With Christmas just around the corner, everyone has their wish lists for Santa. It seems fitting to look at what the Detroit Red Wings should be wishing for heading into the holiday season. So far this season, they have placed themselves in a good spot to make a push for a playoff spot if their solid play can continue.
But there is always more for people and teams alike to wish for. So, what should the Red Wings be wishing for this Christmas?
Continued Solid Play From Alex Lyon
Coming into the season, head coach Derek Lalonde and general manager Steve Yzerman decided to keep three goalies on the roster after signing James Reimer and Alex Lyon in the offseason. The hope was that one of these two could fill the backup role behind Ville Husso, who the team also hoped would have a bounce-back season.
Lalonde rode with Husso and Reimer to start the season and got mixed results from both netminders. While Husso’s numbers don’t jump off the sheet as being “bad”, his play has been inconsistent as the number one goalie for the team. Reimer came into the season looking to bounce back from last season’s letdown with the San Jose Sharks. He started on a good note with a shutout in his first start but has also looked shaky at times. This has led to many fans scratching their head at some of his play lately. Many view that the play of these two goaltenders is holding the team back from being more successful.
But the forgotten man, Lyon, who signed a two-year deal in the offseason, finally got his chance to play when Husso was not with the team in Sweden. He has easily looked like the team’s most consistent goalie, albeit with a smaller sample size than the other two. His play in the net seems to have given the team in front of him more confidence. Will Lyon supplant Husso as the team’s number-one goalie? Maybe not, but the prospect of having a solid enough backup to fill in when the starter is struggling is a massively welcomed proposition for the team and its fans.
If Lyon can continue his solid play when called upon, he could become a driving force for the team to make the season-long push for a playoff spot.
Michael Rasmussen to Get Going
Coming into the season Michael Rasmussen was another player that the organization had hoped could have a solid season. But in Rasmussen’s case, the hope was that he could take the next step into becoming a full-time top-six forward in the lineup.
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So far, he has not been able to get his offensive game going to the degree that many hoped he would and has been pushed down the lineup as of late. If he can get himself going in the offensive zone and build off his game that is more of a gritty, grind-it-out kind of player who excels on the forecheck and penalty kill, then he could add even more scoring and offensive depth to the Red Wings lineup. He, like Lyon, could end up being a vital cog in a playoff push for the Red Wings.
Avoid the Injury Bug
Over the last few seasons, the Red Wings have fought the injury bug quite a bit, leading to some hindrance to the team’s success. But so far this season they have been able to keep that at bay and it has shown with the continuity and chemistry built with the players early on. It has also helped keep a steady lineup on the ice. Outside of Robby Fabbri missing time with an injury, the team has for the most part been able to keep their guys healthy and on the ice.
Suppose they can continue to keep the injury bug away from the team as much as possible (every team goes through it), especially when the “dog days” of the season hit. In that case, there is no reason that they can not position themselves as a playoff team come the end of the season.
A Return to “Showtime”
The newest acquisition by Yzerman has seemed to bring the most excitement and hype in the league, with Patrick Kane making his way to the Motor City as a Red Wing. Coming off a hip surgery that had kept him on the shelf until signing with the Red Wings on Nov. 29, there is some skepticism that he will get back to the player that he previously was, but fans do not seem to shy away from the high hopes and wishes.
If the man known as “Showtime” can be remotely close to the player he was who has earned him praise as one of, if not the best American-born players in the league, then this deal will be a massive win for the team. Mixed in is the fact that the chemistry and history that he and Alex DeBrincat have together from their time in Chicago could work wonders for the team. If he can stay healthy and perform, the acquisition could help propel the Red Wings into a playoff spot.
A Playoff Spot
The recurring word so far has been “playoffs”, which the Red Wings have not been able to get to since the 2015-16 season. Fans had gotten used to being one of the teams that had the chance to win the Stanley Cup for 25 consecutive seasons before this dry spell. While there have been many attempts to build a playoff team over the last seven seasons, Yzerman may have finally found the right combination to do so.
With the newest acquisitions this offseason (i.e. Alex DeBrincat, JT Compher), and the development and bounce-back seasons of a few players, there is plenty of hope and “wishes” that the Red Wings could finally find themselves back in the playoffs. If the team can build off of their early season success, stay healthy, and get some luck from other teams around them, they may finally give their fans a chance to see an NHL playoff game at Little Caesars Arena.
So Far, the Red Wings Are On the “Good” List
So far on the season, the Red Wings have been a solid team. Both as an entire team and individually there has been plenty for fans to be excited about and to be deemed as making “Santa’s Good List”, so hopefully at least one of these Christmas wishlist items can come true.