With the Detroit Red Wings’ 2020-21 season now in the books, the focus now shifts to the offseason and all the decisions that general manager Steve Yzerman has in front of him, starting with the team’s head coach. With his decision now final, let’s take the opportunity to recap this decision, as well as other news and factors that will affect his decision-making over the course of the next few months.
Red Wings Extend Jeff Blashill
The Detroit Red Wings announced that they have signed head coach Jeff Blashill to a contract extension to remain the head coach of the team.
Over six seasons as the team’s head coach, Blashill has a record of 172-221-62. He was the man behind the bench during the Red Wings’ last trip to the postseason during the 2015-16 campaign, and is the third-longest tenured coach in the NHL. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic said on The Athletic Hockey Show that deal carries a two-year term.
Blashill has become a very unpopular figure in Detroit sports during his tenure. On this site alone, at least two articles were written about the Red Wings needing a new voice behind the bench. GM Yzerman has sung the coach’s praises since he arrived, however, and this move likely isn’t a surprise for some. While there’s no doubt that the team made significant progress this season under Blash, it is because of the regression during the 2019-20 season that that progress had to be made.
What do you think, Hockeytown? How do you feel about Blashill returning?
Red Wings 2020-21 Season Recap
The Red Wings finished this season with a record of 19-27-10 for a point total of 48. They finished seventh in the division, ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets, although they had the same amount of points. Against their seven opponents in the Discover Central Division, they recorded the following records:
vs. Carolina Hurricanes: 4-4
vs. Chicago Blackhawks: 2-5-1
vs. Columbus Blue Jackets: 4-2-2
vs. Dallas Stars: 2-3-3
vs. Florida Panthers: 2-4-2
vs. Nashville Predators: 2-5-1
vs. Tampa Bay Lightning: 3-4-1
The Red Wings’ points leader was defenseman Filip Hronek, who recorded 26 points while playing in all 56 games this season. The Red Wings’ leading goal-scorer was winger Adam Erne who had 11 goals through 45 games this season. Jonathan Bernier led the Red Wings in goaltending wins (nine) and save-percentage (.914), while newcomer Thomas Greiss led the team in goals against average (2.70) and shutouts (two).
THW’s Tony Wolak released an excellent piece detailing the many ways that the Red Wings made improvements over the 2019-20 season, and you should definitely check that out for a deeper analysis on this season. All things considered, this was a season of growth on an individual and team basis, and that bodes well for the Red Wings moving forward.
Moritz Seider, Rögle BK Fall Short
Defenseman Moritz Seider, the Red Wings’ top pick in the 2019 draft, completed his season over in the SHL as Rögle BK fell short in the championship round, losing the series to Vaxjo in five games. The scene was understandably upsetting as most of Rögle’s skaters sat or stood on the ice and watched as their opponents celebrated their victory. And yet, in the middle of all of that, there was Seider trying to be the ultimate teammate:
Seider was awarded the EliteProspects Award, awarded to the SHL’s top junior player, towards the end of April. He had 28 points in 41 games this season with Rögle, and he followed that up with five points through 13 playoff games. After a dominant performance in the SHL this season, all signs point to the NHL next season. The young German defender should be on the shortlist of players expected to make a run at the Calder Trophy next season as the NHL’s top rookie.
- The Red Wings’ first round selection will carry the sixth-best odds to win the top spot in the draft. Overall, their pick has a 15.3 percent chance of landing in the top two. If nobody jumps ahead of them, they will pick sixth overall for the third time in the last four drafts.
- Both Mathias Bromé and Christian Djoos have signed deals to play in the Swiss league next season. Bromé will be playing with HC Davos; Djoos will be playing with Zug.
- Frank Seravalli reported that former Red Wing Justin Abdelkader will be joining Team USA ahead of the IIHF Worlds Tournament.
As the tweet highlights, Abdelkader played in the Swiss league this season after the Red Wings bought him out of his deal prior to the 2020-21 season. He had eight points in nine games, excelling against lesser competition than the NHL has to offer. His hope is that a strong showing at the IIHF tournament could provoke a NHL team to giving him a look ahead of next season.
- Speaking of the IIHF tournament, it appears that Filip Zadina and Filip Hronek are having fun….
- The Red Wings officially nominated defenseman Danny DeKeyser as the team’s nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is awarded annually to the player that best exemplifies sportsmanship and dedication to the game of hockey.
After fighting through a back injury/surgery that kept him out of most of the 2019-20 season, DeKeyser returned this season and, despite a few hiccups here and there, fought through it and played in a majority of the team’s games this season. He had 12 points in 47 games this season, and he stated after the Red Wings’ final game this season that he was entering the offseason completely healthy.
- Bally Sports Detroit had an interview with Yzerman where they discusses a wide variety of topics pertaining to the Red Wings and their rebuild. You can check out the video here:
- Tony Wolak released his latest Red Wings expansion draft projections, which saw Detroit lose a forward to the Seattle Kraken.
- Devin Little made the case that the Red Wings’ rebuild is right on track.
- Pat Brown highlighted the benefits of adding Richard Panik in the Anthony Mantha trade.
- Don’t miss the latest Red Wings Wednesday Weekly!
- The Grind Line debated Dylan Larkin’s successes and failures in his first season as the Red Wings’ captain.
- Be sure to catch the next episode of The Hockey Writers’ Grind Line! Watch our latest episode down below.