Even if you didn’t like every one of GM Steve Yzerman’s offseason moves, it’s hard not to see the Detroit Red Wings as an improved team.
Alex DeBrincat’s and Shayne Gostisbehere’s addition makes the offense more dangerous. The team’s goaltending is undeniably deeper than it was this past season when the Grand Rapids Griffins suffered periods of goaltending inconsistency. Klim Kostin and Christian Fischer add size and grit to the team.
But none of that was enough for the Red Wings to earn much respect in the Sportsnet’s offseason power rankings.
The Red Wings finished 24th in the NHL standings last season, and Sportsnet recently ranked them 22nd. That’s improvement, but that ranking suggests the Red Wings still aren’t close to the playoffs.
Ahead of the Jets
This ranking projects GM Steve Yzerman’s team to be a lottery team once again, still low enough in the standings to have a long-shot chance at winning Boston University recruit Macklin Cerebrini or whoever ends up as the top draft prospect.
“Getting Alex DeBrincat at a discount is a clear coup for Detroit, which will be banking on 35 to 40 goals for the local guy,” Sportsnet’s Ryan Dixon notes. “J.T. Compher was a nice add, too. There’s no question the Wings are moving in the right direction, it’s just a question of at what speed they’re doing it.”
The Sportsnet rankings have Detroit now ahead of the Calgary Flames (23rd) who appear to be in a downward trajectory and the Winnipeg Jets (24th) who qualified for the playoffs last season.
Maybe the 22nd ranking is fair based on the fact the Red Wings have missed the playoffs for seven consecutive seasons and it’s difficult to project where this team is at after another summer of changes.
Maybe the ranking simply says the Red Wings are in a position where they must prove they are a playoff contender. Even a Red Wings fan who is hopeful this team can compete for a playoff spot, would have difficulty arguing against that.