The Detroit Red Wings and Mulan

As I rewatch Mulan countless times, I can’t help but draw similarities to the Detroit Red Wings.
Detroit Red Wings v Philadelphia Flyers
Detroit Red Wings v Philadelphia Flyers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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Steve Yzerman might need to pick a lane. Is this team going for the playoffs, or is the goal to improve the Red Wings through their prospects? Although the veterans have taken the Detroit Red Wings toward the playoffs, it might be at the expense of players like Jonatan Berggren and Simon Edvinsson.

While some fans may argue that if either player was good enough, they would make the roster. Likely, you would be correct. At the same time, a player like Berggren isn’t going to improve much in the American Hockey League (AHL). Could his defensive game be better? Yes. Is it going to improve in the AHL? Probably not. He can cheat, and Berggren knows it. He’s better than the league and needs more of a challenge than only the best hockey league in the world provides. Maybe if he gets a real shot in the lineup, especially on the power play, he might be more inclined to defend as well. 

For Edvinsson, I’ve seen it circulating that he needs to work on his timing and making decisions. In other words, he’s not making plays quickly enough at the National Hockey League (NHL) level. I’d argue that Edvinsson is a brilliant mind. However, if anyone wants him to make quick decisions, his consistency will become a huge question mark. From my viewing, Edvinsson performs better when he takes a moment to evaluate the ice before making a play. Of course, it’s not a long time, but it’s also not instantaneous as some people might want to make it.

Instead of demanding a player to adhere to the system (the way the team thinks he should play), maybe the team should mold him. They have enough players between Dylan Larkin and Jake Walman who can push pace north at a quick pace. To have a defenseman who can slow the game down while making wise, creative decisions would, at the very least, be okay. More than likely, especially with Edvinsson’s abilities, it would result in incredible fun.

Molding a system to the players’ strengths that they already have in their system is where the Detroit Red Wings will have the biggest payoff,  I think.

If the Red Wings are adamant about becoming a playoff team, they must go after another center and a goalie. The goalie is important, of course. Alex Lyon has looked promising in his starts, but for some reason, the Wings don’t see him as the answer in the net (I’m not sure why; they’re weird with who they pick and choose as part of their haves versus have-nots). Even if they put more chips on Lyon, he may get injured (or might still be battling a lingering injury), so it’s important to find more insurance in the net. As for the centers, while they have significantly improved this season, we saw the results after Larkin, J.T. Compher, and Joseph Veleno were injured. The likelihood of all these players being injured again at the same time isn’t great, but it’s well above zero.

To ensure they have enough depth, they need to get a center. Ideally, a top-six center, but those are difficult to come by in trades. If I’m Yzerman, I’m swinging for the fences. We’d have to part with a top defensive prospect and possibly even a young, non-NHL center. If the playoffs are truly the goal, these are the two bare minimum acquisitions.

Surely, there’s more of a down-the-middle approach and countless other options. However, it seems like Yzerman has his hands in a lot of candy jars. Sometime, sooner than later, he will have to commit to one path.

Much like Mulan, these Wings have to decide who they want to be and take action accordingly.