The Detroit Red Wings began a seven-game stretch against seven of the NHL’s top eight teams with a Valentine’s Day date at Minnesota against the Wild. They knew this was going to be a litmus test of how much they’ve grown as a team. It was also going to go a long way toward determing whether the Wings were legit playoff contenders.
Four games into this seven-game set, those answers are becoming abundantly clear. The Wings clearly are not ready to be prime-time players.
They own one win so far in this stretch, eking out a 3-2 shootout triumph at the New York Rangers. In other other three games, all losses, Detroit has allowed 22 goals. There was a 7-4 loss to the Wild, a 5-2 setback to the Colorado Avalanche and worst of all, a 10-7 embarrassment handed them by the Toronto Maple Leafs on national television. It was just the sixth time in franchise history that the Wings gave up double digits on home ice.
Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins, holders of the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot, expanded the gap between them and the Wings from six to 14 points.
A Tuesday home date with the Carolina Hurricanes, followed by a trip to the Sunshine State to face the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers will complete this seven-game test.
What Could Red Wings Get For Staal?
Sliding out of the postseason chase, it might be time for Detroit to focus on selling as the March 21 NHL trade deadling approaches. What could the Wings get in a deal for impending UFA defenseman Marc Staal? Which NHL teams might have an interest in adding Staal?
— Grand Rapids Griffins (@griffinshockey) February 27, 2022
Perhaps it’s also best to look toward what’s promising to be a bright future for the Red Wings. Rookie Jonatan Berggren scored again Saturday for the Grand Rapids Griffins. The Swedish forward leads Detroit’s AHL farm club with 14 goals.
NHL Trade Talk
Philadelphia Hockey Now’s Sam Carchidi weighs in on trade speculation that has Jeff Petry arriving in Philly and Rasmus Ristolainen leaving the Flyers.
The uncertain goaltending situation in Washington took a turn toward the positive. Capitals netminder Vitek Vanacek began an injury rehab assignment with the AHL Hershey Bears.
Would New York Islanders foward Cal Clutterbuck be a fit with the Colorado Avalanche?
A solid two-way player, Artturi Lehkonen of the Montreal Canadiens could really help the bottom six of any contending team’s forward group. Is now the time for the Habs to be moving on from Lehkonen?