NHL Detroit Red Wings: Poised To Make First Playoff Appearance Since 2016

Detroit Red Wings v New Jersey Devils

The Detroit Red Wings are one of the most storied franchises in NHL history.

Detroit has won the most Stanley Cup championships of any NHL franchise based in the United States.

With 11 Stanley Cup victories, they rank third among active NHL teams, trailing the Montreal Canadiens (24) and Toronto Maple Leafs (13).

From 1983-84 to 2015-16, Detroit made the playoffs 30 times in 32 seasons.

This includes 25-straight playoff appearances from 1990-91 to 2015-16 (does not include the canceled 2004-05 season).

However, despite a history of success, the Detroit Red Wings have not made the NHL playoffs since 2016.

This year has been different and they sit fourth in the Atlantic Division and hold the top wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Below, we will discuss Steve Yzerman’s impact on the Red Wings, whether Detroit will make the playoffs, and how far the Red Wings can go in the postseason.

Steve Yzerman’s Impact On The Detroit Red Wings

NHL Detroit Red Wings: Poised To Make First Playoff Appearance Since 2016

Steve Yzerman’s patient plan to turn around the Detroit Red Wings looks like it may be paying off.

Yzerman returned to Detroit in April 2019, three years after the Red Wings’ last playoff game.

He had the tall task of fixing a Detroit franchise that was spiraling and one of the worst teams in the league.

“We’ve got some work to do in some areas, but it’s very encouraging,” Yzerman said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We’re getting stronger as the season goes on.”

The Hockey Hall of Famer spent his entire NHL career in the Motor City, where he’s a favorite athlete, and the fan base kept its faith in him even as the postseason drought lingered under his leadership.

Now, it seems like the fans’ faith in Yzerman is paying off.

Yzerman did not spend a lot of money in free agency, or via trades until the team was good enough to compete and he decided the time to make moves was last summer.

The Red Wings are led offensively by Dylan Larkin, Alex DeBrincat, Patrick Kane, and Lucas Raymond.

Yzerman has helped build a very good offense.

The Red Wings rank sixth in the NHL in goals per game.

In just a few years, Yzerman has helped Detroit go from the bottom of the league to now positioned to make the postseason with one of the top offenses in the league.

Will Detroit Make The Playoffs?

The Detroit Red Wings sit fourth in the Atlantic Division and hold the top wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Red Wings will not catch the Florida Panthers or Boston Bruins for a top-two spot in the division but it is possible Detroit can catch the Toronto Maple Leafs for the third seed in the division.

Detroit is six points back from the Maple Leafs in the Central Division.

Both Detroit and Toronto have played 61 games, so the Wings will need to play well and hope the Leafs go on a losing streak in the final 21 games of the season.

The Red Wings are tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning and they both hold the two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference.

Detroit has a six-point lead over the New York Islanders for a wild-card spot.

The Red Wings have played two fewer games than the Lightning, which is a benefit for Detroit.

With only 21 games left, the Detroit Red Wings are in a very good position to end their playoff drought.

Detroit will make the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

How Far Can The Red Wings Go In The Postseason?

The Detroit Red Wings are poised to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

They have one of the best offenses in the NHL, ranking sixth in the league in goals per game.

Dylan Larkin leads the team with 54 points and 26 goals in 55 games played.

Alex DeBrincat has 53 points and 23 goals in 61 games played.

Patrick Kane signed with Detroit on November 28 but did not play his first game of the season with Detroit until early December.

Kane has 31 points and 13 goals in just 30 games played.

Shayne Gostisbehere signed with Detroit in July 2023 and he has been a huge offensive asset.

Gostisbehere has been a critical piece on the first power play line and has 39 points on the season.

Moritz Seider continues to improve.

Daniel Sprong has 16 goals and J.T. Compher has 15 goals on the season.

Robbi Fabbri has 15 goals and 25 points in 47 games played.

Detroit is getting contributions on offense from several players.

The offense will not be an issue for Detroit in the playoffs.

However, Detroit ranks just 25th in shots against per game and 21st in goals against per game.

A less-than-average defense and goaltending could hinder a deep playoff push for Detroit this season.

Alex Lyon has needed to make 29 starts and played in 30 games this season and he has an 18-10-2 record with a 2.79 GAA and .911 SV%.

While he has not been terrible, he will need to step it up in the postseason when facing some of the top offenses in the league.

Teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers, and Carolina Hurricanes all rank in the top 12 in the league in goals per game.

Hockey playoffs are about which team gets hot at the right time.

If Alex Lyon can get in a groove heading into the postseason, this will give him confidence to help Detroit make a deeper playoff push.

If the playoffs started today, the Red Wings would face the New York Rangers.

This is a tough first-round playoff matchup for Detroit as the Rangers rank 10th in goals per game and fourth in goals against per game.

In all likelihood, the four teams Detroit will face in the first round are the Rangers, Bruins, Hurricanes, or Panthers.

These teams might be too good for Detroit to upset in the first round this season but the Red Wings seem to have a bright future ahead of them under Steve Yzerman.

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