Red Wings: Keeping top-six core forwards intact is crucial for offseason

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Red Wings are looking to keep their top-six forwards intact, the latest roster move pushes for that, meaning good things to come.

As the Detroit Red Wings offseason continues, the front office lead by General Manager (GM) Steve Yzerman is going to be looking to make improvements to the horrifically bad 2019-20 output.

The latest move came in the form of the re-signing of Robby Fabbri to a two-year extension; Site Co-Expert Bob Heyrman recently detailed the extension and the positives that should come from it. With this move, the core of the top-six forwards in the Red Wings organization remains intact, sort of.

The Red Wings are going to look to make significant strides in the 2020-21 season, and that starts with keeping the part of the team that did string together positives, which is being done. While the Red Wings do have a large number of restricted free agents to tend to, the Fabbri extension is a move in the right direction.

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Yzerman is going to have to come together with the personnel in the front office and decide how to attack this offseason’s spending. One thing is sure, Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha both need to get PAID.

The priority of keeping the top two lines together, from a structure standpoint, needs to be articulated in this summer’s front office conversations.

The Red Wings need to ensure they can keep Dylan Larkin and Mantha together on that top line as a combo with someone else placed on the other wing.

While it is less critical who that other winger, the staple of the top line needs to be intact, the Red Wings then should ensure that they can keep Bertuzzi and Fabbri together on the second line.

The winger again is elementary and not as crucial to who plays that role, these four players that make up the structure of the top-six forwards for the Red Wings.

The Detroit Red Wings need to do a lot this offseason to improve, but this ensures a strong start.

The signing of Fabbri makes it so that two of the four now have current signed contracts for the upcoming season.  With the year that Mantha had, even sustaining injuries, he can be an anchor on the top line against Dylan Larkin who’s talent level is going to waste while the Red Wings struggle to win a hockey game.

Bertuzzi has proven that he has been able to come into his own and find some consistency. He anchors that left-wing slot, whether it be alongside Larkin or on the second line. He can continue to build on the success he has had in the last two seasons.

Fabbri was the best acquisition so far by Yzerman, who shipped off Jacob de la Rose to the St. Louis Blues for the forward. He was able to find his way in a new organization, putting the puck in the net, creating scoring chances and providing value, enough to earn a well-deserved extension.

It seems like a menial task to ensure that two restricted free agents also re-sign, and it may not be that big of a deal given the Red Wings relaxed cap situation. However, the top four forwards need to remain in a winged-wheel uniform to ensure that the organization can make strides this offseason. This should be used as a “stepping stone” as the Red Wings go about their offseason.

While the combinations between the four top forwards the Red Wings should structure around are numerous, and the ones I mentioned above are hypotheticals and could change night in and night out, but these four players are crucial to the success of the Red Wings this coming season.

The Red Wings were the worst team in hockey last season, making changes has to be done. A splash in the trade market or free agency, upgrading the goaltending situation, and ensuring these top forwards get the chance to make help the Red Wings collectively get better in 2020-21.

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It should not take much, statistically, to get better than their 2019-20 performance, but to truly take steps forward, watch prospects like Filip Zadina prove themselves is crucial. Hopefully, by this time next season, Zadina can be grouped in with this top-six core.