As each NHL team is eliminated from playoff contention — either mathematically or by losing in the postseason — we’ll take a look at why its quest for the Stanley Cup fell short in 2018-19, along with three keys to its offseason, impact prospects for 2019-20 and a way-too-early prediction on what 2019-20 will hold.
What went wrong
While there were some bright spots this season for the Detroit Red Wings, so much else went very, very wrong for them.
They were 25th in team save percentage (.898) and 21st in shooting percentage (9.0). They were 25th in shot attempt differential (47.86 percent), 26th in scoring chance differential (47.23 percent) and 30th in goals-for percentage (44.80) at 5-on-5. They started the season with a seven-game winless streak, and then uncorked an eight-game one in February into March, part of an overall 3-12-3 streak that officially sank their season, if injuries hadn’t done so already. To wit, only two Red Wings players saw action in every game of the 2019-20 season.
But it wasn’t all bad! Forward Andreas Athanasiou had a breakout season, with 24 goals. Dylan Larkin continued his maturation with a team-leading 27 goals and 35 assists. Tyler Bertuzzi took an expanded role and ran with it, having his best season in the NHL. Even 34-year-old goalie Jimmy Howard put together an All-Star season until, like nearly everything else with this team, it all just fell apart.