The 2020-21 NHL Season is set to finally get underway next weekend. Despite being a proud franchise, the Detroit Red Wings are unlikely to make a big splash this year.
Through all the adjustments and realignments the NHL has gone through to get the 2021 season going, Detroit still finds itself as a longshot for postseason success.
What’s next for the Detroit Red Wings in 2021 is anyone’s guess, but the odds are against them once again after a disappointing season in 2020. Here’s a closer look.
NHL adjusts schedule, divisions
The new NHL season will officially begin on Jan. 13. A 56-game schedule for each team has been mapped out through May 8. Playoffs will then be held in May-July with the standard 16-team format.
Along with a change from 82 games to 56 games during the season, the NHL has had to alter the divisions for 2021.
Four divisions have been created and teams will only play other teams in their division throughout the regular season. The top four teams of each division will advance to the playoffs. Due to issues in cross-border travel because of COVID-19, the NHL has had to create a division consisting of all seven Canadian teams.
The Red Wings are part of the Central Division. Here are how the NHL divisions are laid out for 2021:
|North Division||West Division||Central Division||East Division|
|Ottawa||Los Angeles||Dallas||NY Islanders|
|Las Vegas||Tampa Bay||Washington|
Detroit Red Wings 2021 season odds
It’s a brand new season full of divisional bubbles and potential, but the sportsbooks we’re tracking don’t see the Red Wings having much of that potential.
|Detroit Red Wings 2021 Season Odds||BetMGM||DraftKings||FanDuel||PointsBet||William Hill|
|Win The Stanley Cup||+10000||+35000||+20000||+30000||+20000|
|Win The Central Division||+3000||+5000||+2800||+4000||+5000|
|Make The Playoffs||Yes +1000|
|Point Total||O 43.5 -110|
U 43.5 -110
|O 42.5 -112|
U 42.5 -112
|O 42.5 -115|
U 42.5 -115
|N/A||O 43.5 -110
U 43.5 -110
In terms of favorites, most sportsbooks see the Colorado Avalanche as a +700 favorite to win the Cup. The Lightning and the Las Vegas Golden Knights are among the other top contenders in the eyes of oddsmakers.
The Wings are also longshots when it comes to odds to win the Central Division. Detroit is getting anywhere from +2800 to +5000 odds to take the division crown.
Playoff odds aren’t much better, with two sportsbooks listing Detroit at +1000 or greater.
The over/under on points for the season is 42.5 or 43.5 depending on the sportsbook.
Choose your sportsbooks wisely, as these odds are quite spread out. If you feel froggy about the Wings, get the maximum value for your bet.
Yzerman sticking with Blashill as coach
The Red Wings are entering their second full season with Steve Yzerman as general manager. Yzerman took the Lightning to a Stanley Cup under his managerial leadership and now he hopes to do the same with the team he played for from 1983-2006.
Jeff Blashill enters his sixth season as head coach. He led the Wings to the playoffs in his first season (2015-16) but has posted a losing record the last four years.
Last season, Detroit was just 17-49-5 in 71 games before COVID-19 stopped their season. The Red Wings weren’t even part of the NHL bubble that finished the season. They finished with the league’s fewest wins.
Scoring needs to improve for Wings to succeed
There were a lot of problems for Detroit last season, as displayed by their league-worst -122 goal differential.
Tyler Bertuzzi was the goal-leader with just 21, while Dylan Larkin led the team in points with only 53. Filip Zadina and Anthony Mantha could help with that issue. Mantha had 16 goals and 38 points in 43 games last season. Zadina had eight goals and seven assists in 28 games during Mantha’s absence. Bertuzzi and Mantha come into this season on new contracts.
Larkin continues to make steps toward earning the captain role for the team, which would be the first since 2018. A local product out of Waterford, Larkin remains the focal piece of the franchise in Yzerman’s eyes.
BetMGM Sportsbook lists Larkin and Mantha as the favorites to be the Wings’ top point scorer at +150, while Bertuzzi is not far off at +200.
But while scoring needs to improve, the defense must as well.
Jonathan Bernier showed promise with a 2.95 GAA in 46 games. The 12-year NHL veteran saw the most action in net since 2014-15 with Toronto.
On defense, Filip Hronek was thrown into the fire last season at just 22 due to a back injury to Danny DeKeyser. That should bode well for Hronek this season while DeKeyser also returns.
Red Wings have an uphill climb in the Central Division
Detroit wasn’t given any favors with its placement in the Central Division. The division features the defending Stanley Cup champs, Tampa Bay, as well as Stanley Cup finalist, Dallas.
Oddsmakers have given Detroit the longest odds to win the Central, while Tampa is the clear favorite.
The Lightning are getting +125 to +135 odds to win the division title while the Stars and Hurricanes are fighting for the second slot depending on the sportsbook.
Things get underway for the Red Wings on Jan. 14 when they host Carolina for the first of two games. Detroit holds its first four games at home against the Hurricanes and Blue Jackets. That is followed by a four-game road trip against Chicago and Dallas.
The longest odds and the biggest longshot. It doesn’t bode well for the Detroit Red Wings in 2021. But stranger things have happened. They probably can’t be any worse than last year.