How good is this year’s version of the Red Wings?

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How good are the Detroit Red Wings?  This is a question many fans continue to ponder as the team is set to miss the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season.  Last year, in the pandemic shortened 56 game schedule, the Red Wings played in the Central Division.  Detroit finished 7th out of eight teams with a disappointing record of 19-27-10, eight games under .500.  The Red Wings had a goal differential of -44.

Prior to the NHL Trade Deadline, General Manager Steve Yzerman made several trades that were intended to help with the rebuild.  Defenseman Patrik Nemeth was traded to Colorado for a 4th round pick in the 2022 draft.  Defenseman Jon Merrill was traded to Montreal for a 5th round pick (Oscar Plandowski, D Charlottetown, QMJHL) in the 2021 draft, plus minor league forward Hayden Verbeek.  Anthony Mantha was traded to Washington for Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik, a 1st round pick (Sebastian Cossa) in 2021, and a 2nd round pick in 2022.

Vrana was a terrific addition to the Red Wings lineup.  He immediately replaced Mantha on the top line and promptly scored eight goals and 11 points in the final 11 games.  The Red Wings took on the $2.75M salary of Panik.  In 12 games, Panik scored one goal and four points.  Last summer, Panik was traded to the New York Islanders with a 2nd round pick in the 2021 draft for defenseman Nick Leddy.  Panik is currently playing for Bridgeport in the AHL.

Now let’s compare the 2020-21 roster to the roster the Red Wings have for the reaminder of this season.

Post Trade Deadline Roster 2021

Forwards

Jakub Vrana – Dylan Larkin – Bobby Ryan

Robby Fabbri – Frans Nielsen – Filip Zadina

Adam Erne – Michael Rasmussen – Luke Glendening

Darren Helm – Valtteri Filppula – Sam Gagner

Defensemen

Danny DeKeyser – Filip Hronek

Marc Staal – Troy Stecher

Christian Djoos – Gustav Lindstrom

Goaltenders

Thomas Greiss

Jonathan Bernier

Extras: Tyler Bertuzzi (IR), Vladislav Namestnikov, Richard Panik, Taro Hirose, Givani Smith, Yevgeni Svechnikov, Dennis Cholowski, Alex Biega, Mathias Brome, Joe Veleno

Post Trade Deadline Roster 2022

Forwards

Jakub Vrana – Dylan Larkin – Lucas Raymond

Robby Fabbri – Pius Suter – Tyler Bertuzzi

Filip Zadina – Michael Rasmussen – Oskar Sundqvist

Adam Erne – Joe Veleno – Sam Gagner

Defensemen

Jordan Oesterle – Moritz Seider

Marc Staal – Filip Hronek

Jake Walman – Gustav Lindstrom

Goaltenders

Thomas Greiss

Alex Nedeljkovic

Extras: Olli Juolevi, Chase Pearson, Taro Hirose, Carter Rowney, Mitchell Stephens, Danny DeKeyser, Givani Smith

Which Roster is Better?

During the summer, Detroit signed free agents Pius Suter, Carter Rowney, Mitchell Stephens, and Jordan Oesterle.  The Red Wings traded for Alex Nedeljkovic.  Rookies Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider graduated to the Red Wings after another season in Europe.

Prior to this year’s deadline, Yzerman traded Troy Stecher, Nick Leddy, and Vladislav Namesnikov.  In return for Stecher, the Red Wings received a 7th round pick in the 2022 draft.  Nick Leddy was traded with AHL Veteran Luke Witkowski.  In return, the Red Wings received forward Oskar Sundqvist, defenseman Jake Walman, and the Blues 2nd round pick in the 2023 draft.  Vladislav Namestnikov was traded to Dallas.  In return, the Red Wings received the Stars 4th round pick in the 2024 draft.

The Red Wings are currently 5th in the Atlantic Division with an improved record of 26-30-7, four games under .500. The Red Wings currently have a goals differential of -51.

Even though the Red Wings will once again miss the playoffs, they have been a much more entertaining team to watch this season.  They are currently five games over .500 at home compared to only one game over .500 at home last year.  The road woes continue for this year’s version of the Red Wings.  This year, the Red Wings are currently nine games under .500 on the road.  Last year, the Red Wings were also nine games under .500 on the road.

When looking at statistics alone, the Detroit Red Wings are a better team at home compared to last year, but the team continues to struggle when they are away from Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

Overall, Detroit’s roster is improved from last year and fans should be excited about the direction the team is headed.  The Yzerplan is in full motion and this summer looks like it might be another busy summer for our fierce leader.

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