The Detroit Red Wings finished the 2022-23 season on a five-game losing streak. A rough end to things and the final game of the year was a brutal way to finish it off, seeing Tampa Bay punch five goals into the back of the net.
The season was much more than a five-game skid for the Detroit Red Wings. There was a lot to like and a lot to be excited about—plenty to improve upon, change, and reflect on. It was good for the Red Wings to show the fans a taste of winning, though.
The Octopus Thrower staff will continue to pick apart the season, highlighting players who did well and players who need to make some changes, but let’s talk about some of the big-picture things as we close the curtains on 2022-23.
The season may be over, and the attention shifts to the off-season, but there’s still plenty to take in from the 82-game performance from Detroit. The ups and the downs made it what it was, but at a minimum, Detroit took steps in the right direction.
Closing the curtains on the Detroit Red Wings 2022-23 season.
The Detroit Red Wings’ biggest positive of this season was showing growth and improvement. The team was in the postseason hunt for a while; briefly or not, they were playing meaningful games and had a stretch where every game felt like it would have implications for the postseason if they did not win.
Ultimately the home-and-home with the Ottawa Senators in late February really put a damper on the postseason hopes, effectively ending them. It led to the trades, and we’ll get into that later. But the big thing to remember is how much the team was able to look more like a competitor at times in 2022-23.
They had pieces the pieces to crack the playoffs; things did not work out the right way. It’s not to say they would have made a cup run, but they could have at least snapped a playoff drought. It was a good year; plenty of improvement among players and extensions were handed out as some players got rewarded for their play.
Most importantly, on the individual front, the Red Wings locked up Dylan Larkin which is huge for the organization to know they have their guy moving forward. He was exceptional for the team’s offense this season, and Larkin signing an extension was terrific for the organization.
At times, things were rough. The power-play was not up to par, and struggled to perform at the level many were hoping. Alex Tanguay was supposed to be the guru that fixed it, and in reality, they performed around the same clip as last season.
Depth. Indeed the Red Wings’ offense and defense core was deeper than they have been in years. They had a complete team and looked better than years past, but this off-season needs to see the team sure up things with some added depth. It’s not the biggest knock on them after trade deadline moves pulled away some big pieces, and injuries did not help either, but depth needs to continue.
Goaltending is another spot. Ville Husso got run into the ground with how much he was used in 2022-23, and it was a massive uptick in games played for him. The results at the end of the year were poor; injured or not, still a tough go.
Magnus Hellberg had the backup role pretty much locked down until Alex Nedeljkovic returned from the minors, seemingly having found his game. He was much sharper in the crease than his first go-round of 2022-23. The team needs to make it a point to figure out what the plans are for their players in the crease ahead of 2023-24.
Let’s be clear. That does not mean getting rid of Husso or finding a new starting goalie. But being able to go into the year with a better idea of how much they can rely on back-ups needs to be prioritized as this year, it was a tough-go for Husso.
All-in-all, it was a good season. The Red Wings took strides with their rebuild. No matter the negatives from this year, the positives outweigh them. They showed that they can be a competitive hockey team and have the ability to do so.