Detroit Red Wings disrespected in latest power rankings

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Detroit Red Wings General Manager Steve Yzerman has had a hectic (in a good way) off-season, yet the organization failed to receive much love in a recent power rankings release.

Ansar Khan of the Detroit News recently released his rendition of how he feels the Atlantic Division will shape up this season. So a quick reminder of how things work in the current playoff format. The top three teams from each division automatically earn a playoff spot, then there are two Wild Card spots, and those can go to any remaining team in their conference. For example, if the Detroit Red Wings are playing for a Wild Card position and finish fourth in their division but are behind two teams from the Metropolitan, they will miss the playoffs.

That said, here is how Khan sees things shaking out in the Atlantic Division this upcoming season. He’s got the high-powered Toronto Maple Leafs finishing first, followed by the Florida Panthers, who squeezed into the postseason last year on the final day of the regular season and rode a remarkably hot steak and goaltender to the NHL Finals before falling to the Vegas Golden Knights. Then he predicted that the Tampa Bay Lightning would finish third. I can certainly see these three teams being atop the Atlantic Division in 2023-24, but things get a bit dicey following that.

Khan has the Boston Bruins finishing fourth in the Atlantic following an off-season that saw the organization lose a few significant pieces. This summer, the Bruins lost Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci to retirement, and they’ve also lost a ton of valuable depth pieces, such as former Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi plus former No.1 overall pick Taylor Hall. They also lost a top rental defenseman from last season in Dmitri Orlov, and some valuable role players in Connor Clifton and Garnet Hathaway.

Now, it’s hard to criticize an organization coming off a record-breaking season where they amassed 135 points and 65 wins, but last year it really felt like Stanley Cup or bust, and not just bust for the season, bust knowing a lot of their pieces wouldn’t be returning this summer. Boston added James van Riemsdyk, Milan Lucic, and Kevin Shattenkirk to replace the departing players. The trio of veteran players will serve as depth behind Boston’s core four of David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, Charlie Coyle, and Charlie McAvoy. Boston is also in great shape in goal with Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman, but I could see a team like Boston slipping a bit further than many expect.

Even if Boston finds a way to tread water better than I expect, that doesn’t rule out the Detroit Red Wings making a playoff push, but it leaves them less room for error. I don’t have any real gripes with Khan’s top-four, but as I was reading, I was expecting to see Detroit placed in the ‘five’ spot, but I quickly became discouraged to see Buffalo instead.

The Detroit Red Wings get no love in recent power rankings.

Again, nothing against Khan, I have mad respect for his work and opinions, and it’s not outrageous to suggest Buffalo will be better than Detroit this upcoming season. Maybe I am just overly optimistic about how much improved I expect the Detroit Red Wings to be this forthcoming year following a wildly busy summer.

Buffalo is led by Tage Thompson and a rejuvenated Jeff Skinner, along with Dylan Cozens, who emerged as one of the best young centers last season. The Sabres also have two young studs in, Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power, on the backend. There must be some concerns in goal, though. Buffalo will enter the year with Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Mike Comrie as their top two netminders. Thompson is an elite-level scorer, but after that, I would put the rest of the Detroit Red Wings lineup up against them player-for-player with confidence.

There is a chance Alex DeBrincat can become the elite-level scorer the Detroit Red Wings have lacked for years. The Detroit Red Wings have much more depth than Buffalo throughout their lineup, especially with their newly constructed group of bottom-six forwards. Also, Yzerman has made it clear by how he’s built his backend that the organization will make a playoff push after adding a trio of steady, veteran defensemen. Plus, as I mentioned before, Buffalo fans likely won’t admit it, but there must be some concerns in goal, and in Detroit, Ville Husso proved in year one with the organization that he has the makings of a bona fide number-one netminder.

Next. Shayne Gostisbehere looking to cash in with Detroit. dark

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Khan finished his prediction with Detroit finishing sixth in the Atlantic, meaning he has them missing the playoffs again. Then it is Ottawa and Montreal rounding out the division. We’ll see how this all shakes out, but for now, I respectfully disagree and would flip-flop Buffalo and Detroit. I also feel the Red Wings will be right on the heels of the Bruins and wouldn’t be entirely surprised if they finished a point or two ahead of Boston this season.