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Yzerman’s Hope? That Red Wings Make Playoffs Next Season

Detroit GM insists making the playoffs will be tougher next season



Steve Yzerman
Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman says everyone must be better in order for the team to make the playoffs.

A year ago, when the topic was making the Stanley Cup playoffs, Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman wouldn’t go there.

This offseason, he’s taking a different approach. Yzerman still won’t say that he’s expecting his team to be a playoff club following the 2024-25 NHL regular season. However, he’s fervently hoping for that situation to develop.

“I hope to. I hope we make the playoffs,” Yzerman suggested. “That’s what I’m gonna say. It’s gonna be a challenge. Honestly, it’s gonna be a challenge.”

Finishing tied with the Washington Capitals for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but losing out on a tiebreaker, the Red Wings were failing to bring a halt to their postseason absence, which has now stretched to a club-record eight consecutive seasons.

Last summer, it must be said that Yzerman put in some yeoman’s work to make it possible for the Wings to gain 11 standings points and flirt with playoff hockey. His offseason moves to acquire forward Alex DeBrincat and defenseman Jeff Petry, as well as signing key UFAs such as defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, forwards Patrick Kane, Christian Fischer, J.T. Compher and Daniel Sprong and goalies Alex Lyon and James Reimer all wound up paying dividends.

Every Red Wings Player Must Take Another Step

Can he do it again? Yzerman recognizes the difficulty of replicating that performance in personnel assessment.

“I’m nervous,” Yzerman admitted. “We as a management group, myself I guess being in charge of management, have to make some good decisions. We’ll be sitting here next year saying, ‘Hey, that was a good decision,’ or we’ll be saying, ‘Steve, what we’re you thinking?’ That’s the reality of it.

“A lot of decisions we make, the answer is proven after, decided by wins and losses, making the playoffs or not making the playoffs.”

One thing the Red Wings can count on is that they won’t be flying under the radar anymore. People will be expecting bigger and better things from the team.

“Expectations are raised for some individuals, for our team,” Yzerman said. “We had 91 points, 41 wins. That’s tough to do and we still (didn’t) make the playoffs. We’re probably going to have to get more than 91 points next year to get in. That’ll be a challenge for us.”

To put it bluntly, every player on the team will need to be showing improvement in their individual games for the club to be climbing in the standings.

“It’s hard to make the playoffs in the NHL,” Yzerman said. “This playoff system is tough. It’s exciting, it’s a good system. No system is perfect, but it’s good.

“I long for the 21-team league where 16 of us were making the playoffs and everyone was saying the system was a joke. It’s tough. I hope we do (make the playoffs), but we’re gonna need development.

Mo’s (Seider) gotta keep going. Lucas Raymond’s gotta keep going. Dylan’s (Larkin) gotta keep taking steps. Everyone’s gotta be a little better collectively.”