3 X-Factors that will make or break the rest of the Red Wings season

The Detroit Red Wings are still well in the playoff hunt in the second half of February, but they are barely hanging onto a wild card spot at the moment.

Feb 10, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA;  Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin (71) skates with the
Feb 10, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin (71) skates with the / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
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The Yzerplan needs to go into overdrive

Despite more than a few poor seasons throughout the Steve Yzerman era, the plan is finally taking hold to a degree. While the Red Wings appear to be a step ahead of the “non-playoff teams” in the Atlantic Division from last season, they are still clinging to that second wild card spot, and sooner than later, they need to cross that threshold and return to the playoffs. 

This is Yzerman’s fifth season in Detroit, and still, they are nothing more than a bubble team at the moment. That said, Yzerman needs to have more of a sense of urgency at the trade deadline and make at least one more blockbuster move to all but guarantee this team a wild card spot come the back half of April.

Someone like Jakob Chychrun would be outstanding, or a goaltender capable of pulling off consistent starts every time they are in the net. This isn’t to say Yzerman has done a poor job, as his moves have pulled the Red Wings into contention.

But if the Devils keep surging and Detroit keeps stagnating, they will once again be going home following an 82-game season. Yzerman built this team through trades and free agency, and now it’s time to show us that his methods work wonders like they did during his days in Tampa.

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(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference as of February 16th)