This season is important for every player. But for some, it's more important than others.
For some guys, time is ticking, and they're starting to run out of time to prove what they are. For others, they're trying to return to past heights.
Here are 5 Red Wings on the Hot Seat this year.
1. Filip Zadina - The cocky prospect who once boasted he would fill the nets of teams that didn't draft him hasn't filled many nets. He scored 6 goals in 49 games last year after scoring 8 goals in 28 games the previous year. Zadina needs to score at close to a 20G-45-point pace this year and get back on track after a tough year. He'll be 22 at the end of November. It's time. If he struggles, don't be surprised to see him moved. Also - it's a contract year for Zadina.
2. Michael Rasmussen - Way less cocky than Zadina was - but essentially in the same position. I think expectations are lower for Rasmussen than they once were, which takes some of the heat off. But he could easily find himself below Mitch Stephens on the depth chart and then maybe replaced by Veleno if he doesn't start well.
3. Dylan Larkin - Larkin's had two straight years of regression since posting his 32-41-73 season. Larkin needs to get back to at least that 60-point level. Hoped for a bounceback last year, but he took on the captaincy and seemed to play even tighter. Granted, he had injuries. And granted, his linemates were injured and traded and bounced around the lineup. But even if Raymond isn't ready, the Wings do seem to have some depth this year. Shouldn't be any Bromes on his line.
Also needs to return to above 50 percent on faceoffs again.
4. Danny Dekeyser - It's hard to know what you're going to get from Danny Dekeyser., whose career went south about the time he signed his six-year deal with Detroit. His minutes dropped to 18:06 last year. At times, he looked like the most competent Red Wings' defenseman - which wasn't saying a whole heck of a lot. He was brutally awful in 16-17 and then was surprisingly good for this team in 18-19. Then he got back surgery and came back looking like he was 60 years old. All in all, he was OK as a Red Wing last year. He could be a UFA after this year. Maybe he's traded. Or maybe the Wings decide they want to keep him for organizational stability. But if he's awful - he might be done as a Red Wing - or as an NHLer.
5. Alex Nedeljkovic - With Thomas Greiss at 36 years old and a UFA, the Wings need the 25-year-old to prove he's a true NHL goalie. At 6'0, he's among the smaller goalies in the league, so that's going to present challenges. If Nedeljkovic plays well, Yzerman can rest somewhat easy about his goaltending situation until Cossa is ready to share the job in 2-3 years. If not, Yzerman might have a lot of shopping to do next season.
I'd say Blashill - but he's untouchable.
A place for general talk about the Red Wings, the NHL, hockey and prospects.
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