NHL Season Recap – Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings

2016-17 season: 33-36-13, 79 points

Did not qualify for playoffs

Head Coach: Jeff Blashill (2015)
7th Place Atlantic Division General Manager: Ken Holland (1997)
14th  Place Eastern Conference AHL Affiliate: Grand Rapids Griffins

ECHL Affiliate: Toledo Walleye

Draft Position: Will have the seventh  greatest odds in the NHL Draft Lottery

Top Forward

POS Age Name GP Points Goals Assists +/- CF%
LW 36 Henrik Zetterberg 82 68 17 51 15 52.2
RW 27 Gustav Nyquist 76 48 12 36 0 50.6
LW 26 Tomas Tatar 82 46 25 21 -8 51.9
C 32 Frans Nielsen 79 41 17 24 -19 49.6
LW 33 Thomas Vanek 48 38 15 23 2 50.4
RW 22 Anthony Mantha 60 36 17 19 10 54.4
C 20 Dylan Larkin 80 32 17 15 -28 49.4
C 22 Andreas Athanisou 64 29 18 11 -7 48.1
LW 29 Justin Abdelkader 64 21 7 14 -20 46.4
C 30 Darren Helm 50 17 8 9 -6 48.0

Top Defensemen

POS Age Name GP Points Goals Assists +/- CF%
D 31 Mike Green 72 36 14 22 -20 48.2
D 26 Nick Jensen 49 13 4 9 -7 50.4
D 36 Niklas Kronwall 57 13 2 11 -7 49.8
D 26 Danny DeKeyser 82 12 4 8 -22 46.6
D 23 Xavier Oullet 66 12 3 9 2 49.0

Top Goaltenders

POS Age Name Games Started W/L Record Shutouts GAA Save %
G 24 Petr Mrazek 44 18-21-9 1 3.04 .901
G 32 Jimmy Howard 24 10-11-1 1 2.10 .927
G 25 Jared Coreau 14 5-4-3 2 3.46 .887

Trades Made During the Season

What They Acquired Team They Traded With In Exchange For
2017 3rd RD Pick Chicago Blackhawks F Tomas Jurco
2017 3rd RD Pick

2018 2nd RD Pick

New York Rangers D Brendan Smith
2018 6th RD Pick Montreal Canadiens F Steve Ott
D Dylan McIlrath

2017 3rd RD Pick

Florida Panthers LW Thomas Vanek

Impending Free Agents

POS Age Name 2016-17 Cap Hit
C 31 Joe Vitale $1,116,667
LW 33 Drew Miller $1,025,000
D 24 Dylan McIlrath $800,000
RW 25 Mitchell Callahan $600,000
RW 30 Ben Street $600,000
G 26 Ed Pasquale $575,000

Draft Needs

  • Detroit will have 11 draft picks in this year’s draft, including six in the first three rounds. The Red Wings took a defenseman with their first round pick last season and have some good, young pieces across their roster.  They need to find that franchise center, because I think Dylan Larkin slots in better on the second line long-term.  They also need to draft and begin developing scoring wingers to help increase goal output.  Finally, they need to try and draft a future top-pairing defenseman.  There seem to be several high quality defensive prospects in this year’s draft and one should be available whenever Detroit picks.  This is a team who has draft and signed undrafted free agents extremely well under Ken Holland and this is the first time since 1991 that the team has had a top ten draft pick.  Regardless of what they need, they should probably just look at drafting the best available.

What I Said About Them Before the Season

  • I didn’t see Detroit as a playoff team this season and that this could be a roster in influx.  I questioned the moves that the team has made in recent years, especially the extensions of Justin Abdelkader and Danny DeKeyser.  Finally, I wrote that I thought the Red Wings need to seriously consider a teardown and rebuild of this roster.


  • Failure – Had the Red Wings not actually been attempting to make the playoffs this season, then this season would have been a success.  However, last offseason GM Ken Holland made moves with the goal of keeping their playoff streak alive such as signing Frans Nielsen and Thomas Vanek.  Instead of signing veterans, the Red Wings should have been focused on playing their prospects more and moving their veterans off the roster.  This is a new era for the Red Wings as Pavel Datsyuk is gone and Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall are approaching the ends of their careers.  Head coach Jeff Blashill had the difficult task of replacing Mike Babock as the coach of the Red Wings and was put in charge when the team was on the decline. While he may have been given a tough start, it doesn’t seem to be working thus far.  Detroit was a bottom-ten possession team, their PDO was below 99, a bottom-five powerplay team, and had the sixth worst save percentage.  These marks are not typical of a Detroit team and should be alarming for the franchise.  One of their biggest struggles was in net, where expected goaltender of the future, Petr Mrazek, was quite bad all season long and veteran Jimmy Howard, whom many people expected to be moved mid-season, was excellent.  They will have to made a decision on who to keep as their franchise goaltender going forward, and having a better defense in front of their goaltender will go a long way to helping the situation.  There was one area of success for the team as they were able to move Tomas Jurco, Brendan Smith, Steve Ott, and Thomas Vanek for draft picks at the deadline, something that they had to do.  

Offseason Needs

  • Ken Holland said after the regular season ended that he envisions this to be just a short-term rebuild but I don’t think that is the case.  While the team has some young, good pieces on the roster, I also think that they have a lot of veterans with bad contracts that will be difficult to move.  Players like Justin Abdelkader, Danny DeKeyser, and even Frans Nielsen basically have unmovable contracts even though it will be extremely difficult to completely rebuild while they are still on the roster.  In order to even have a chance to move these contracts Detroit will certainly have to retain a good portion of the salaries, something no team wants to do, but a necessity in a salary cap era and when a team wants to rebuild its roster.  For this offseason, the Red Wings need to first try and move any players they can before the draft and get picks in return for this year’s draft.  After that, they have to make sure that they hit on as many of their picks as possible.  Drafting the best players available is more important right now than drafting for positional needs.  Finally, they need to figure out what they are going to do from here on out at the goaltender position with both Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard under contract for the future and yet only one can be the true starter.  Mrazek was supposed to be their goaltender of the future but struggled this season while Howard played great.  I still think that they need to go forward with Mrazek as he is younger and can grow while the team rebuilds.  They could also get some assets in return for Howard from a team looking for a starting goalie.  I also think that Jeff Blashill is a good coach for this team despite not doing well this season.  This roster is not near as talented as the ones coached by Mike Babcock and that needs to be kept in mind. Blashill became successful coaching in the AHL, never losing before the conference semi-finals and has the ability to coach young players.  He could be the person to lead the Red Wings back to the playoffs in a few seasons which is when I think they’ll first be competitive again.

*All stats and information came from hockey-reference.com, rosterresource.com, spotrac.com, NHL.com, hockeydb.com, capfriendly.com, tsn.ca, and eliteprospects.com*


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