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Final Wings grades: Low marks for lame season

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Niklas Kronwall and the Wings were squeezed out of the playoffs by the Lightning in the first round.

Go through the gallery above (mobile users go HERE) to see the final Red Wings grades by Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News.

Detroit – Another run to the playoffs, another quick exit.

It’s becoming a spring ritual for the Red Wings, who are rightfully proud of their 25 consecutive playoff appearances. But they have now lost in the first round in four of the last five seasons and haven’t got past the second round in seven straight seasons.

“It’s getting old, no doubt about it,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said.

This season was particularly bothersome, as the Red Wings lost to a Tampa Bay team that was missing two key players and appeared vulnerable heading into the playoffs.

But the Lightning eliminated the Red Wings in five games – it took them seven games last year. Goalie Ben Bishop was a big reason the Red Wings scored only eight goals total in the series.

“Second year in a row we can say we were close or we were in the series, but they find a way to win and we don’t,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “That’s something we have to address.”

The Red Wings go into the offseason with a hazy outlook. They must wait for Pavel Datsyuk to make his decision – return to Russia or fulfill the final year of his contract with the Red Wings.

The Red Wings must add a top-tier defenseman and elite goal-scorer, either through free agency or trades, for any chance to improve on this past season.

Young players who were expected to take on larger roles this season but didn’t, must definitely do so next season.

How did the Red Wings grade out individually? Like the season, when looking over the big picture, rather disappointing.