As the season ends Saturday night we look towards the off-season for answers to the Red Wings future. Detroit went through one of the worst seasons in franchise history and currently in position to land a Top 5 pick in this year’s NHL draft. This off-season will be huge in terms of where the Red Wings go with their rebuild. It will either help them go in the right direction or set them back a few more years. Here I go into some key things that could shape the Red Wings rebuild this off-season
The GM Situation
As of today, reports are saying that the Red Wings will bring back Ken Holland as General Manager with or without a contract. The decision for why ownership is bringing back Ken Holland is beyond me or anyone right now, however it’s not a very popular one. So far there hasn’t been an official announcement that Holland will come back or if the team will decide to move in a different direction at General Manager to lead the rebuilding process. Ownership must know that their decision could affect the Red Wings for years to come.
The Draft Lottery
Draft position will really determine things as the team who lands the No. 1 pick will most likely draft defenseman Rasmus Dahlin. Red Wings will be hoping to land the top pick in the draft or at least a top 3 pick to find that franchise cornerstone player. As it stands the Red Wings odds can go no higher than 6th and can go no lower than 3rd. If the Red Wings can at least obtain a top 5 pick they will be in a good spot.
Outside of the lottery, the draft itself will be key to the teams rebuild. The team must draft and develop their players which have been preached time and time again. This year Detroit holds 11 picks in the draft which includes an additional first round pick. Scouting and their general manager (whoever that is) must nail these picks.
Fixing the Cap Issues
A hole that Ken Holland placed Detroit in. The Red Wings currently have a few contracts that are hurting the team’s salary cap. This off-season we could see the Red Wings work the phones a bit and trade some of those contracts to possibly free up some cap space. Could Gustav Nyquist be on the move? Will Detroit finally buyout Jonathan Ericsson? Team has to make room to sign Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou, and Anthony Mantha as they become Restricted Free-Agents at the end of the season. This has to be the season where the Red Wings start creating some cap space by parting with bad contracts, obtaining more picks, and using those spots to bring some Griffins prospects onto the Red Wings roster for valuable NHL experience.