The Detroit Red Wings were one of many teams knocking on the door at the unofficial playoff marker at Thanksgiving. In fact, pounding on the door is a likelier analogy, racing out to an 10-5-4 start that positioned them third in the Atlantic Division.
Aside from a 24-hour moment in February, it’s the closest they’d get. While it was progress, the dream of snapping the seven-season playoff drought all but ended at the trade deadline.
Here’s a look back at what it looked like then, and how it ultimately ended up.
Red Wings Sat Pretty at American Thanksgiving
Days before the Thanksgiving holiday, DHN’s Kevin Allen wrote that “…In the salary cap era, 76% of teams in a playoff spot on the American holiday (based on percentage of available points earned) have gone to play in the postseason. Those numbers exclude any season when a full schedule wasn’t played.”
By the time full stomachs and Lions football were past, the Red Wings enjoyed a divisional playoff spot.
Clearly, it didn’t hold up. But did the 75% metric hold up? Of the eight playoff teams from the Eastern Conference, seven of the eight did in fact qualify. An 87.5% clip surely checks out.
In the West, the Edmonton Oilers were the only team on the outside looking in, just a point shy behind Calgary. Again, 87.5% on the nose.
The unofficial “official” playoff predictor exceeded the metric Allen wrote about.
Detroit Ceded its spot to Florida
Though the teams shuffled in the standings, it was only the Red Wings and Panthers who swapped spots for a playoff berth. Detroit would end up missing by 12 points and finish second to last in the division.
In the West, Edmonton ended up with 109 points and just two points off of winning the Pacific Division. Calgary missed the playoffs by a pair of points.
The takeaway, in spite of Detroit not making the cut, is that the Thanksgiving holiday can indeed be a pretty accurate predictor. Each season will have its anomalies but the 2022-23 version nearly played out perfectly.
Detroit will look different next season. But will a similar standing next year hold up for the rest of the season?