Embed from Getty Images The bottoming out of the Detroit Red Wings was supposed to happen this season. It did. However, the big steps forward taken by the organizations young players are giving real hope for a 202 playoff push.
12 games left. That is it. Wins and losses never mattered this season. I repeat, wins and losses this season never mattered. This season was all about getting the Detroit Red Wings top prospects to take the next step. All of them have.
Dylan Larkin, has become and elite two-way center he leads the Winged Wheels in goals and points. He is also going to be the next Detroit Red Wings captain.
Andreas Athanasiou, is offensively gifted. Speed, good Lord Athanasiou has speed. He has 22 goals on the season and projects as a 30 goal scorer. Yet, Andreas is not yet in the elite conversation. Athanasiou’s defense needs work. While it has improved until it peeks he is simply a gifted goal scorer.
Anthony Mantha’s game has come a long way. Mantha should hit 30 plus goals soon. a broken hand kept the young forward from hitting 30 this season. Mantha is a defensive forward. Once he hits 30 goals he will be as elite as they come.
Tyler Bertuzzi, Where to start with Bert? He is the backbone of this Red Wings core. Not as good a goal scorer as Larkin, Athanasiou or Mantha, Bertuzzi does not need to be. He gets under the skin of opposing teams and is deadly on the power play. Never shy to hit hard Bert is a Detroit fan favorite in this his first full season in Motown.
Top prized pick Filip Zadina who will play his ninth and final game for the Wings tonight against Tampa Bay, has given very encouraging signs that he will be ready to step into a starting role next season.
On defense both Filip Hroneck and Dennis Cholowski both looked good and looked bad. Both players were sent back to Grand Rapids to work on parts of their games. Cholowski will finish the season with the Griffins to gain playoff experience.
Two more reasons the Detroit Red Wings will push for the playoffs next season. They will have top lottery pick. Perhaps number one overall.
Also, Steve Yzerman who will be done with his Tampa Bay Lightning contract and oh by the way is living in Detroit.
Detroit hockey is about to be scary good once again.