The Detroit Red Wings put together a dynasty that was on the verge of winning five Stanley Cups in 13 years. Through incredible drafting, timely trades, and contract wizardry by their general manager, they had created a team that made 25-straight playoffs without ever needing to take time off to rebuild.
And then it changed.
The guys they leaned on to excel into their late 30s and early 40s began retiring. Their replacements began retiring. The free agents Detroit brought in to fill the void started signing elsewhere. The second-tier guys Detroit signed in their place didn’t produce. And the contracts given to them added up and prevented a youth movement from spreading its wings. The front office failed to catch on to a demise already underway and instead believed if they kept the streak alive and made the playoffs, then anything could happen.
But finally, in 2017, they missed the postseason and began doing so in dramatic fashion. There’s finally hope with an old face for a new GM, but Ken Holland put the team in enough cap hell it won’t be a quick recovery.