After a strong start to the year, it now looks as though the Detroit Red Wings will end up picking in the top ten in the NHL Draft yet again.
In the first half of the season, things were looking up for Detroit. Members of the core were playing extremely well – Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi were both playing some of the best hockey of their careers. In net, newly acquired Alex Nedeljkovic looked extremely solid, even stealing a couple of games early on. The Wings two rookies, Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider, were playing like Calder winners (you could argue that both still are).
Taking advantage of an easy schedule, Detroit hovered just above .500 for a long stretch, notching impressive wins along the way. In fact, the Red Wings were even in a wildcard spot for some time (although this was in large part due to playing more games than the opposition). For some time, it seemed as though the Wings 2022 draft pick would end up somewhere in the middle of the draft, and the rebuild had taken its next step.
However, the wheels have officially fallen off. The Red Wings are 2-8 in their last ten, with losses against some of the worst teams in the league. Any outside hope at a playoff berth has been long dead. The Wings were sellers again at the deadline, shipping off Vladislav Namestnikov for scraps, and trading away Troy Stecher and Nick Leddy.
Most fans knew that playoffs or a sudden turnaround were unlikely this season, but the recent play of the team has confirmed that belief. With 59 points, the Red Wings are a bottom ten team in the league. And with a thinner roster and a tough schedule ahead, things will probably get worse before they get better.
The good news? The Red Wings will likely have another pick in the top ten. Sure, Detroit doesn’t have a great track record in the NHL lottery, but the team will probably continue to fall down the standings. With borderline AHL players like Taro Hirose and Chase Pearson appearing on the squad, it’s hard to have confidence that the team will turn it around.
It looks as though fans will have to be patient again. Sure, it’s disappointing the Wings couldn’t keep up after such a solid start, but sifting through draft big boards should help ease the pain, especially considering Detroit will have another crack at the top ten.