7 games Red Wings fans must mark on their calendars in 2024-25

Anything less than playoffs should be an unacceptable result for the Red Wings in 2024-25, and seven big matchups will be pivotal to their success.
Buffalo Sabres v Detroit Red Wings
Buffalo Sabres v Detroit Red Wings / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

Alright, this is it, the ultimate test for the Detroit Red Wings and general manager Steve Yzerman as failure in 2024-25 is not an option. To be clear, failure means failing to earn a playoff berth, and one way to inch closer to that goal is to win every notable game on the Red Wings schedule listed below. 

Many of these matchups are “measuring sticks” as they will occur against some of the NHL’s most talented teams, but two will come against organizations who could be on par with the Red Wings. Finally, there is one game listed that could raise some eyebrows, but you’ll understand my justifications for listing it after I explain my reasoning. 

October 14th vs. New York Rangers

Nothing provides a better measuring stick than facing off with the defending Presidents’ Trophy recipients. If the Red Wings can win this game, they’ll create some early momentum before they face the Rangers again a few days later on October 17th in New York. 

October 22nd vs. New York Islanders

While they finished third in the Metropolitan Division last season, the New York Islanders were a team the Red Wings found themselves in a race against for a wild card spot throughout most of the season. Expect the Isles to once again be part of that playoff race, and if they’re sticking around the wild card again they’re a team the Red Wings must beat not just in the season series opener, but in every meeting. 

October 26th at Buffalo Sabres

Steve Yzerman and Kevyn Adams have both opted for slow builds and both fanbases should be demanding for each organization to take the next step. One way to prove that there has been growth will be to get the best of the Sabres, not just here, but in each meeting between the Atlantic Division rivals. But once again, we’re talking about momentum, and the best way to do that is to skate into Buffalo and take Game 1 of the season series. 

October 27th vs. Edmonton Oilers

The Red Wings were part of the Western Conference for a long time, and while they weren’t geographic rivals with the Oilers, Edmonton will enter the 2024-25 season as the defending conference champions. For a team looking to break through the playoff barrier this season, getting the best of a powerhouse hockey team like the Oilers is a good place to prove their worth. 

January 16th at Florida Panthers

Earlier, I had the Red Wings facing a pair of powerhouse hockey teams - the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Rangers and the Western Conference Champion Edmonton Oilers. Let’s complete the trifecta and pit the Wings against the Stanley Cup Champions, the Florida Panthers, which will serve as the ultimate measuring stick game and season series. 

February 27th vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets

While the Columbus Blue Jackets don’t look terrible on paper, they’re still likely going to struggle in 2024-25. This will be the first of back-to-back games before the two teams, and since these contests will take place eerily close to the NHL trade deadline, these two matchups will be pivotal for a Red Wings team that must win every game they can against easier opponents. But I rolled with the February 27th matchup over the one taking place a few days later because if the Wings take the first, they will build some momentum for the next meeting two days later. 

March 6th vs. Utah Hockey Club

Few teams in the NHL will want to make an impression more than the new Utah Hockey Club, and this will mark the first matchup in history between the Red Wings and Utah. At this point, we’re all expecting Detroit to be in the thick of the playoff race while Utah will be striving to build a base of lifelong fans not just in Salt Lake City but across the NHL universe.