The Detroit Red Wings made small strides this year at improving the on-ice product.
The disappointment of a slow re-build has been difficult for the Detroit fan base.
On the day of his announcement as General Manager, Steve Yzerman indicated that this rebuild was going to take some time and that there was no quick fix.
He was right.
While some improvements were evident, there certainly were moments of disappointment. Here are five samples:
No. 5: Punchless Brome
Mathias Brome was an undrafted 26-year-old forward who was signed by Yzerman last summer after completing his SHL contract with Orebro.
He scored 43 points in 52 games with Orebro and the Wings had nothing to lose in signing Brome to a one-year contract.
Brome’s hard work and tenacity did not translate to the NHL.
In 26 games, Brome only scored one goal and added one assist. He was a healthy scratch for most of the second half of the season, signaling an end to his tenure with the Red Wings.
Brome recently decided to head to Switzerland, signing a two-year contract with Davos.
No. 4: Ryan Goes Cold
Bobby Ryan started the season on fire, scoring four goals in his first three games as a Red Wing.
In his final 30 games, however, Ryan scored only three goals, before suffering a season-ending injury.
Yzerman will have a decision to make regarding Ryan’s future in Detroit.
Should Yzerman sign Ryan to another cap-friendly, one-year contract or should he let Ryan walk and use his spot for a younger player?
No. 3: Power Outage
Detroit’s power play was almost non-existent throughout most of the season.
The only team with a lower power-play success rate was Anaheim.
The Red Wings only scored 17 goals with the man-advantage.
Scoring at an 11.4 percent rate could be viewed as a disaster and probably the biggest reason why the Wings placed No. 27 out of the 31 teams in the standings.
No. 2: Bertuzzi’s Injury
Tyler Bertuzzi played nine games before an upper-body injury ended his season.
Before his injury, Bertuzzi scored five goals and added two assists.
The former all-star winger makes the players around him better. Dylan Larkin, at times, looked lost without his gritty linemate.
Bertuzzi is expected to be ready for training camp in September.
1: Missing the Playoffs
Red Wing fans were spoiled for over two decades. Reaching the playoffs for 25 consecutive years and capturing four Stanley Cups will do that to a fan base.
This historic run of success has been followed by continuous decline. For the past five seasons, the Red Wings have missed the playoffs.
Detroit fans have been patient with the Yzerplan and hopefully, success is just around the corner.
The 2021 version of the Red Wings was another season in futility.
Missing the playoffs once again confirms the rebuild is now in full stride. An improved power play, a healthy Bertuzzi, and several legitimate prospects added to the current roster should help the team move closer to respectability next season.