The once proud Detroit Red Wings continued their rebuild this summer by making a major change in the front office. The Wings are still very much rebuilding and are far off from competing with teams like Tampa Bay and Boston.
The future does look bright for the Red Wings, however, and there will be some new faces to get to know on the roster this season.
What kind of changes did the Wings make this summer? Will they be a more competitive group in 2019-20? They are the focus of the second part of our Atlantic Division Report series.
General Manager Steve Yzerman: Steve Yzerman finally came home. After building an elite club in Tampa Bay, Yzerman returned to the Red Wings early in the spring to rebuild the team. Yzerman took over for Ken Holland, who eventually left for Edmonton. This hiring immediately improved a Detroit front office that had become stale.
F Valtteri Filppula: After a strong rebound season in New York, Filppula returns for a second stint in Detroit. A decent bet for third line minutes, Filppula will provide veteran leadership and some secondary scoring. He’s at the end of the road, however, and likely only has a season left.
F Adam Erne: Added via trade from Tampa Bay, Erne is a physical forward who has the ability to fill a depth role. That’s well and good, but he doesn’t provide much in the way of offense.
G Calvin Pickard: Will he see much NHL time? Very much up for debate, but Pickard is a solid AHL’er and could be a cheap option should the Wings move on from Jimmy Howard around the deadline.
D Niklas Kronwall: Kronwall retired earlier this week. He’ll be missed in the room, and his leadership on the ice will be a tough void to fill. Opponents won’t miss his thundering hits.
F Thomas Vanek: Still a free agent, Vanek scored 16 goals a season ago and proved that he is still a solid secondary scorer. The Wings could do worse than bringing Vanek back on another cheap deal.
General Manager Ken Holland: Say what you will about the last few seasons, but Holland’s leadership will be missed. He did a lot of good for the Red Wings, and has done decently well with Edmonton in his first summer running the Oilers.
The Red Wings biggest move this summer came off the ice with the addition of Yzerman as General Manager. In the long run, that is the best move they could have made. Yzerman is an elite manager and will no doubt build the Wings into a strong team in due time. In the immediate future, however, it won’t make much of a difference.
The Wings return largely the same team, one that clearly wasn’t good enough a season ago. Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, Andreas Athanasiou, Anthony Mantha and Filip Zadina will provide excitement on offense, but there is no depth behind them. The Wings have some talent, but not enough to compete in a loaded Atlantic Division.
Final Point Prediction: 76