The Detroit Red Wings have played 45 games so far and have found themselves on a roller coaster type of season. They currently sit tied for fourth in the Atlantic Division with the Tampa Bay Lightning and are in the mix for a potential playoff spot come the end of the season.
At the beginning of the season, I made a handful of bold predictions for the team as a whole and for a couple of individual players as well. How have these predictions shaped out with the team being just past their halfway mark?
Alex DeBrincat Tops 50 Goals, 100 Points
To begin the season it looked like this prediction had a really good chance of coming true with the Red Wings’ biggest offseason acquisition Alex DeBrincat starting on fire. In his first ten games as a Red Wing, he tallied nine goals and 13 total points while helping lead one of the league’s best power plays (third in the league up to the Oct. 30 mark).
But as the calendar turned to November and into December, DeBrincat seemed to hit a rough patch and only tallied seven points in his next ten games and found himself sitting as the team’s fifth-highest point-scorer followed by only six points from the beginning of December until the middle mark of the month. With his offensive production suffering, it also reflected upon the team’s success as well. Over the middle 20 games of the season so far, the Red Wings went 9-8-3 and the power play also found itself struggling.
DeBrincat ended the 2023 calendar year on a high note with 12 points in his final 10 games and reunited with former Chicago Blackhawk teammate Patrick Kane. But as soon as he got back on track, the wheels have seemingly fallen back off the tracks as of late. With Kane being out with an injury, DeBrincat has struggled to get his offensive game going once again. In his last five games, he has only tallied two assists.
This prediction still has a slim chance of coming true if DeBrincat can catch fire once again here soon but will most likely not come to fruition. As of this writing, he has 17 goals, 23 assists, and 40 total points while playing in all 45 games this season for the Red Wings.
Alex Lyon Ends the Season as the No. 2 Goalie
Opposite of the prediction tied to DeBrincat, this prediction started not looking the greatest as Alex Lyon did not find himself in the crease for the Red Wings until 17 games into the season. Another offseason acquisition made by general manager Steve Yzerman, Lyon waited his turn to take over the crease and has been able to take advantage of the fact that Ville Husso has been out with an injury as of late and James Reimer struggled to begin the season and has taken the reins as the team’s starter.
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Even if it is just temporary until Husso returns, Lyon has looked every bit the goalie who helped lead the Florida Panthers into the playoffs last season. This prediction has all the makings to become a reality depending on what Yzerman plans on doing at the trade deadline with having three goalies. There could very easily be a market for at least one of the three, but with Lyon being on a two-year contract Yzerman could look to hang on to him and move Reimer or possibly Husso.
Red Wings Make the Playoffs
With the team not making the playoffs since 2016, Yzerman took over a roster that was in much need of revamping when he returned to the organization as its general manager. This season is quite possibly the closest the team has been to making the playoffs since he has returned, thanks in part to the players that he has added to the roster including Shayne Gostisbehere, and Daniel Sprong among others.
The Red Wings currently find themselves fighting and jockeying back-and-forth between third place in the Atlantic and a wild card spot and will likely continue to do so as the season treks on. The biggest factor with this prediction coming true comes down to the fact that the team has one of the league’s toughest schedules to finish out the regular season.
For the playoff drought to end, they will need players like DeBrincat to get back on track, and Lyon to help hold down the fort in net whether it be as the full-time starter or splitting time with Husso once he returns. Other factors include having Kane return from injury and regain his form to help make a push to the postseason, and who Yzerman decides to keep on the roster come the trade deadline with a few players likely having a market for them from other teams.
Exciting Rest of the Season
If the Red Wings can continue to play the way they have as of late, they should be able to get themselves into the playoffs come the end of the regular season and finally play playoff hockey in Detroit once again. Mixed in with the aforementioned predictions, the rest of the 2023-24 regular season could end up becoming an exciting one for Red Wings fans.