While there is a lot of optimism about Steve Yzerman’s refreshed Detroit Red Wings squad, the odds for the team winning the Stanley Cup or even their own division are still nowhere near “good.”
Those of us paying close attention to this team the past five years know this isn’t how success will be measured for the Red Wings this season, but it’s worth noting for posterity’s sake:
The Red Wings are listed at +20000 (money line) odds to win the Stanley Cup in the 2020-21 season by BetOnline.ag. That means if you bet $100 on the Red Wings and they somehow won Lord Stanley’s Cup this season you would cash out $20,000. Good luck!
BetOnline also has the NHL division futures set -- the Red Wings have the worst odds, out of any team, for winning their division: +2500. Detroit will be playing in the realigned Central Division (Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Chicago, Florida, Nashville, Tampa) for this pandemic-stricken season.
If you believe the odds, the Central Division promises to be grueling for the Wings. Tampa (+750), Carolina (+1800) and Dallas (+2000) all have some of the league’s better odds for winning the Stanley Cup.
Fear not, Red Wings fans
Go ahead and throw your money away, if you want. You decide if it’s worth it. (Psst: It’s probably not).
Meanwhile, let’s not worry about these odds. The Red Wings are in the thick of a complete overhaul. General Manager Yzerman made a bunch of moves over this prolonged offseason to help put this team in a more competitive position -- last year was just the worst, for sure, and I ended up labeling it “historically bad.”
The hope this season is to see some of the younger players start to show their value while playing with more experienced, serviceable veterans. Yzerman added some key pieces to the offense, notably center Vladislav Namestnikov and right wing Bobby Ryan.
On defense, the Red Wings added Troy Stecher, Marc Staal and Jon Merrill. Right away the blue line group should be far more stable than this past season’s revolving door of rookies, aging veterans and AHL plugs (sorry, that’s what they are sometimes).
In goal, Detroit will have two veterans to choose from: Jonathan Bernier, who is entering the final year of his three-year contract with the team, and Thomas Greiss, who signed a two-year contract in October.
With the addition of a taxi squad this season, this is the perfect opportunity for a team like the Red Wings to give some new faces a go. NHL teams will be allowed to carry the extra squad of up to four to six players in addition to their normal 23-man roster. I imagine this will help the Red Wings rotate some players in and out of the lineup much more easily than having to shift them back and forth to their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids.
Note: There are actually some teams facing cap challenges (Maple *cough* Leafs) who might carry less players on their roster and instead designate them on the taxi squad. That’s a completely separate story that does not affect Detroit, at all, but is super interesting to me.
The new-look Red Wings roster
Anyway, I digress. This is what the Detroit roster could look like if the team started playing tomorrow:
- Line 1: LW Tyler Bertuzzi, C Dylan Larkin, RW Anthony Mantha
- Line 2: LW Robby Fabbri, C Vladislav Namestnikov, RW Bobby Ryan
- Line 3: LW Sam Gagner, C Valtteri Filppula, RW Filip Zadina
- Line 4: LW Darren Helm, C Luke Glendening, RW Adam Erne
- LD Patrik Nemeth, RD Filip Hronek
- LD Dan DeKeyser, RD Troy Stecher
- LD Marc Staal, RD Jon Merrill
- Jonathan Bernier
- Filip Larsson on the taxi squad (?) -- teams are required to carry at least one goalie on the taxi squad
Keep in mind this could, and probably will, change quite a bit after training camp. They’ll have 36 players allowed at camp.
The 56-game season is set to start Jan. 13 with training camps getting underway at the end of December.
Yzerman talks about upcoming season
Yzerman held a media availability on Monday during which he discussed topics including the roster and taxi squad. The GM mentioned some concern for if players test COVID-positive and need to be away from the team for extended periods. He suspects the taxi squad serves well for just this scenario:
Key dates for the 2020-21 NHL season:
- Dec. 28 -- Waivers period begin
- Dec. 31 -- Non-playoffs teams’ (didn’t make the 2020 playoffs) training camp begins
- Jan. 3 -- Training camp starts for all teams
- Jan. 13 -- Season starts
- Feb. 1 -- Teams can start requesting players waive NMC for expansion draft purposes
- April 12 -- Trade deadline
- May 8 -- Season ends
- May 11 -- Playoffs begin
- July 9 -- Last possible day for the playoffs
- 24 hours after end of playoffs -- Player buyout period begins
- July 17 - Deadline for Protection Lists for Expansion Draft (5 p.m. ET)
- July 21 -- Expansion draft for Seattle Kraken
- July 23-24 -- NHL Entry Draft
- July 28 -- Free agency begins
The new divisions
The divisions look like this with new names East, West, North and a modified Central:
East: Boston, Buffalo, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington
Central: Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Chicago, Florida, Nashville, Tampa
West: Anaheim, Arizona, Colorado, Los Angeles, Minnesota, San Jose, St. Louis, Vegas
🇨🇦 North: All seven Canadian teams
New off-side rule (Rule 83)
The NHL and NHLPA announced Tuesday that the league will adopt the “breaking the plane” off-side rule change.
That means player’s skate will not have to be in contact with the blue line in order to be on-side.
Here is the updated language for NHL Rule 83.1:
83.1 Off-side - Players of the attacking team must not precede the puck into the attacking zone.
The position of the player’s skates and not that of his stick shall be the determining factor in all instances in deciding an off-side. A player is off-side when both skates are completely over the leading edge of the blue line involved in the play.
(NEW) - A player is on-side when either of his skates are in contact with the blue line, or on his own side of the line, at the instant the puck completely crosses the leading edge of the blue line. On his own side of the line shall be defined by a “plane” of the blue line which shall extend from the leading edge of the blue line upwards. If a player’s skate has yet to break the “plane” prior to the puck crossing the leading edge, he is deemed to be on-side for the purpose of the off-side rule.