Max Bultman of The Athletic answers questions from the fans...
Given the fairly strong haul of free agents and potential impact of more young talent, how high should fans raise their expectations for this year? Is missing the playoffs a giant disappointment?
I thought this was a good follow-up to the previous question because the two are ultimately related. Even with all the additions, I still am entering the season expecting Detroit to miss the playoffs. So to me, no, that in itself would not be a disappointment. Especially with an impressive draft class waiting as a consolation prize.
That being said, if the team misses the playoffs because their young stars Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond hit sophomore slumps, veterans like Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi can’t maintain their performances from last season, and the big-ticket free agents like Copp and Chiarot fall short of expectations? That would be disappointing — and, ultimately, a much more worrying development long-term than just missing the playoffs.
I don’t expect those things to happen — and certainly not all of them — but if you’re judging what a successful or unsuccessful Red Wings season looks like, those are the top things I’m watching, with the readiness of Simon Edvinsson and Jonatan Berggren also part of that conversation.
Which of the following is most likely: Seider top-10 Norris finish, Raymond hits 75 points, Larkin hits 40-goal mark, Edvinsson top 3 in Calder voting?
I think it’s the Seider top-10 Norris finish, but I’m certainly not ruling out Raymond scoring in the 70s. The now-20-year-old Swede is so smart, skilled and savvy, and as he continues to develop physically, he’s going to be an offensive force for the Red Wings. I think he’ll be the team’s leading scorer within three seasons and maybe sooner.
But we’ve seen in recent years with players like Cale Makar, Adam Fox, Quinn Hughes and Miro Heiskanen that young defensemen can earn Norris consideration very quickly. And Seider could be joining their company as soon as next year. My tentative guess is Seider ends up somewhere between eighth and 15th on the Norris balloting in 2023, so I’m taking that one.