Red Wings’ Turnaround: From Swept by Senators to Playoff Contention

Detroit, Michigan—In February of last year, the Ottawa Senators delivered a crushing blow to the Detroit Red Wings, defeating them twice in 24 hours with a combined score of 12-3. These losses seemed to set the trajectory for both teams heading into the trade deadline. While the Senators became inspired by their victories and made aggressive moves to strengthen their roster, the Red Wings chose a different path, opting to unload four veteran players.

Fast forward to today, and the two organizations have taken vastly different paths. The Red Wings currently hold a comfortable playoff position in the Eastern Conference, while the Senators remain at the bottom of the Atlantic Division with a less than stellar record. This outcome is especially surprising considering that experts initially predicted the Senators would be the first to make the playoffs.

So, what led to this dramatic shift? The two beat writers who cover the Red Wings and Senators, Max Bultman and Ian Mendes, respectively, share their insights on the current state of each franchise. Bultman notes that the Red Wings addressed their need for more scoring talent, adding players like Alex DeBrincat, Daniel Sprong, J.T. Compher, and Shayne Gostisbehere. These additions have made the Red Wings one of the highest-scoring teams in the league. Additionally, the team has focused on adding size to their roster to avoid being pushed around.

On the other hand, Mendes highlights Ottawa’s missteps, particularly their failed trade for DeBrincat, which has proven to be a disastrous move. The Senators also struggled with inconsistent goaltending, which significantly impacted their chances of making the playoffs. Mendes emphasizes that the Red Wings’ approach has been more patient and prudent, while the Senators’ aggressive moves have backfired.

One key factor that has contributed to the Red Wings’ success is their stable goaltending. While no goaltending situation is ever completely stable, the Red Wings have benefited from the solid performances of Alex Lyon and the imminent return of Ville Husso from injury. In contrast, the Senators have experienced a revolving door of inconsistent goaltenders, leaving uncertainty in their crease.

As for the future, it remains to be seen whether the Red Wings can maintain their success and become a consistent playoff contender. Bultman believes that the team still has a lot to prove before being declared a breakthrough team. Mendes, however, reflects on the disappointment in Ottawa, where optimism and excitement about breaking through have been dampened by this season’s struggles.

When it comes to the prospect pipelines of both franchises, Bultman and Mendes offer their assessments. Bultman believes that while the Red Wings have a good pipeline with promising prospects like Simon Edvinsson, Marco Kasper, and Nate Danielson, they may lack superstars. On the other hand, Mendes points out that the Senators’ prospect pipeline has taken a hit due to trades and the graduation of blue-chip prospects to the NHL. Ottawa will need to be patient and make strategic moves to replenish their farm system.

In conclusion, the Red Wings and Senators have taken divergent paths since their momentous matchups last season. The Red Wings have made strategic moves to address their flaws and have emerged as playoff contenders, while the Senators’ aggressive approach has not yielded the desired results. As the teams continue to navigate the season, it remains to be seen whether the Red Wings can sustain their success and whether the Senators can rebound from their struggles.