Three Reasons the Detroit Red Wings Make the Playoffs in 2023-24

Red Wings Playoffs

The Detroit Red Wings season will start on Thursday against the New Jersey Devils, and despite all the talk of them not making the playoffs, they do have a real shot due to many offseason moves. Here are three reasons the Detroit Red Wings return to the playoffs for the first time since 2015-16.

Scoring

Last season, the Red Wings finished with a -38 goal differential when they scored 237 goals and allowed 275 goals. This offseason, they addressed that, based on the guys they lost from last season that played in at least one game, which includes Filip Hronek, Oskar Sundqvist, and Tyler Bertuzzi, who they traded at the trade deadline combined for 157 points coming on 56 goals and 101 assists.

In the offseason, they brought in J.T. Compher, Christian Fischer, Alex DeBrincat, Shayne Gostisbehere, Justin Holl, Klim Kostin, Daniel Sprong, and Jeff Petry; they combined last season for 302 points on 109 goals and 193 assists. Out of all the players gone from the Red Wings, Hronek led the way with 38 points; out of all the players the Red Wings brought in, four of them had more points than DeBrincat, Compher, Gostisbehere, and Sprong.

Expect a drastic improvement on the offense. Also, with the addition of DeBrincat and him sliding right into the first line, expect higher point production this season from Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond; right now, Perron is practicing on line one, but you’d have to think for a majority of the season Raymond will be there; Larkin had 79 points on 32 goals and 47 assists, Raymond had 45 points on 17 goals and 28 assists, expect those numbers to be much higher in 2023-24.

Goaltending

Last season was the first in Ville Husso’s career that he had played in more than 40 games, and he appeared in 56 total games, going 26-22-7; earlier this offseason, Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman disclosed that he was playing towards the end of the season with an injury. Now Husso’s expected to play 50 games this season, and the Red Wings have better depth behind him, which will help alleviate some of the pressure from the number one goalie.

The depth the Red Wings had in the crease last season just couldn’t be trusted as Alex Nedeljkovic played in 15 games, going 5-7-2 with a .895 save percentage and a 3.53 GAA; after an early season struggle, he spent a majority of his season in Grand Rapids. Magnus Hellberg was the third goalie last season who played in 17 games, going 4-8-1 with a .885 save percentage and a 3.29 GAA. They let both walk in the offseason and brought in James Reimer, who has 13 years of experience, and last season, in 43 games for the Sharks, he went 12-21-8 with a .890 save percentage and a 3.48 GAA.

They also brought in Alex Lyon, who played in a career-high 15 games, going 9-4-2 with a .912 save percentage and a 2.89 GAA; he also played in four playoff games for the Panthers last season, going 1-2-0 with a .888 save percentage and a 3.63 GAA. This season’s goalie options are much better than last season’s and should give fans confidence between the pipes.

Defensive Minded

The Detroit Red Wings revamped their blue line presence, going out and getting Shayne Gostisbehere, Jeff Petry, and Justin Holl. Those three replace Filip Hronek, although he had been traded at the trade deadline, Gustav Lindstrom, Jordan Oesterle, and Robert Hagg; those four defensemen combined to finish -22, had 203 blocked shots, and 288 hits.

The three new defensemen combined last season for a +12, 339 blocked shots, and 387 hits. Talk about a significant upgrade, and on top of all that, the three defensemen they added can also be offensive and score as they combined for 90 points. They also brought in J.T. Compher, a defensive-minded forward who can score as he finished last season as a +8 with 82 block shots, so in the offseason, the Yzerman made sure he did the things needed to protect his goaltenders as well.

Wrap Up

The 2023-24 season looks exciting, and the Detroit Red Wings have revamped their team and are a lot better than they have been in recent years. This Red Wings team is being very underrated and could surprise many people, as many writers have them as an improved team, but the playoff drought continuing. With all the additions they made and things they addressed, other teams in their division may have taken a step back, as well as the Tampa Bay Lightning also losing their superstar goalie, Andrei Vasilevskiy, for the first few months of the season. All of that combined should open the door for playoff hockey to return to Hockeytown this season for the first time since 2015-16.

CJ

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