DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings are the worst team in the NHL right now.
No, that’s not necessarily a surprise to anyone. They were not expected to be a playoff team, but it is a little shocking to see them this terrible.
Detroit’s record is 4-11-1 after 16 games played. They have one win in their past 12 games. It’s not so much the losing that has critics piling on them, it’s the way they are losing. They rarely have a lead, and when they do they never hold onto it. Overall, they aren’t scoring many goals -- they have 34 through 16 games, putting them at 30th overall in the league. Only the Chicago Blackhawks have less goals -- 33 -- but they have played 14 games, not 16.
Moreover, Detroit’s goal differential gets worse as a game progresses. Among the 31 NHL teams, the Red Wings have the most goals against in both the 2nd and 3rd periods. And, as stated, they aren’t scoring nearly enough goals to make up for it.
- The Red Wings are worst in the NHL -- so what now?
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This is a sign of a disorganized, young squad, of course. The hope is they can start to keep games closer as the season unfolds. Or maybe none of it matters because GM Steve Yzerman has plans to blow up the entire roster before the season ends. He has good incentive to do so -- 13 player contracts are up at the end of this season. The roster likely will look very, very different by next November, and perhaps sooner than that.
Meanwhile, the next time you hear Dylan Larkin or Jeff Blashill say the team needs to play a full 60 minutes, remember these graphs showing how the team hangs in there early before completely unraveling:
As you’ll notice, some of the worst teams in the league also have the worst goal differentials in the 3rd period. The Red Wings have one of the steepest declines from the 1st period to the 2nd and 3rd periods.
Imagine if Detroit were able to put in a solid 60 minutes. They still might be struggling for a playoff spot, but at least they wouldn’t be getting blown out 5-1, 6-1 each game.