The New Year is almost upon us, which means we’re just a couple of weeks away from hockey finally being back! As we countdown to the start of the 2021 NHL season on January 13th, let’s take a look at how the new Central Division stacks up. Let’s begin with the Detroit Red Wings.
The Red Wings’ Rebuild Continues
Seeing Detroit’s training camp roster, it feels like the other teams in the Central Division shouldn’t have much to worry about. Red Wings fans might also be disappointed at the absence of some big name prospects that should be getting their shots at the NHL soon. Those would include Moritz Seider and Joe Veleno, who announced recently that they’ll continue playing in Sweden’s SHL rather than attending training camp.
For GM Steve Yzerman, the rebuild in Hockeytown slowly rolls along through 2021 it seems. Familiar young faces like Filip Zadina, Anthony Mantha, and Tyler Bertuzzi should continue to improve into the focal points of Detroit’s offense for the future. Veteran free-agent signings Bobby Ryan and Sam Gagner come to fill in the cracks for the Red Wings. The rest of the young talent will likely continue to develop overseas or in the AHL.
The most intriguing offseason acquisition for Detroit is veteran goaltender Thomas Greiss. Greiss was part of the award-winning New York Islanders goalie tandem in 2018-19 and started 29 games for the Isles last season. On a two-year contract with the Red Wings, he can provide Detroit with a dependable presence in net. A safe option as Yzerman continues to search for his own star goalie prospect of the future.
Detroit vs. Everybody
Looking at the rest of the Central Division, the Red Wings’ outlook is less than optimal. Of the eight teams, Detroit is the only one who didn’t earn an invite to the Stanley Cup Playoffs bubble. On top of that, they’ll have to contend with defending Stanley Cup champs Tampa Bay and runners-up Dallas.
The Red Wings are the only ones in the division without legitimate playoff aspirations. With Yzerman at the helm, Detroit knows its place currently as a team in the middle of a hard rebuild. Looking at the competition, Stevie Y is probably already thinking about who to take with a top-five pick in the 2021 draft.
2021 looks to be another dismal year for the Detroit Red Wings franchise. The competition is tough and the team doesn’t have the pieces yet to contend with the rest of them. Don’t be surprised to see the Wings finish at the bottom of the Central Division standings. However, that probably isn’t the worst thing if you’re in favor of the rebuild.