The Detroit Red Wings have started off the 2018-19 season with one of the worst records in their history and are at the bottom of the NHL standings because of it.
With only one win so far, the Wings look to have a rough season ahead of them, but how rough will it be?
Will the Wings ever even get the chance to see some sort of playoff hope or will they constantly be in the basement of the league?
Going back through each post-lockout season, here is how each team that had four or fewer points through the first nine games, fared:
|Year||Team||Points (9 GP)||GF (9 GP)||GA (9 GP)||Finished Position||Draft Pick|
The Wings are certainly not alone in achieving this feat of disappointment to start a season.
In the last fourteen seasons since the lockout, there have been fourteen other teams that started their season the same or worse than the Wings. Among those fourteen teams, only two have managed to pull themselves out of the rut and make the playoffs after the horrid start.
Those teams were the 2015-16 Anaheim Ducks and the 2013-14 Philadelphia Flyers. Teams with Getzlaf, Perry, Lindholm, Giroux, Voracek, Simmonds, etc. – so the talent alone was able to pull them out from the basement of the league. The Ducks only scored nine goals in nine games, which is a simply astounding feat by itself.
The average position that a team that started out like the Wings was 25th overall. Not completely terrible, but I’m sure the 7th and 13th overall finished skewed the mean slightly. Without those two playoff teams, the average is roughly 27th or 28th overall – a much more realistic prediction for where the Wings will be in April.
As for where those teams draft the following June, most teams are rewarded for their horrible start with a top-5 pick by the end of the season. Since the revamp of the draft lottery, this has become less predictable – the Coyotes just last year had both the Carolina Hurricanes and Montreal Canadiens leap over them, so they had to settle with the 5th-overall pick.
The average for the drafting is 6th overall. Again, without those two playoff teams, the average bumps up to a 4th-overall pick.
As for what the Wings are doing this season, they might be on the lower spectrum of these other fourteen teams. They have allowed the second-most goals against in this list, with 39. The only team that allowed more goals in their first nine games was the 2007-08 Atlanta Thrashers. But even they were able to score more goals than the Wings have so far.
At least it looks like there is also a good chance that they will be rewarded for their misfortune as well. Six out of the fourteen teams finished with a top-3 pick – not too shabby for having to suffer through the next eight months.
Nothing is ever certain in the NHL and oddities happen every season. But after looking at these teams and historically where they finished after a similar start, it is almost a guarantee that the Wings will be in the bottom-five of the league for the majority of the season.