It can be easy to give in to negativity. When something goes wrong, it can feel like the whole world is against us. The 2020-21 Detroit Red Wings, certainly, are no exception. With how often the Red Wings have been a basement team, the glory days of the 2008 Stanley Cup and earlier can feel like a distant memory. Fortunately, there is light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, there are several lights, all pointing toward a bright future in Hockeytown. Sometimes, all you need to pick yourself up is a reminder that things can and will get better. This is especially the case with the Red Wings. With that being said, allow us to spread a bit of joy into your lives:
Seven Reasons the Detroit Red Wings Fans Should Feel Optimistic
Whether you notice it or not, the air around the Red Wings this year is different than it was in the past. Sure, they’re still losing quite a bit. Yes, they’re last in their division. But it isn’t anywhere close to the embarrassment the team suffered during the 2019-20 season. The losses aren’t quite as stinging — and the team isn’t rolling over and accepting defeat. There’s a lot to be optimistic about with the 2020-21 Red Wings — and much of it can be attributed to the way the team has begun to rally around their new captain, Dylan Larkin.
1. The 2020-21 Red Wings Are Developing An Identity
They say adversity builds character. This year has shown more evidence of that than ever before in Detroit. Years of heartbreaking losses and shortcomings have pushed many players to do better than they ever have before. Were it not for his injury-shortened season, Tyler Bertuzzi would have been on pace for a 44-point season this year. That’s a 64-point pace during an 82-game season. While it’s unrealistic to assume that Bertuzzi would keep such a torrid pace, his playmaking had shown immense growth before his injury.
2. 2020-21 Red Wings Increased Improvement from the Defence
Bertuzzi isn’t the only one to show improvement, though — the defence has played at the best level they have in years. Troy Stecher has emerged as a top blueliner for the Red Wings. Patrik Nemeth is a stalwart, smart defensive defenceman. Even Marc Staal has shown an improvement on defensive cues. When the Red Wings reach contending status again, they’ll have line upon line of smart, two-way players who will know how to navigate adverse conditions.
3. The Kids Are Earning It
Previous seasons brought with them fair shares of frustration. Long shifts from veterans and prospects buried in the AHL made many fans furious. Fortunately, a youth movement has been brewing with the Red Wings. This season, Michael Rasmussen, Givani Smith, Taro Hirose, Dennis Cholowski, Filip Zadina, and Evgeny Svechnikov have all made cases for themselves to remain with the Red Wings. While it’s unlikely they all stay, the taxi squad system allows coach Jeff Blashill to cycle them in and out to see who sticks.
4. Filip Zadina’s Elite Potential
Number 11 has been the most noticeable player on the ice since Dylan Larkin joined the Red Wings. While we’ve covered Zadina extensively in the past, it just goes to show how spectacular the kid has played this season. His gameplay tells a much different story from his stat sheet. While he’s scoring at a little under a point-per-game, he’s had nearly a dozen chances that would’ve otherwise earned him goals. Fortunately, they’ll come with time. It’s only up from here with Filip Zadina.
5. Two Words: Moritz. Seider.
Craig Button of TSN developed a controversial ranking of NHL-affiliated prospects. Sitting at number one was Detroit’s own Moritz Seider. The German defenceman has played out of his mind this season. He led all SHL rookies in scoring and holds the second-place record for most points by an U20 defenceman. Watching highlight reels of him pulverizing players has been a real treat. It’s only a matter of time until he’s doing it in Detroit.
6. Jonatan Berggren’s Breakout Season
Speaking of the SHL, has anyone checked in on Jonatan Berggren? The 2018 second-round pick exploded in the SHL this season, ending the year seventh in points as a 20-year-old. He’s the youngest player in the top-10 scorers this season, starting the year off with a dominant multi-game point streak. Like Seider, he’ll be making his way over to North American ice soon. Whether he starts the year in Detroit or Grand Rapids will depend on his progress when training camp starts next season.
7. The Culture is Still Here
There’s a sign in the Detroit Red Wings’ locker room that hangs above the iconic Winged Wheel logo. On it are four words: Earn It Every Day. It stands as a testament to a longstanding culture in one of the NHL’s oldest teams, and it goes to show just how important playing giving it your all is to the team. The 2020-21 Red Wings aren’t there yet — but you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s embodied in players like Larkin, Bertuzzi, and Zadina. These players will be cornerstones to the Red Wings’ future and will help to blaze the trail for up-and-comers like Lucas Raymond. The future is bright — and, with Steve Yzerman at the helm, it’ll only get brighter from here on out.
And if you feel down, just remember that things could be worse. At least they’re not the Buffalo Sabres.