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Fantasy Hockey 2019-20 Team Previews: Detroit Red Wings

Searching for that superstar

USA Today/Pete Rogers Illustrations

In this 31 part series, I will be working my way back from 31st to 1st in my projected 2019-2020 standings. I will first note some ongoing trends that are happening in the league. Goals scored per game went up for the fourth consecutive season (at 3.01 goals per game last year), shots against finally dipped last season to 31.3 per game after increasing for four consecutive seasons previously. It’s clear the league’s push towards offense is yielding its intended effect.

Fifth up are the Detroit Red Wings who are in their 94th year as a team. After going 25 consecutive seasons making the playoffs from 1991 – 2016, they have missed the playoffs in three consecutive years (the last time they missed the playoffs in three consecutive years was 1981-1983).

2018 – 2019 NHL Stats

  • NHL Standings: 28th
  • Goals for Rank: 21st
  • Goals against Rank: 27th
  • PP Rank: 19th
  • PK Rank: 28th

Projected 2019-2020 NHL Stats

  • NHL Standings: 27th
  • Eastern Conference Standings: 15th
  • Atlantic Division Standings: 7th
  • Coach: Jeff Blashill (This will be his 5th season with the Red Wings; 136-145-47 regular season; 1-4 postseason).


On offense, my personal take with the Red Wings is that they are struggling to find their superstar. They have Dylan Larkin who put up 73 points last year (42nd most in the NHL) including 32 goals (35th most in the NHL). He’s great but he’s not the star that they need. This is a team that for years had Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. When I look at the names behind Dylan I see hard skating, physically active talents such as Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm and Andreas Athanasiou. To me these are similar players who will have about 30PIM and put up around 40 points. The team had players like Gustav Nyquist who were more stick savvy and less in the physical game but he was traded to San Jose. I think Tyler Bertuzzi could be the success that this team needs, he reads the ice well and finds himself in the right position on plays. He won the Calder Cup in 2017 and I think he could make a step towards a 60 point player in hits third full season this year. This team had the 26th most shots on goal, a metric that for years they excelled in. Additionally, some good drafts have built a group of young talent that is working it’s way up currently.

Defensively, I see a number of defensive players who are now on the back half of their careers and don’t seem to have lived up to the hype. Danny DeKeyser was highly touted Jonathan Ericsson was supposed to be a game changer for them. Age has caught up and their defensive unit now has three players 33 or older and. One bright spot in age is Filip Hronek, drafted 53rd overall in 2016 was very skilled with the AHL Griffins the last few years and he came up for 46 games scoring 23 points last year. Filip needs to work on his defense play a bit to match his offensive skills. Overall though the struggle for this position is there, three of their defensemen last year had a -10 or worse at the end of the season. Finally, the question of whether Niklas Kronwall is coming back or retiring is still being tossed around too.

In net Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Bernier both had above a 3.00 GAA and a .910 or worse sv%. This puts both of them outside the top 39 in GAA and the top 29 in Sv%. The team had the 28th most shots against last year and the 27th most goals against last year. At age 30 and 35 I’m not overtly optimistic on them improving much at this point in their career so I would expect another year of bottom third goals allowed from them. The team signed Calvin Pickard from the Coyotes in the offseason, he will be on his fourth team in as many years where he has not posted beneath a 3.00GAA or above a .900 Sv%.

Behind the bench, Jeff Blashill came over from the Grand Rapids Griffins where he made the playoffs each of the three years he coached and won the Calder Cup his first year behind the bench. Since joining the Red Wings he has considerably less success.

Major Additions

  • Valtteri Filppula comes back to Detroit
  • Calvin Pickard

Major Subtractions

  • Gustav Nyquist

Prospects and Picks

Filip Zadina — I still vividly remember his promise to make the teams who passed him by on draft day regret it when he was taken 6th overall in 2018 and I still think the Red Wings got steal with him. He came up for nine games last year scoring three points to go along with the 35 that he put up with the Grand Rapids Griffins across 59 games with them. He is very much a top six player at this point and should be counted upon to potentially score 20 goals for the team.

Sleeper Fantasy Asset

Tyler BertuzziIn his first year, Tyler put up 24 points in 48 games. Last year he put up 47 points in 73 games and I think he continues his momentum upward. He is learning the game, evolving as a player and does not shy away from contact, he helps make the potential top line of Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha work well and if they can click, this line will be relied upon to carry a lot of the offense this year.

Cap Situation: (per CapFriendly)

$76MM Spent; $5.3M in Cap room; 21 players signed.