The Athletic’s Max Bultman offers a “state of the franchise” this morning, discussing the Wings’ roster strengths and weaknesses, the team’s top prospects, the Wings’ cap situation, the biggest question facing the team and the team’s special teams play. This is a “season preview”article in spirit:
Here’s Bultman’s conclusion:
It’s hard to overstate how important the 2018 draft was for this franchise. It’s still far too early to make proclamations about how any of the prospects will pan out, but there’s a pretty clear infusion of talent that gives reason to think better days may be ahead. If Zadina makes his debut early in the season, that energy could start to bubble soon.
But the weighty contracts for Abdelkader, Ericsson and DeKeyser are still very much an issue right now. Again, there’s no massive repercussion for a team that’s not likely to contend anyway, but cap space is its own form of asset, and it’s one Detroit simply doesn’t have. Things should begin to balance out as young players continue to trickle up the chain, and that’s where getting them ice time becomes essential. The season will be defined by the strides those players make.
Going forward, the Red Wings still need to add high-end blueliners and another top center — though Larkin’s continued development could certainly ease the urgency there. The franchise is still not in an ideal situation. But it’s definitely farther along than it was a year ago.
Bultman continues (paywall), and his article is worth your time.