Why The Red Wings Are So Good Apr 08, 2015

Detroit Red Wings a Dynasty?

Founded in 1926, the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL has become the winningest professional hockey club in the United States. One of the Original Six NHL teams, the Detroit Red Wings have a storied history that includes tragedies and triumphs. With star players such as Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman and Niklas Lidstrom filling their rosters over the years, it is no wonder they have the third most Stanley Cups in the league with 11. The closest thing to a dynasty over the last quarter century, Detroit’s team is a perennial favourite to win every year. Making the playoffs an astonishing 23 times in a row, it is evident that the Wings are no laughing matter. This streak is currently the longest in all four major sports (NHL, NBA, MLB, and NFL) and are on pace to make it for the 24th consecutive season. Believe it or not, the red wings did go through a really rough stretch from the 66' – 91' seasons where they made the playoffs a mediocre 8 times in 25 seasons. During the last 11 years of the 25 years, only 5 of the NHL's 21 teams did not make the playoffs but the Red Wings still managed to miss them 5 times. This rough period for the team deemed them the nickname “The Dead Wings”. Since then, the Red Wings have been the most successful franchise making the playoffs in 28 of the last 30 seasons, winning the presidents trophy 6 times (team with the most regular season points) and won 4 Stanley cups reaching the finals 6 times.

Most of the Red Wings success comes from the scouting system. Many of the players currently on the roster have either been drafted, or undrafted signed free agents they believe can make a great contribution to their roster. Currently 20 of the 26 players on their roster fit that parameter. Two of their top players Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk were brought up through the system to make them the players they are today. Zetterberg was drafted 7th round 210th overall and Datsyuk was selected in the 6th round 171st overall. Both of these players were passed over by 29 franchises but the Wings took a chance on them and they are now both considered two of the best hockey players in the world. It doesn't matter where the Wings pick in the draft because they know their scouting staff have found top prospects to fill whatever they need, in any position.

With a run of Five Stanley Cup titles in 12 years, The Red Wings had won, on average, a Stanley Cup every 2.4 years since 1997. Thirty teams enter each season with the express hopes and dreams of winning Lord Stanley’s Cup and the Wings have had a shot in each of the last 23 postseasons, a truly remarkable accomplishment. It may have taken the Wings 12 years to win five cups while the Canadiens and Oilers did it in a much faster seven or less, but ruling out the Wings from the dynasty label simply because of that comparison does their franchise injustice. Edmonton and Montreal never had to compete under a salary cap nor did those past dynasties fight against 30 teams for the Cup each year and Detroit never had a Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier or Jari Kurri playing together carrying their team to multiple championships. The Wings did it with mediocre players who would do anything to win, even if it meant taking a puck to the face to block a shot. They played four line hockey, not just one or two.

During this current NHL season, the Wings have a record of 39-22-12 totalling 90 points sitting them third in the Atlantic division. With the way they have been playing it is almost certain they have locked themselves a spot for the playoffs giving themselves a chance to win their 12th Stanley cup. As high school students we have not witnessed a year where the Red Wings were not among the top 8 in their conference, and looking at the personnel they have now, Ken Holland, (there General Manager) believes that they can legitimately compete for the cup for another 4-5 more years. It looks as though we are going to have to wait a couple more years before we do experience a Detroitless playoffs.

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