Red Wings Opinion: 3 Wishes for the Second Half of Hockey

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It’s no question that at times the 2020-21 Detroit Red Wings season has been an up and down rollercoaster. One moment they’re playing well–the next they’re getting blown out. But it’s one of those features of a rebuild–one never knows what to expect.

So with the season at the mid-way point, here are a few hopes as the season transitions into its second half for Detroit.

The Red Wings pick up value at the trade deadline

There’s no question that Detroit is going to be a seller at the deadline. But it’s a matter of just who goes and stays. A lot has to be weighed, as this will be one of the trickier trade deadlines with Covid protocols and financial ramifications influencing any potential deals. Detroit is flush with cap space next season, as a number of deals fall off and short term contracts dot Steve Yzerman’s roster.  It’s probably still a good two seasons before the Red Wings are even sniffing a playoff spot so anything Yzerman can acquire–be it picks or prospects–will be welcomed as they stockpile for the future.

The Progression of the Core

Anthony Mantha, Dylan Larkin, Filip Zadina, and Tyler Bertuzzi are the core of which the Red Wings are building around. Mantha seems to be rounding back into form. Larkin has two goals in as many games following some nights off with injury. Zadina continues to impress, becoming a stronger two-way player whose points continue to rise. Bertuzzi, though hurt, is still one of the team’s leading goal scorers while not playing in over a month and a half.

Aside from the latter, it’s imperative that growth and momentum are on display as the Wings close out the second half of the season. A more potent power play has been a great start. Seeing the continued production from the core only solidifies the future as help arrives in the way of Moritz Seider, and other touted prospects.

Keeping Games close while not sacrificing draft position

This is the real tightrope to walk: staying in games and being competitive while still sitting pretty in the lottery. It’s no secret that Detroit has been on the wrong end of draft luck. It’s also no secret that Detroit has been particularly bad the last three seasons–full of long losing streaks, blowout losses, and a number of really trying lineup decisions. Last night’s 6-4 victory over Tampa Bay was fun in the fact that the Red Wings scored six goals. Scoring hasn’t been easy to come by and the high scoring harkened back to a time where fans expected these performances instead of hoping.

And one more thing: please play the kids more. It’s time to really assess who can stick and be part of the future instead of seeing the tired returns from veterans who will be out in a year or two.

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