Red Wings, Blue Jackets, and Ducks: Enhanced, Yet Not Playoff-Ready?

Red Wings

The NHL is a thrilling maze of unpredictability. The nature of the Salary Cap Era showcases this by allowing teams to have respectable seasons and still miss out on the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Reviewing the 2022-23 Season

The recent 2022-23 NHL season stands as a testament to this. Teams such as Calgary Flames, Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators, and Buffalo Sabres all showcased win percentages ranging from .555 to .567. However, despite their impressive efforts, each of these teams ranked fifth in their respective divisions, missing the playoff cut.

There’s little doubt that the upcoming season will witness similar scenarios. Certain teams, though improved, may still fall short of the playoffs. This piece highlights three such contenders: the Detroit Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Anaheim Ducks.

Detroit Red Wings

Last Season’s Overview:

  • Record: 35-37-10
  • Atlantic Division Position: Seventh

Key Additions:

  • Forwards: Alex DeBrincat, J.T. Compher, Christian Fischer, Daniel Sprong
  • Defensemen: Shayne Gostisbehere, Justin Holl, Jeff Petry
  • Goalie: James Reimer

Though GM Steve Yzerman has strategically infused both skill and tenacity into the roster, the Red Wings face stiff competition. Teams like Buffalo, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Florida, Toronto, and Boston stand tall with significant talent. Achieving a playoff position for the Red Wings would require everything to fall into place seamlessly. Such ideal scenarios are rare in the NHL, and many predict that a fifth or sixth-place finish is more realistic for them.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Last Season’s Overview:

  • Record: 25-48-9
  • Road Record: 9-25-7 (Eastern Conference’s worst)
  • Metropolitan Division Position: Not specified

Key Additions:

  • Veteran blueliners: Ivan Provorov, Damon Severson
  • Rookie: Center Adam Fantilli

Columbus had a disappointing previous season, to say the least. Their revamp introduces experienced defenders and a promising rookie. With an improved health record, they stand a chance to enhance their league positioning. However, their playoff dreams still seem distant. The competition with Carolina, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, and a fortified Penguins squad might prove too fierce.


Anaheim Ducks

Last Season’s Overview:

  • Record: 23-47-12
  • Pacific Division Position: Last

Key Additions:

  • Winger: Alex Killorn
  • Blueliner: Radko Gudas

GM Pat Verbeek faces the task of managing crucial RFAs, including the emerging stars Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale. However, the team’s prospects have been boosted with the addition of experienced players. Their progression may see them surpass teams like the San Jose Sharks, but the path to playoffs is obstructed by powerhouses such as Flames, Vancouver Canucks, and Seattle Kraken.


In the world of NHL, success is not a straightforward journey. A team may exhibit growth yet fail to secure a playoff position. The upcoming season might be an uphill battle for the Red Wings, Blue Jackets, and Ducks. While their rosters are enhanced, claiming a playoff spot amidst the fierce competition remains a formidable challenge.

To sum it up, let’s take a quick glance at their last season’s performance:

TeamRecordKey Additions
Detroit Red Wings35-37-10DeBrincat, Compher, Gostisbehere, Reimer
Columbus Blue Jackets25-48-9Provorov, Severson, Fantilli
Anaheim Ducks23-47-12Killorn, Gudas

In the NHL, the road to the Stanley Cup playoffs is paved with strategy, skill, and a pinch of luck. For these teams, the upcoming season will be a test of their mettle and determination. Will they overcome the odds, or will they be a testament to the harsh realities of the league? Only time will tell.

Hockey Expert
reviewed by: Jeremy Karamen (Hockey Expert)

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