Detroit Red Wings: Ranking teams in the Cap Era – Part 1


Over the next two weeks, Octopus Thrower will rank each of the ten Detroit Red Wings teams during the Salary Cap Era which began with the 2005-2006 season.

Regular Season and Stanley Cup Playoff success were both used as the metrics for judging ranking. Stanley Cup Playoff success was given a greater weight when determining final rankings. 

Today we start with the #10 team: The 2013-2014 Detroit Red Wings

#10: 2013-2014 Detroit Red Wings

Record: 39-28-15

Playoff Result: Lost in Atlantic Semi-Final to Boston, 4-1

Team MVP (Chosen by Octopus Thrower Staff): Gustav Nyquist

Team’s Theme Song: The Kids Are Alright – The Who

Heading into the 2013-2014 season

The Red Wings entered the off-season as the only team that gave eventual champion Chicago a scare. The Wings were up 3-1 in the Western Conference Semi-Finals before losing a gut-wrenching Game 7 2-1 in overtime.

More from Octopus Thrower

It was a nod to the coming Blackhawks dominance over the next three years as the Red Wings fled the Western Conference for the Eastern.

In the offseason, Detroit added Stephen Weiss, and Daniel Alfredsson in an absolute shocker of a free agent signing.

The 2013-2014 Regular Season in Review

The Red Wings started the season challenging for the Atlantic crown, but would yield that to becoming the walking (skating?) wounded. Second to only the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Red Wings had 421 man-games lost which ushered in the youth movement whether the Red Wings were ready or not. Gustav Nyquist put the league on notice, scoring 28 goals in only 57 games, after being relegated to Grand Rapids while Dan Cleary and Mikael Samuelsson continued to earn unGodly amounts of ice time.

Ken Holland infamously called the NHL “a man’s league” when defending his decision to keep younger players like Nyquist in the minors for the aforementioned Cleary and Samuelsson. But even Holland had to go back on his word when the Red Wings injuries suffocated the team. It was the first time in a long while where it looked like the Wings could miss the playoffs. But led by the kids (without Captain Henrik Zetterberg from February on), the Red Wings squeaked in as a wild card entrant.

The 2014 Stanley Cup Playoff

The moment that defined the 2014 Playoffs: Zdeno Chara taunting an overmatched Brendan Smith . You know, when Chara looked like Soda Popinski or Don Flamingo while Smitty looked like Little Mac.

The Skinny: Not much to see here. Pavel Datsyuk’s lone goal in Game 1 gave Red Wings fans an unrealistic expectation of knocking off the defending Eastern Conference Champion Boston Bruins.

More from All-Time Lists

The Red Wings dropped the next four, including a back breaking Game 4 where they surrendered a 2-0 lead and lost 3-2 in overtime. Game 5 was an expected loss and the kids looked very much like kids in a quick five-game series loss.

Why they earned their #10 ranking 

Out of the ten teams, this was the one that looked like they would miss the playoffs. While 2013 was nerve wracking to the end, it was a 48-game season. Head coach Mike Babcock’s stubborn insistence to play veterans (with an assist from Holland)  drove the fan base mad. Once the kids were allowed to play, success followed. Albeit measured success. Before we could even settle into the playoffs as Red Wings fans, they were over. It was a far cry from the seasons where a first round exit was an “upset.” For the second time in three seasons, the Wings were out before the calendar turned to May.

Next Up: #9: 2014-2015 Detroit Red Wings

Next: Celebrating the Bruise Brothers: Joey Kocur and Bob Probert

More from Octopus Thrower