The Red Wings were better this past season than they were in 2019-20. They hope to be much better next season than they were in 2020-21. Here is what they need to accomplish that objective:
1. Dylan Larkin to be a force
If Larkin could net 25 goals and be above 60 points next season, it would give both Larkin and the Red Wings a major boost. The Red Wings feed off his speed and energy.
2. Rookie Moritz Seider to feel comfortable
He doesn’t have to be an immediate dominant presence, but a strong, solid start could improve the defense and energize the fan base.
3. Improve penalty killing to 80%
That would put the Red Wings in the top half of the league. The Red Wings were at 76.1% in 2019-20 and 78.6% last season. More improvement in that area might earn them an extra four or five more wins.
4. Team save percentage above .910
That’s where they were last season when the league average was .908. Much will depend upon whether Jonathan Bernier re-signs. The Red Wings goaltending gave the team a chance most nights.
5. Twenty goals from Filip Zadina
With Zadina heading into his fourth professional season, he needs to start producing like a top six forward. He has the skill set to score 20 goals.
6. Robbie Fabbri to stay healthy
If you look at his time in Detroit, Fabbri has scored 24 goals in his last 82 games. But that’s been over two seasons. He has missed time in both seasons with Detroit. He was also unlucky with injuries in St. Louis.
7. Luke Glendening to be back in a Detroit jersey
Everyone assumes that will happen, but no one other than Glendening knows for sure. He’s a 60% faceoff man and he competes intensely most nights. As a result, he leads by example.
8. More magic from Yzerman
His drafting of Seider, acquisition of Fabbri and trade for Vrana were all moves that he never telegraphed. No one knew those were coming. If he has one more move like in him this summer, then the Red Wings might have a more pronounced improvement
9. Vrana scoring with consistency
The Red Wings would expect 20 or more goals out of Vrana, are hoping for 25 or more and would be thrilled if he netted 30. But what they would prefer is that his production be consistent. No one wants to see long goal droughts.
10. One of the youngsters to exceed expectations:
It can’t be Seider because expectations are already too high. How about Michael Rasmussen or Joe Veleno or Gustav Lindstrom doing more than anticipated? Could Rasmussen end up as a 20-goal scorer or Veleno claim the No. 2 center role? Could Lindstrom blossom into a 20-minute defenseman?