This is a strange one…While setting up tomorrow’s Red Wings-Vegas Golden Knights game, MLive’s Ansar Khan offers a fair bit of criticism toward the Red Wings’ coaching, management and scouts:
Vegas is set up to succeed for years. The Red Wings are just beginning what could be a long and painful process. It’s due to several factors, including poor drafting, lack of trades, bad contracts and player regression under coach Jeff Blashill.
Detroit’s success resulted in no pick higher than 19th from 1992 to 2013. The Red Wings traded six first-round picks from 1997 to 2004 for established players (Brendan Shanahan, Chris Chelios, Dominik Hasek, Robert Lang).
None of their top picks from 2005 to 2011 remain on their roster (Jakub Kindl, Cory Emmerton, Brendan Smith, Tom McCollum, Landon Ferraro, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco).
Their ability to land a high-impact defenseman anywhere in the draft since 2000 (Niklas Kronwall) has hurt
Drafting and trading are more important in today’s NHL due to a decline in the free-agent market caused by more teams locking up players to long-term deals.
General manager Ken Holland hasn’t made an impactful player for player trade in some time. No player on the current roster was acquired through trade.
The Red Wings have several big contracts (money and term) that would be difficult to move: Justin Abdelkader (five more years at a $4.25 million cap hit), Danny DeKeyser (four years at $5 million), Frans Nielsen (four years at $5.25 million) and Darren Helm (three years at $3.85 million).
Is there hope? Definitely, as the Red Wings have finally begun to hit on some prospects worth their salt in the draft, and the Wings are flush with picks for the next couple of drafts, with high-level prospects on the way…
But in the interim, the Red Wings may be mediocre for another year or three, as Khan suggests:
A core of talented, young forwards and a bevy of picks provides hope for the future, but it could be a while before the Red Wings get to where the Golden Knights are.