonde’s first as head coach.
Despite missing many key players for long stretches due to injuries and trading away others at the deadline, the Red Wings will finish with their highest point total since 2015-16, their most recent playoff season.
Here are 10 key questions heading into the offseason:
What are their biggest needs?
They need offense, ranking 23rd in goals per game (2.93). They could use a center, but will take a wing, too. It’s a need that might be fulfilled through trade because the free-agent market is thin. They also need a right-shooting defenseman who can play in their top six, and a backup goaltender. Alex Nedeljkovic had a good three-game run toward the end, but it might not have ben enough to convince Yzerman to re-sign him as Ville Husso’s backup.
The idea that the wings have a position of strength strong enough to trade from for high-end talent at other positions is just laughable. This team is still so damn thin it's still going to take years to get where they can trade players away. Holland drafted for years to keep the streak alive rather than to make the organization healthy. Taking players that he thought had high floors and low ceilings, but the most immediately translatable NHL skills. I think another 2 years before they make the playoffs and another 2 years after that before they have any reasonable. Hope of doing anything in them.
They're still 28-36-17 under the old NHL rules (no OT/SO). Not quite .500 but better than they have been since the last time they made the playoffs seven years ago. In that year, 2015-2016, they were 30-30-22 under the old NHL rules but 41-30-11 with 11 OT & SO wins and 11 OT & SO losses. This year we are 7 OT/SO wins and 10 OT/SO losses.
There is definite improvement this year. And next year, maybe four (4) more regulation wins, four (4) less regulation losses and a split OT/SO win/loss record which will give us about ten more points (in the 90s). This is doable if we can just avoid playing our AHL players all year.
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