There are myriad reasons why the Detroit Red Wings have struggled in recent seasons. A moribund power play has always been at the top of that list.
Last season, Detroit was 30th in the NHL with the man advantage (11.4 percent). Only the Anaheim Ducks (8.9 percent) were worse. The Ducks (11) were the only team that scored fewer power-play goals than the Red Wings (17).
Detroit endured an 0-for-41 skid with the man advantage that season. That was the club’s longest drought since the 1950s, when NHL really didn’t devote much, if any, practice time to working on the power play.
In 2019-20, the Wings were 29th in the NHL on the power play at 14.9 percent.
“I think we know that’s an area we need to improve upon going into this season,” Wings forward Sam Gagner said. “It’s really important.”
It wasn’t like the Wings weren’t getting chances. There were four teams that were afforded fewer power-play chances (117) and power-play opportunites per game (2.66) than Detroit.
Why should Wings fans figure things will be any different during the 2021-22 NHL season? Well, actually, there are a number of reasons to expect that some life will be injected into the Detroit power. Here’s five of them.