If we are to believe ESPN’s “NHL Future Power Rankings,” all three of ESPN’s Emily Kaplan, Greg Wyshynski and Chris Peters are not predicting improvement for the Red Wings over the next three seasons under GM Steve Yzerman. The trio give the Wings a very average “C” grade and a 27th overall ranking for the present and near future:
27. Detroit Red Wings
Overall score: 71.6
Why they’re here: When the Red Wings’ dynastic run fizzled out, all that was left was the memories and bloated contracts. OK, it wasn’t that dire. But the rebuild has been slow, as Detroit waits for unfavorable contracts to get off the books. Now that Steve Yzerman is in charge, there’s hope that the path back to winning can be expedited. — Kaplan
Points of concern: The Red Wings deserve credit in rebuilding their prospect pool, only in the sense that they’ve taken it from “none” to “Filip Zadina.” It remains an average group, despite three straight non-playoff seasons. The Wings have regrettable contracts from a bygone era of quasi-contention, like Justin Abdelkader‘s still-baffling deal that offers him full trade protection through 2023. One bit of intrigue: All the restricted free agents that the Red Wings have next summer, a group of young players assembled while GM Steve Yzerman was building the Lightning: What becomes of them? — Wyshynski
Cornerstone prospects: Even though Filip Zadina underwhelmed last season, I think he still has the ability to be a game-breaking player and a long-term top-six winger for the team. Joseph Veleno might be the Swiss army knife who does a little bit of everything, and now we’re going to have to see what recent first-rounder Moritz Seider brings to the table. That trio gives the Red Wings a decent core of young prospects who could eventually fill significant roles. — Peters
Continued (paywall); I’d like to believe that the cupboard isn’t as bare as predicted.