Detroit snuck into the postseason for the 25th straight season with 93 points, just beating out Boston by just one regulation/overtime win. They still hold the longest playoff streak in sports, seven years more than the second longest streak held by the San Antonio Spurs. Unfortunately, their playoff run ended quickly, losing to Tampa Bay in the first round.
The Red Wings suffered the biggest loss out of anybody as superstar forward, Pavel Datsyuk, decided to head back home in Russia and play in the KHL. Fortunately for them, they were able to unload his cap hit of $7.5 million. Arizona was the helper, giving them Joe Vitale and the 20th pick for the contract and the 16th pick.
In free agency, Detroit acquired Frans Nielsen, a very good top 9 center who can give you 20+ goals and 50-60 points. He also is up there with Jussi Jokinen as one of the top shootout performers in the league.
Also in free agency, they acquired Thomas Vanek. They can only hope, however, that this once elite offensive force can resurrect his career. After years as a point per game player has had just 41 and 52 points the last two seasons. His 40 goal scoring ability has diminished to 20 or less. It’s not possible to tell how effective he will be, but together with Nielsen, they could possibly replace the production lost with the departure of Datsyuk. Their last acquisition was Steve Ott, who will give them some grit in the bottom six.
Looking at their offseason, I think they’ll have a similar season fighting for a playoff spot. I think the additions to the top 9 and their added depth will get them their 26th straight playoff appearance.