In all likelihood the Red Wings again are going to be in the NHL draft lottery.
Once they are there, their odds of landing the No.1 pick overall are going to be a little different.
The NHL’s Board of Governors has approved changes to the system, which will take effect over the next two years. That means the team with the worst record in the league can pick no worse than third overall.
Beginning this year, only the top two spots in the draft will be determined by the lottery — a reduction from three.
And beginning in 2022, a team can only move up a maximum of 10 spots in the lottery — making 11 of the 16 teams that miss the playoffs eligible for the first overall pick.
Also starting with the 2022 draft, a team can win the lottery no more than twice in a five-year span.
The Red Wings not winning the lottery last season was a key reason for the changes.
The Wings were last in the NHL by 23 points — and yet dropped to fourth in the lottery, with the New York Rangers — who qualified for the Return To Play play-in round — winning the lottery and drafting first overall. Many in the NHL felt the odds should favor the teams with the worst records that season.
The Wings have actually dropped in the lottery – in relation to where they finished in the standings – the last four years.
Entering Tuesday’s games, the Wings rank 29th (out of 31 teams) in points (24) and 28th in points percentage (.375).
The NHL Entry Draft is tentatively set for July 23-24, although there has been speculation about pushing it back due to many junior leagues having little or no season because of the pandemic.
There is no date set for the lottery.
It’s hardly a playoff push.
But if the Wings have any realistic hope of moving upward in the standings, this is the week to do it.
The Wings (24 points) play Nashville (29) and Columbus (33), both in two-game series. The way the Wings have played lately, they should have reasonable expectations of earning points.
It gets much tougher next week, as the Wings embark on a week-long road trip to Florida, playing heavyweights Tampa and Florida.
“We have opportunities here with teams above us that we think we can close the gap on, so let’s make sure we’re doing that,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “But the first and foremost thing is to make sure that we’re focused on a good process. But certainly as a group, we don’t want to be at the bottom of the standings. We want to claw our way up the standings, and so we’ve got the opportunity to go down to Nashville and do that.”
What has given the Wings hope of turning around a season, to an extent, is their play defensively and controlling the puck.
During the just-completed 3-2-1 six-game homestand, against quality teams Tampa, Carolina and Dallas, the Wings, generally, played the way they need to, to be successful.
“As it went along, we played better and better defensively,” Blashill said. “As it went along, we played faster and we managed the puck better. Those three things are real important.
“We’ve got to manage the puck, and when you manage it and you execute, you play faster out of your end and faster in the neutral zone, and you have to defend well to have a chance to win.”
The Wings’ minor league affiliate Grand Rapids signed defenseman Patrick Holway and forward Albin Grewe to amateur tryouts.
Holway, 24, was a 2015 sixth-round pick of the Wings. Holway (6-foot-5, 220-pounds) played the last two seasons at Merrimack College, and finished this past season with nine points (three goals, six assists) in 18 games. Holway played his first seasons at Maine, and had 51 points (16 goals, 35 assists) in 101 college games, with 84 penalty minutes.
Grewe, 20, was a 2019 third-round draft pick. He signed to play in Saginaw (OHL) this season but the pandemic has delayed the OHL season.
So, Grewe has stayed in Sweden and played for Djurgardens, with six points (three goals, three assists), and 29 penalty minutes in 39 games.
The development of Grewe (6-foot, 176-pounds) will be interesting to watch. He is the type of player that could quickly become a fan favorite, playing with a physical, and agitating, edge.