Alright, Red Wings…Time for You To Start Winning, Too!
You may remember that I wrote a week or two ago about how it was time for the Pistons to start winning.
Well, the same exact thing applies to the Detroit Red Wings now. Playtime is over for them, too. Especially with the NHL Entry Draft (this week) and free agency (next week) coming up.
General manager Steve Yzerman (seen above) is one of the most beloved athletes in Detroit and Michigan sports history. But in the fourth year (coming up next season) of the massive rebuild from the salary cap hell that previous GM Ken Holland created, it's time to see results on the ice.
Here are reasons why:
THEY ARE OUT OF SALARY CAP HELL
Pretty much all the bad contracts that Ken Holland accumulated late in his tenure in Detroit are gone. They are still paying former Michigan Stater Justin Abdelkader for four more seasons as part of a contract buyout. But that's about it.
Stevie Y has the Wings under the cap, now he's got to use the room to improve the team's defense and scoring depth.
SOME OF THE YOUNG PLAYERS ARE PRODUCING
Defenseman Mo Seider was the NHL's Rookie of the Year (winning the Calder Trophy), and forward Lucas Raymond finished in the top five of the Calder voting. And goalie Alex Nedeljkovic showed promise as well. We need to see a few more guys like them in the lineup next season.
YOU HAVE A NEW COACH!
Jeff Blashill was given a fair shot to turn the franchise around, but he didn't quite do it. A bad Western road trip in the second half of last season did him in. Enter Tampa Bay Lightning assistant Derek Lalonde. Stevie Y worked with him when they were both in Tampa. Coach Lalonde will be given the task of improving the defense and depth on a nightly basis.
YOU HAVE LOTS OF DRAFT PICKS!
The Wings have 10 draft choices in the 7 round Entry Draft coming up this week. Yzerman needs to hit on a number of these to help out the roster in the next 1-2 years. No excuses.
YOU'RE IN THE SAME BOAT AS THE PISTONS ARE
Even though the Wings are entering year 4 of the rebuild and the Pistons are entering year 3 of theirs, they should be treated exactly the same by the fans and the media if they fail (meaning no playoffs for either next season). Just like the Pistons, it's not unfair to expect the Red Wings to make the playoffs next season.
Yes, it'll be tough with Florida, Toronto, and Tampa Bay in their division (all outstanding teams). But the fans need to start seeing it on the ice.
FINALLY, WHAT IF THEY DON'T MAKE THE PLAYOFFS?
Steve Yzerman will get the brunt of the criticism for the first time ever. The whipping boy that was Jeff Blashill is gone. This is Stevie Y's baby now. And just like Troy Weaver and the Pistons, there are no more excuses. It's time to win...NOW!!!