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Detroit Red Wings season snapshot

Developing young players, stockpiling draft picks during rebuilding phase

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

With the NHL pausing the 2019-20 regular season on March 12 due to the concerns surrounding the coronavirus, NHL.com is taking stock of each of the League's 31 teams.

Today, a snapshot of the Detroit Red Wings at the pause:

 

 

Detroit Red Wings

Record: 17-49-5, 39 points

Playoff position: Last place in Eastern Conference, eliminated from playoff contention

The Red Wings were the only team eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention before the pause. They are last in the NHL standings, 23 points behind the 30th-place Ottawa Senators, and rank last in offense (2.00 goals per game) and defense (3.73 goals-against per game).

But this was always supposed to be the start of a rebuilding process under Steve Yzerman, the former Red Wings captain and Tampa Bay Lightning general manager who was hired as GM on April 19, 2019.

 

More Red Wings season snapshot coverage: Awards | Fantasy honors | Memorable moments

 

After the NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 24, Yzerman said it was unfair to judge coach Jeff Blashill, who is in his fifth season, on Detroit's record. Yzerman said he didn't expect the Red Wings to make the playoffs. Everything would had to have gone right, and many things went wrong, including injuries.

Instead, Detroit tried to develop young players in its system and stockpile draft picks.

At the trade deadline, the Red Wings received a second-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and 2021 NHL Draft from the Edmonton Oilers in a trade that featured forward Andreas Athanasiou.

For trading defenseman Mike Green to the Oilers, they received a conditional pick in the 2020 or 2021 draft. If Edmonton advances to the Western Conference Final with Green playing in at least 50 percent of the games in the first and second round combined, Detroit will receive a third-round pick in 2021. Otherwise, it will be a fourth-round pick in 2020.

That means the Red Wings have six picks in the first three rounds this year (one in the first, three in the second and two in the third) and five in the first three rounds of 2021 (one in the first and two each in the second and third), including a sixth if the pick for Green becomes a third. And if they end up last in the standings, they'll also have the best odds for the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery this year.

Video: Top 10 Red Wings Plays ... Thus Far

 

Breakout player

Filip Hronek: The 22-year-old defenseman has set NHL career highs in games (65), goals (nine), assists (22), points (31; tied for fourth on Red Wings) and average ice time (23:54; leads Detroit) while playing against top opponents at even strength and on the power play and penalty kill.

Video: DET@ANA: Hronek hammers Bowey's dish by Miller

 

Statement win

Red Wings 3, Boston Bruins 1, Feb. 9: After losing 10 of their previous 11 games (1-9-1), including being shut out in three of their previous four, the Red Wings defeated the Bruins at Little Caesars Arena for the second time this season, ending the defending Eastern Conference champions' six-game winning streak. Athanasiou scored two goals, and Jonathan Bernier made 39 saves.

Watch the full game for free on NHL.TV

 

Most compelling game

Red Wings 4, Montreal Canadiens 3, Feb. 18: The Canadiens led 3-1 entering the third period at Little Caesars Arena, but the Red Wings rallied with three goals -- two by Athanasiou and one by Green -- in a showcase ahead of the trade deadline. Detroit swept the four-game season series from Montreal, the first time the Red Wings swept a season series of at least that length against the Canadiens.

Watch the full game for free on NHL.TV

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