Detroit Red Wings: Special teams to get a boost during 2020-21 season

(Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
(Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Red Wings were in the depths of the special teams’ rankings in 2019-20; they should make strides in 2020-21 after a successful offseason.

The Detroit Red Wings have had an incredible offseason, one that has seen the organization make moves and make sound improvements all around. Last season, the organization was one of the worst they had ever been historically recorded for this organization, all around, not just win-loss.

In terms of special teams, the Red Wings were one of the statistically worst-ranked teams for power-play and short-hand scenarios. However, with some of the recent signings made by the organization, they should be able to capitalize and perform better.

In 2019-20, the Red Wings had a 14.9 power-play conversion rate, which was 29th ranked in the league. They finished ahead of only the Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators, ranked 30th and 31st, respectively.

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In regards to the penalty kill, the Red Wings were dead last in the league rankings. With a 74.3% penalty kill rate, they were statistically the worst team in the league for that metric. However, changes should be expected in 2020-21.

Given these two horrifically bad conversion rates, something had to be done; while the Red Wings are not going to be a playoff or even competitive hockey team anytime soon, they found ways to make improvements.

Instead of spending a ton of money on long-term deals, the Red Wings were able to strike short-term deals where they can find impact players who will offer solutions to some of the Red Wings struggles.

Taking a look at some of the solutions to the special teams comes in the form of defensemen who were signed this offseason. While Filip Hronek anchors down the first pairing of the power-play as a playmaking defenseman, newly signed Troy Stecher could slot in on the second unit quite well.

Stecher has the ability to be a power-play threat, making things happen in the offensive zone on the power-play. He may not be a stud defender, but he can still contribute to scoring chances to the organization and help them get pucks on net while on the power-play.

On the flip side, bringing defensemen Jon Merrill home to Michigan has some benefits as well. Merrill is a lock-down defender who should slot in nicely on the penalty-kill and help improve a defense that could definitely use the help.

Beyond Merrill, Marc Staal, who was traded for this offseason, will also aid on the penalty kill. Staal could be another defender who contributes in the defensive zone and adds to the overall ability to kill penalties.

Forward Bobby Ryan, who is one of the exciting signings from this offseason, also can contribute to the power-play and should get a chance to prove himself offensively. The Red Wings also get another year of Robby Fabbri this offseason, as well Tyler Bertuzzi on his new contract after arbitration.

The Red Wings should be able to make improvements to their power-play and penalty-kill units based on the way this offseason has gone. The Red Wings should rank higher in 2020-21 for special teams.

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As the Detroit Red Wings move back to a return to the ice, there is plenty to look forward to since the team should make strides and not fall to the depths they did during the 2019-20 season.