July 22, 2024

TRADE DEADLINE: – Detroit Red Wings Head coach rejected $85.9 million offer from the …see more-NHL….

 

Another year, another long summer break for the Detroit Red Wings. Time to post the final grades for the team. Be warned. There is no grading on a curve. Despite a thrilling final week of play, and a marked improvement over the prior season, the 2023-24 Detroit Red Wings once again failed to even make the playoffs. That’s eight straight years the Wings have not been to the playoffs–the longest drought in the team’s history.

Steve Yzerman is a Detroit Red Wings legend and an experienced general manager. The Wings have improved in his five years leading the team. But they have never been to the playoffs with Yzerman running the show. Yzerman’s two best draft picks, Lucas Raymon and Mo Seider, are top-notch, but they are both now restricted free agents. And will eat up significant cap sign to be re-signed. After so many years not making it to the playoffs, is the team finally ready for 2024-25 to be their breakout? Even Yzerman tempered expectations, stating “I hope we make the playoffs” next year.

As for coach Derek Lalonde, when crunch time hit, the team collapsed. He must shoulder much of the blame. The Wings had a nine point lead for the first wildcard spot on February 29, 2024. The team then lost eleven of their next fourteen, falling out of playoff contention. They never recovered. In his defense, the Wings showed significant improvement overall. The team went from 35 wins the previous season, and 80 points, to 41 wins and 91 points this season.

As we noted following Steve Yzerman’s April 19, 2024 press conference, Detroit finished a sorry 24th in goals against per game (3.33). Yzerman admitted as much, stating “collectively as a team, we have to get better (at defense), that’s the No. 1 thing.”

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