Red Wings put season behind them, look to the future
Disappointed with this season but looking to next season with the hopes and expectations of better things, the Red Wings cleaned out their lockers on Monday.
“I hope we’re never in this situation again,” said Dylan Larkin after at Little Caesars Arena in the season finale. “I don’t want to be playing meaningless hockey for a month or two months, or three weeks, however long we’ve been mathematically eliminated.”
A big part of the team’s future will be determined on Tuesday night at the NHL draft lottery. With its 28th place finish, fourth worst in the league, Detroit has a 9.5 percent chance of winning the No. 1 overall pick, which is expected to be generational talent National Team Development Program center Jack Hughes (5-10 168 pounds), in June’s NHL draft. The Wings also have a 28.9 percent chance of getting at least a top-three pick.
Finland’s Kaapo Kakko (6-2, 180, TPS Turku) and Russian Vasili Podkolzin (6-1,180), who plays in his country’s Kontinental Hockey League, both wingers, are considered the next best players available.
“Let’s hope Tuesday night we get lucky in the lottery,” general manager Ken Holland told the Detroit News. “And if not, we’re going to get a good player, no matter where we pick in the draft.
“Certainly, if you get up there to No. 1 or No. 2, you’re getting a really, really good player. But in order to get one or two, even if you have the worst record in the league, you only get an 18.5 percent chance at the first pick.”
Blashill Team USA coach again
Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill was named as the United States coach for the World Championship for the third consecutive year.
The team has a 12-2-0-4 record in the past two tournaments under Blashill, winning a bronze medal last year and a fifth-place finish in 2017.
This year’s tournament will be May 10-26, in Kosice and Bratislava, Slovakia.
Red Wings assistant Dan Bylsma, New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes and Kevin Reiter will be on Blashill’s staff.
Larkin, a member of Team USA for the past two seasons, isn’t sure he will play in May.
Larkin dealt with a neck injury late in the season and may take that time off to make sure he’s ready for next season.
“I want to go and keep playing hockey, but I have to look after my body first),” he said. “I have to make sure I’m ready for next year.”