The first half of the 2023-24 NHL season is just about in the books and the Detroit Red Wings are still within grasp of a playoff spot.
After some early season success in which they were the highest-scoring team, they have fallen back to mediocre and are flirting with a .500 record.
With half of the season yet to be played, several factors are still up in the air as to which direction this team is headed. Here are some predictions for the second half of the Red Wings 2023-24 season:
The Detroit Red Wings are looking to get back on track early in 2024.
Red Wings' Kane Will Lead the Team in Scoring
Detroit Red Wings forward Patrick Kane is coming off of a major hip replacement surgery that most fans had concerns with as he joined the Red Wings.
However, one would not think he had surgery recently as he has been flying on the ice since joining Detroit. With that said, he has been their best player since his arrival, producing six goals and seven assists for 13 points in 12 games.
His future success depends on his health and how his hip reacts to more contact. However, as one of the best U.S.-born hockey players, Kane is still proving he can score and produce in bunches, having a 0.95 points-per-game average over his career.
With the talent that the Detroit Red Wings have, Kane will lead the team in scoring at the end of the year, especially if he continues to play with winger Alex DeBrincat.
General Manager Steve Yzerman Acquires Defenseman, Goaltender
The goaltending has been suspect too aside from Alex Lyon, as subpar efforts from Ville Husso and James Reimer have been keeping them down.
General Manager Steve Yzerman realizes this could be a hot goaltender market at the trade deadline and has several connections throughout the league to make a move or two.
With several goaltenders seemingly on the market, Yzerman should have no issues grabbing a veteran goaltender who can compete with Lyon for the starter job.
On defense, Yzerman should key in on a tough, physical player that the Red Wings now lack. Someone who can play that role and free up space for the talented forwards of Detroit.
It has been many years since Detroit has had a stay-at-home, physical defenseman to throw his weight around and strike some fear in the opposition.
Detroit Red Wings Grab Playoff Spot
The Atlantic Division is one of the more interesting divisions in the league. The Red Wings are fifth in the division, 10 points behind the Boston Bruins. Detroit, if they readjust their roster and get back in sync, will grab one of the playoff spots or a wild card spot.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are an average hockey team floating around the .500 mark and the Toronto Maple Leafs have big questions on defense and goaltending so they could suffer a bit.
If Toronto does not figure it out and Tampa Bay stays where they are, Detroit is more capable of appearing in the playoffs than the Lightning.
If Certain players like Lucas Raymond heat up offensively and Moritz Seider plays like his Calder Trophy self, these Red Wings could be a player if they acquire a goaltender and acquire a tough defenseman. The Red Wings sit outside of the playoffs with many games left to be played.
The Detroit Red Wings are in a good spot to make some noise in the second half despite their place in the standings.
Yzerman has a tough decision ahead, whether to let the team play out their struggles or add some insurance through trade in hopes of making them a playoff team. Either way, Detroit squeaks into the playoffs with a more well-rounded roster.