Go through the gallery above to view Ted Kulfan’s midseason grades for the 2021-22 Detroit Red Wings. Click here if you’re having trouble viewing the gallery.
Detroit — Take a look at the standings as the Red Wings reach the halfway mark in the schedule.
It’s all right to do so. Unlike the last several seasons, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. You won’t have a look of horror and pain.
Very likely, you’ll smile. Gasp, even.
The Red Wings are 18-17-5 through 40 games and can do no worse than being a .500 team at the exact halfway marker.
Now, most everyone expected some semblance of improvement this season. The mix of all that young talent arriving, and maturing, was expected to produce benefits at some point of the rebuild.
But to do it to this extent the first half of a busy, COVID-filled, wacky schedule has been impressive.
In fact, it’s entirely admissible to talk playoffs.
Now, the Wings are five points behind Boston (46-41), and the Bruins have played four fewer games. The Bruins also have a decidedly better win percentage (.639 to .512).
But given how unexpected this first half has been for the Wings, why not dream?
“We’re pleased with some of the progress we’ve made this season,” general manager Steve Yzerman said recently of how the first half has gone.
For good reason. Compared to where this organization was two seasons ago, this has been an amazing transformation.
Let’s assess each player based on performance and expectations heading into this season, as the Wings reach the halfway mark in the schedule.