The Detroit Red Wings snuck into the playoffs and were promptly bounced in the first round of the postseason for the third consecutive year. It was the 25 th consecutive season the Red Wings have made the playoffs.
Detroit has been treading water the past two years and yet did little to upgrade the roster this offseason. There are two significant issues facing the Red Wings. First, the veteran core is aging and no longer able to provide the heavy lifting. The second problem is the young talent. It's still a year or two away from playing a significant role on a contending team. With those factors at work, Detroit's long playoff streak could snap.
The Red Wings managed to contend for a postseason berth last year despite finishing 23rd in scoring offense (2.55 GPG) and 17th in scoring defense (2.67 GAA) last year. Those numbers might not get much better this season. Pavel Datsyuk, last year's second-leading scorer with 26 goals and 49 points, returned to play in his native Russia this offseason; while the defense is again lacking top-four quality talent outside of Alexey Marchenk.
2016-17 Detroit Red Wings Outlook
The Red Wings brought in Frans Nielsen and Thomas Vanek to replace the lost production of Datsyuk on the front line. Nielsen was a 50-point scorer (20 G, 32 A) with the Islanders last season, but at 32-years-old is on the downside of his career. Vanek was also solid last year, tallying 18 goals and 41 points with the Wild, but there seems even less in the tank of this former All Star who turns 34 in January. Any improvement from last year's lackluster attack will likely be minor at best.
No. 1 goalkeeper Petr Mrazek is the future between the pipes for Detroit despite enduring a late-season slump that left him largely stuck on the bench. But even with the late struggles, Mrazek still finished with solid numbers. He was 27-16-6 with a respectable 2.33 GAA and .921 save percentage. Improved consistency from Mrazek should provide a boost to what was one of the league's worst scoring defenses a a season ago.
2016-17 Detroit Red Wings Futures Odds
The Red Wings are +2500 to win the Stanley Cup. The Red Wings are the fourth choice at +700 to win the Atlantic Division and the +1200 sixth-choice to win the Eastern Conference. Detroit's "over/under" for points on the season is 85.
2016-17 Detroit Red Wings Schedule
The Red Wings will be tested early this season as the October slate is peppered with Stanley Cup contenders. First, they hit the road to take on the Lightning and Panthers. Then the ensuing two weeks includes tilts against the Predators and Sharks at home; the Rangers and Blues on the road; and the Panthers once more at home. Detroit should have a good idea where it stands early.
Detroit Red Wings 2016-17 Predictions
The Red Wings have been one of the most successful franchises in all of sports the past quarter-century. But that envious run could be halted, at least temporarily, in 2016-17. The production from the veterans took a significant drop last season, and that trend seems likely to continue. Consider this: Gustav Nyquist fell from 27 goals in 2014-15 to just 17 last year; Tomas Tatar fell from 29 to 21goals and first-line center Henrik Zetterberg had just 13 goals, down from 17 the prior year. In all, the Red Wings went from 235 goals in 2014-15 to just 209 last season. Yes, teenaged rookie Dylan Larkin is a budding star on the left wing, but in total this team just doesn't have the horses for much more than a low playoff seed and early postseason exit.
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