With another Detroit Red Wings season in the books, we begin to look ahead to the 2021-22 season.
The Detroit Red Wings finished another below-average season leaving general manager Steve Yzerman with plenty to question moving forward. Will head coach Jeff Blashill return behind the bench next season?
Will the organization finally see a wholesale youth movement with Moritz Seider, Lucas Raymond, Joe Veleno, Givani Smith, Dennis Cholowski, and Gustav Lindstrom all become regulars in the Red Wings’ lineup?
The Red Wings finished the 2021 season with an overall record of 19-27-10, earning 47 points which ranked seventh in the Central Division.
It’s a group that finished with 125 total goals scored, which ranks 30th out of 31, plus allowed 168 goals that ranked 22nd in the league. The year 2021 also wasn’t kind to Detroit’s special teams. The Red Wings was only able to produce a power-play unit that converted a mere 10.81% of the time, yet the league average held firm at 20%. The Red Wings penalty-killing unit proved to be more productive than the PP group compared to the league average. Detroit successfully killed off 78% of their short-handed opportunities; the league average sits just shy of 80%.
As a team, the Red Wings produced a Corsi For Percentage (CF%) of 45.3% and a shooting percentage of 7%. The Red Wings struggled to finish despite having a plethora of high-level scoring chances throughout the season.
According to Hockey Reference, the Red Wings earned a whopping 52.9% high-danger scoring chances yet scored on just 13.8% of those chances. The Red Wings need to find a way to finish at a more consistent level moving forward. Should that improve next season by replacing the likes of Darren Helm and Valtteri Filppula with Raymond and Veleno? I expect so.
Four current unrestricted free agents the Detroit Red Wings should bring back in 2021.
I expect the honeymoon is finally over between Yzerman and Filppula. Yzerman brought Filppula to Tampa Bay during his time as the Lightning’s GM and once again signed the free agent to join the Red Wings. I don’t anticipate Filppula will return to the team for the 2021-22 season.
The Detroit Red Wings won’t likely bring back Darren Helm and Alex Biega. Unfortunately, Frans Nielsen, Danny DeKeyser, and Richard Panik will remain under contract beyond this offseason.
That leaves Yzerman with a few decisions to make moving forward.
The Detroit Red Wings should bring back Bobby Ryan.
The Detroit Red Wings should bring veteran winger Bobby Ryan back for the 2021-22 seasons. Ryan battled injuries for the better part of the year but proved to be worth every penny of his one-year deal that paid him just $1 million.
Ryan appeared in 33 games for the Red Wings this past season, scoring seven goals and totaling 14 points.
The 34-year old recently advocated that he’d love to return to the organization next season. Ryan is a player that can still play on an NHL third line plus on the power-play along with helping mentor the influx of youthful Red Wings expected to debut for the organization next season.
Another one-year deal worth $1-million will definitely be on the table moving forward.