Believe it or not, the Detroit Red Wings are back in playoff conversation. But the brakes should be pumped just a bit, especially with a handful of games that are going to certainly push the rebuilding Red Wings, as seen in their loss to Colorado Wednesday night.
So, with the entire OT staff, do the Red Wings have a chance to make the playoffs in 2022-23?
The Detroit Red Wings will have a difficult time moving up into a Wild Card playoff spot in the difficult Eastern Conference. With several rookies replacing aging veterans in the lineup, the Red Wings are at least two years away from challenging for a spot in the playoffs.
By 2023-2024, Simon Edvinsson, Jonatan Berggren, Albert Johansson, and Jared McIsaac will likely be mainstays in the Detroit lineup. Even the 23/24 season may be difficult for the Red Wings. Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Alex Nedeljkovic can all be UFA’s after next season, and there are no guarantees that they will return to Detroit. Until this roster gets sorted out, the Red Wings will remain on the outside looking in.
I believe it is very likely that the Red Wings could be a playoff team next season. The way this team has started to take shape this year, especially with Larkin’s huge season, Seider, Raymond, and Ned joining the team, has proved that this team is doing a 360 from the last two seasons. Building up this core of young and strong talented players is making the Red Wings a genuine competitor for most teams and not just an easy win.
With the addition of superstar-esque prospects such as Edvinsson, Elmer Soderblom, Albert Johnasson, and even Jonatan Berggren; there is little to no doubt in my mind that Detroit could at least easily make it into the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Detroit seems to already be ahead of schedule this season. With a legit top line and what looks like a true number one defenseman (Seider), there are parts of this team that look truly playoff worthy. However, there are still some anchors on the team holding back a playoff berth. Next year, some of those anchors should be replaced.
The defense might be the biggest shakeup – there is a glut of defenseman in the pipeline (like Nate wrote about earlier this week), and some seem to be approaching the main roster (Albert Johansson, Simon Edvinsson). Based on how the team is performing now and the roster changes likely to happen by next season, I’d say there’s a good chance the Red Wings secure a playoff berth next season.
I do think the Red Wings will make the playoffs next season, and honestly, I’ll take it one
step further: I think they finish top 3 in the Atlantic Division. This season’s team has shown the
offensive capability without what is most likely going to be one of their highest producers in the
next couple years in Jakub Vrana.
The goaltending has been pretty great too, with Ned and now recently Griess playing lights out. All this team needs is better defense. They allow WAY too many shots on goal and WAY too many quality chances.
It’s hard to win games when you give up 5-7 goals, which we’ve seen the Wings do quite a few times this season. Personally, I think Steve can infuse some new players and create a good enough defense next season that the Wings will be back in the postseason come next Spring.
Yes, I’m going to bet that this team heads to the playoffs next year. I think it’s going to be a brief trip, but one that begins another long streak of playoff appearance and God willing a Stanley Cup or two.
Seider and Raymond have both hit and it sure looks like Soderblom, Johansson, and Edvinsson are candidates to make the next jump. Where it really gets interesting though is in Grand Rapids. Jared McIsaac, Jonatan Berggren, and Donovan Sebrango are also waiting in the Wings right across the state.
Plug in the right free agents or make some trades to add some punch and suddenly, Detroit is way ahead of where they should be. Another thing to keep an eye on: Florida, and Toronto are prime to stay on top of the Atlantic for awhile, but Boston and Tampa are going to be hit with aging players and cap limitations respectively. If there’s ever a chance for the Red Wings to sneak in, next season seems like a a real possibility.