The Detroit Red Wings have signed head coach Jeff Blashill to a two-year contract extension. The extension comes at an interesting time for the organization. The Red Wings have missed the NHL playoffs for the third straight season ended the season on a high note, winning eight of its final 11 games of the year. This late-season surge comes at a time when the younger players on the roster have begun to play with confidence that they had not shown during the majority of the season.
The main focus going into the season for the Detroit Red Wings was the leadership of the presumptive next captain Dylan Larkin. Larkin has done nothing to disappoint when it comes to this leadership. Every time the team has begun to slip in their focus or effort, Larkin used the media to push them to be better. Not only that, but Larkin also led the team in points with 73.
Anthony Mantha recorded his first hat-trick against the Boston Bruins last week. The hats were barely off the ice before Taro Hirose scored his first NHL goal to break the three to three tie with the Bruins. Mantha recorded two assists on top of his first career hat trick and the Red Wings defeated the Bruins six to three.
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Tyler Bertuzzi has even set a franchise record for recording three points in four straight games. This is hard to believe given the amount of star power that the Red Wings’ franchise has had. Not to say anything negative about Bertuzzi, but in a franchise history that includes names such as Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Sergei Fedorov, Steve Yzerman, and Nicklas Lidstrom, to see Bertuzzi in the record books for this record is surprising.
This led Bertuzzi to be named the second star of the week for the penultimate week of the 2018 NHL regular season. This is a tremendous accomplishment for a player who has really improved his play since the trade deadline in February. Bertuzzi will undoubtedly be more confident going into next season given how this season ended.
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Prior to the win streak, speculation was whether or not the Red Wings would lose enough games in order to put themselves in position to draft Jack Hughes, the center for the United States National Development Team. The NHL draft lottery was held on April 9th and the Red Wings came away with the sixth overall pick. The Devils won the lottery and received the right to select number one overall from the Ottawa Senators in the 2017 trade for Matt Duchene. The Nashville Predators also received centerman Kyle Turris in the trade.
The Red Wings will now look to build off the momentum of the final few weeks of the season and hope that whoever they pick with the sixth pick can help them get back to the playoffs.