Quick Bit: The Red Wings made some noise this summer in free agency.

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There are certain things that one must not do in the hockey world. Don’t snow the goalie, don’t step on the logo and don’t ever doubt Steve Yzerman.

The 2022 offseason has turned into the summer of Stevie Y. The Red Wings general manager has come out swinging, trading for and signing a number of players that fill key components on Detroit’s roster that they were missing.

After six seasons of being under .500 and sitting at the bottom of the NHL, the Red Wings’ rebuild looks to be almost over. Detroit took a step forward last season, thanks to the emergence of rookies Mo Seider and Lucas Raymond. With Simon Edvinsson expected to arrive this fall, the prospects are slowly graduating to the NHL and the Red Wings have a young, hungry group.

Yzerman let go of coach Jeff Blashill and brought in Derek Lalonde, who was an assistant coach with the Lightning for the past four seasons. It seems as though all of the pieces are falling into place in the Motor City.

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The question now is, will it be enough for next season? Detroit is by no means in need of rushing things along, but given all of the acquisitions, will the Red Wings be able to contend for the 2023 playoffs?

Red Wings offseason moves

Key players added: D Ben Chiarot, C Andrew Copp, G Ville Husso, F Dominik Kubalik, F David Perron, D Olli Maatta
Key players lost: G Thomas Greiss, G Calvin Pickard, D Marc Staal

There were a couple of major needs for the Red Wings heading into the summer and Yzerman went out and addressed them as needed.

Detroit needed to find their second-line center to play behind Dylan Larkin, and they were able to bring in Andrew Copp on a five-year, $25 million contract. He’s a versatile forward who grabbed everyone’s attention late last season when he was traded to the Rangers from the Jets.

With New York, Copp posted 18 points in 16 regular season games and followed that with 14 points in 20 games during the Rangers’ run to the Eastern Conference Finals. A Michigan native and Wolverine alum, Copp should be a perfect fit for the Red Wings.

The other major concern was the left side of the blue line, and Yzerman signed Ben Chiarot and Olli Maatta. Edvinsson is expected to get his first taste of the NHL next season, but was not going to be ready for top minutes — yet. Chiarot was brought on a four-year deal and will likely be on the top pair with Seider. Maatta, who signed a one-year deal, can play a top-four role until Edvinsson is ready to take on a larger workload.

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Yzerman also sent a third-round pick for the rights of goaltender Ville Husso, who was regarded as one of, if not the top free agent goalie on the market. All it cost was a third-round pick going the Blues’ way to get Husso, who then signed a three-year extension with the team.

Husso is coming off a breakout year with St. Louis, finishing the regular season 25-7-6 with a 2.56 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage. The Red Wings will roll with a solid tandem of Husso and Alex Nedeljkovic next season in net.

Detroit also brought in a veteran scoring wing in David Perron and took a flyer on a short-term for Dominik Kubalik, who was a Calder Trophy finalist in 2019-20.

How do the Red Wings shape up with the rest of the Atlantic Division?

Just because Detroit got a whole lot better does not make them automatic playoff contenders.

They are in arguably the toughest division in the NHL right now. Looking at the four teams that made the playoffs last season, all four are arguably in better spots than the Red Wings.

The Panthers didn’t make any major additions with their cap troubles, and lost Mason Marchment in free agency, but still have their core group together. The Maple Leafs brought in Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov as their goaltending tandem and we’ll see if that helps them get over the first-round hump.

The Lightning are the Lightning and re-upped a bunch of their players while not bringing in anyone significant. They did lose Ondrej Palat in free agency. The Bruins are going to have to deal with the losses of Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk at the beginning of the season, but still have their core group intact and will get three of those players back at some point.

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The bottom line is the four playoff teams from the Atlantic last season are heading into the fall with rosters that are very similar to last year’s and will very well compete for a postseason spot.

You also have to consider that the Senators made two big moves in acquiring Alex DeBrincat and signing Claude Giroux. With a young core in Ottawa that is only going to get better with progression, they are in a similar spot to the Red Wings where they are coming out of a rebuild and are about ready to contend.

The Sabres are a small step behind the Red Wing’s rebuild, but are will be contending in a year or two and actually had a better record than Detroit last season. As for Montreal … well the Canadiens will likely be battling with absolutely no one for last place.

Will the Red Wings make the 2023 playoffs?

Like they did in the first half of last season, the Red Wings are going to make it difficult for other teams night in and night out. Long gone are the days of checking off an easy W when you see Detroit on the schedule.

With that said, I don’t think Detroit makes the playoffs. There are just too many teams that are already established as capable playoff teams and another team that is looking to enter into that category.

While I see an improvement in their record as the Red Wings get closer to the 85-95 point range, it won’t be enough to get them into the postseason.

Originally found on Sporting News Read More

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