Get a plate, the Detroit Red Wings are done for the 2023-24 season.

Even though they defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 in a shootout to close the regular season on Tuesday night, Detroit was eliminated from postseason possibilities when the Washington Capitals beat the Philadelphia Flyers on the road, 2-1.

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So, even though the Wings won 41 of their 82 games (and finished above .500).  They still missed the playoffs for the eighth straight season.

What's missing with this roster?  What do they need to finally get over the hump and make the playoffs in a stacked Eastern Conference?  Who's to blame for not making the playoffs this season?  Let's start with what's missing first.


Other than pending restricted free agent Mo Seider, who do you trust on the back end?  Free agent acquisitions Jeff Petry and Justin Holl flat-out suck.  And Olli Maata wasn't as effective this season.  Losing Jake Walman to injury really hurt them, too.  And veteran Ben Chiarot wasn't as reliable.  And while Shayne Gostisbehere had good moments, he's not great defensively, either.

However, rookie Simon Edvinsson shows promise and WILL be on the roster in October.  A healthy Jake Walman will help.  Steve Yzerman (seen above) should've addressed the depth at the trade deadline and didn't.  He MUST address it this offseason.


All three goalies had great moments.  Ville Husso, Alex Lyon, and James Reimer were great at times.  But all three were leaky as well.  Reimer is an unrestricted free agent and likely won't be back.  Husso and Lyon are signed for next season and will probably return.  Expect top prospect Sebastien Cossa to join the big club this October.  It's time to see if he can play in the NHL.

What do the Wings need to make the playoffs?  Here goes...


They completely lost their way when captain Dylan Larkin got hurt in March.  They lost seven straight games with him out of the lineup.  That's a lack of mental toughness.  And other teams know you can push the Red Wings around physically.  They need 2-3 guys like they had a generation ago with "The Grind Line".  Darren McCarty, Kris Draper, and Kirk Maltby were physically tough.  But they could play as well.  Guys like them are tough to find and can be expensive.  But Steve Yzerman needs to find it this summer.


I'm talking about prospects who are in Grand Rapids, playing for the Wings top minor-league affiliate, the Griffins.  Jonatan Berggren, Elmer Sodorblom, Marco Kasper, Carter Mazur, and Nate Danielson all need to see time in Detroit next season.  The Wings have spent enough time developing them in the minors.  We need to see some, it not all, of them in Detroit next season.  Especially with a number of forwards who are unrestricted free agents this summer.

There comes a time when you have to let young guys PLAY.  And stick with them when they struggle.  That time is now, IMO.


Despite my tremendous admiration and respect for him, executive Steve Yzerman is mostly to blame.  His failure or unwillingness to improve the leaky defense at the trade deadline is inexcusable.  And not getting some "tough guys" is on him as well.  He will get legitimate and deserved criticism for that for the first time as an executive.

I'm not sure about head coach Derek Lalonde as well.  He tried to juggle some lines when injuries started happening.  He also tried to go 11 forwards and seven defensemen for quite a few games this season.  He tried, but he couldn't stop the losing streak in March.  And he deserves some blame as well.

Neither Yzerman or Lalonde should be fired.  That would be crazy to do, considering the incremental progress they've made since Yzerman arrived back here five years ago.

But dammit, this team needed to be in the playoffs THIS season.  And they didn't get it done.  Stevie Y's and Derek Lalonde's seats should be a little warmer heading into next season.  And it will be deserved.

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