As the holiday season sweeps over the motor city, the Detroit Red Wings and their fans are anything but jolly. The team is dead last in the NHL. They aren’t scoring, and they can’t seem to keep the puck out of their own net. Like any adolescent, the Red Wings’ Christmas list is extensive.
Unfortunately, Santa’s sleigh can only hold so much. Despite general manager Steve Yzerman’s proactive nature, the things the team needs won’t be provided in one single night. (from ‘Pat Caputo – Steve Yzerman task even more challenging,’ The Oakland Press, 12/04/2019) Instead, a couple little “gifts” here and there will go a long way to ensuring fans get some enjoyment out of this season.
Productivity from Their Tradable Assets
With the future of players like Mike Green and Andreas Athanasiou in question, it will only help the club if they and everyone else on the team’s trading block picks up the scoring pace down the stretch. Green and Athanasiou combine for a total of six goals, with Athanasiou having five of them. This marks a record-low mark for Green, a 15-year veteran.
Receiving an offensive spark from these players would not only increase the likelihood of a rare victory for the Red Wings, but it would also boost each player’s trade value. A player like Athanasiou should fetch a pretty penny on the market, but his value is currently at an all-time low. For the sake of the rebuild, the Red Wings need more production!
The team’s recent acquisition of Eric Comrie from the Arizona Coyotes is an intriguing one. Coupled with the move to send prospect Filip Larsson from the American Hockey League to the ECHL, it appears that Yzerman is looking to inject some young talent between the pipes as well.
The injured Jimmy Howard and current starter Jonathan Bernier are both in the midst of their worst statistical seasons. Despite a lack of support from the Red Wings’ defense, the team has yet to receive a game-stealing performance from one of their men in masks. Perhaps Comrie comes in as a sleeping tiger of sorts?
More Prime Time for Zadina
The Red Wings’ top prospect Filip Zadina hasn’t looked out of place in the NHL this season. In six games, the winger has two assists while being the primary scoring option on an impotent third line. His presence on the team’s top power-play unit (more on that later) represents a glimpse into the future.
The 20-year-old looks to be more of an offensive catalyst this year instead of a pure finisher like he was last year. This is the exact type of player the Red Wings and their fans are hoping the sixth overall selection of the 2018 entry draft becomes. The only way to truly see what he can do is to put him on an offensively-inclined line and see what happens…
More Ticket Deals
On the business side of things, the Red Wings aren’t the draw they once were. With the team snug in the basement of the league, the chances of seeing a competitive hockey game at Little Caesars Arena (LCA) are becoming slimmer and slimmer this season. It’s hard to convince fans to fork over money for tickets under those conditions.
The team has had several ticket promotions over the first few months of the season. The team did a “buy one, get one” deal over Black Friday weekend and into Cyber Monday. With television audiences getting a healthy viewing of the black seats at LCA, the team will do well to come up with more promotions like this to put bodies in seats.
“Special” Special Teams
Simply put: the Red Wings’ special teams have been atrocious. Their power-play is ranked 26th, while the penalty-kill is ranked 31st. This speaks to the team’s overall struggles at both ends of the ice.
Perhaps the team needs to change the coaches running the show here. Perhaps the problem is rooted in the team’s overall lack of talent. One thing is for certain: the team won’t win many games with special teams that are regularly outclassed.
The Top Pick in the Draft
This is the top item on the list – written in sharpie and highlighted for good measure. If none of these other items on the list come to be, finding this in the Red Wings’ possession in April will make it all worth it.
The top-ranked prospect in the 2020 draft is forward Alexis Lafrenière, and he looks to be an absolute stud.
He’s not going to bring a team back from the dead by himself, but he’s certainly a franchise-altering talent. With a top defensive prospect in Moritz Seider marinating in the AHL, the Red Wings would be elated to add Lafrenière to their pool of young talent.
- Dylan Larkin scores his 100th career goal in front of the fans at LCA.
- Anthony Mantha returns from injury and still manages to score 30.
- Robby Fabbri commits to the Red Wings, likely on a short-term deal.
- Frans Nielsen posts a double-digit point total (only half kidding here.)
- A nine-game audition from Seider, probably around the trade deadline.
- Seriously, some wins would be fun.
I am a Western Michigan University alum whose passion for hockey knows no limits. Dr. Pepper enthusiast. Catch me and my fellow Red Wings writers’ YouTube show “The Hockey Writers Grind Line” which drops every Saturday.