Detroit Red Wings: Ranking teams in the Cap Era – #7


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 look  with the #7 team: The 2012-13 Detroit Red Wings

Previous Rankings:

#10 – 2013-2014 Red Wings
#9 – 2014-2015 Red Wings
#8 – 2011-2012 Red Wings

#7: 2012-13 Detroit Red Wings

Record: 24-16-8

Playoff Result: Lost in Western Conference Semi-Finals to Chicago, 4-3

Team MVP (Chosen by Octopus Thrower Staff): Pavel Datsyuk

Team’s Theme Song: Free Falling – Tom Petty

Heading into the 2012-2013 season

It was a season that almost never was – shortened by yet another lockout. Though the prior year’s first round exit against the Predators still stung, what hurt even more was the Perfect Human’s departure. For the first time in over 20 years, No. 5 would not be suiting up in a winged wheel. Given the previous losses of Brian Rafalski and Brad Stuart, Detroit’s blue line options had been decimated down to Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Kyle Quincey, Jakub Kindl, Brendan Smith, Carlo Colaiacovo, Ian White, Brian Lashoff, Kent Huskins and Danny Dekeyser. Ouch.

The 2012-2013 Regular Season in Review

The Wings struggled to find an identity all season, however, they played better than expected early and entered April with a 17-13-5 record.

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Three wins and six losses later, with their postseason fate in doubt, the Red Wings won their final four regular season games to sneak into the No. 7 spot. That earned them a first round matchup against the Anaheim Ducks.

The 2012-13 Stanley Cup Playoff

The moment that defined the 2013 Playoffs: Brent Seabrook’s Game 7 OT winning goal. Against all odds, the Wings managed to grab a 3-1 series lead against the the top-ranked Blackhawks, only to lose three straight games. It appeared as if Chicago had it won late in the game on a Niklas Hjalmarsson tally, but a whistle had blown prior to the goal, giving the Red Wings new life. That life lasted just 3:35 into overtime, when their season came to an end.

The Skinny: Detroit seemingly overacheived in the playoffs. Having backed into its first round series against the Ducks, the Red Wings surprised all the pundits by defeating Anaheim in seven games. It was done in impressive fashion, no less, winning Games 6 and 7 after falling behind 3-2 in the series. Henrik Zetterberg kept the season alive with his Game 6 OT winner, and the Wings finished the job on the road to set up a Western Conference showdown with the heavily favored Chicago Blackhawks.

The season itself was disappointing, though the transition season everyone saw coming actually ended a little later than anyone expected. Gustav Nyquist burst onto the scene and gave everyone a glimpse of the future, and suddenly Red Wings fans didn’t feel quite as empty.

Why they earned their #7 ranking:

The surprising playoff run. A weak showing in a lockout-shortened 48-game season would have doomed this team to a lower status, but they showed some mettle by stepping up and giving the eventual Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks a scare in the second round. Forward Damien Brunner never quite panned out as fans had hoped, but in fairness it was tough on everyone with just 48 games to prove their worth. The season was the first true transition year for the team, but also showed that while there may be some rocky times ahead, they may not slip into the rebuilding abyss that at one time seemed inevitable.

Next Up: #6: 2009-2010 Detroit Red Wings

Next: Appreciating the Red Wings' Sustained Success

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