Go through the gallery to see the final Red Wings grades for the 2017-18 season, by Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News.
Detroit — Captain Henrik Zetterberg didn’t want to admit it to himself, or anyone else.
Being in the playoffs and contending for the Stanley Cup was a yearly expectation for himself and the Red Wings.
But, after Saturday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Islanders to close out this season — the second consecutive year the Red Wings will not make the playoffs — Zetterberg admitted he’s come to grips with the present situation around the organization.
“It took a while to admit it, but we’re in a rebuild,” said Zetterberg, after the season came to an uneventful end.
The Red Wings finished with 73 points (30-39-13) — six fewer than last season.
They were 24 points out of a playoff spot — eight more than last season’s gap.
In a 31-team league they finished 27th — dropping from 25th last season.
Certainly in some respects, the picture isn’t getting any better.
But Zetterberg, and general manager Ken Holland — who Saturday signed a two-year contract extension — and coach Jeff Blashill (who is expected to return next season) see firm opening steps to a rebuild.
Young players such as Dylan Larkin (team-leading 63 points) and Anthony Mantha (team-leading 24 goals), along with Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Bertuzzi, and several prospects on the way, offer promising days ahead.
And for June’s Entry Draft, no team has as many the Red Wings’ 11 draft picks (and 10 in 2019) through aggressive dealing at the trade deadline.
The work this season was impressive from certain corners, and not as much from others.