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While hockey pundits and fans alike seem content to write the Detroit Red Wings off every season, the fact remains that the Red Wings remain a threat not only to make the playoffs, but to contend for a Stanley Cup each season.
The Red Wings may have been the No. 7 seed this offseason, but the team wasted little time in dispelling myths that they were going down hill by defeated the Anaheim Ducks in seven games and pushing the Blackhawks to the brink of elimination before losing three straight and bowing out in the second round.
The 2013-14 season outlook is very bright, but even more so thanks to the efforts of the rookie talent that Red Wings' fans have started seeing in earnest for the first time this season.
Players like Nyquist, Andersson, DeKeyser and Smith have a lot of growing to do, but it doesn't really seem as though the Red Wings are going down hill, per se.
With the likes of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk leading the Red Wings next season, combined with Jimmy Howard's coming out as a No. 1 goalie that doesn't need a fantastic defense to play in front of him in order to get wins, Detroit looks pretty good for next season.
The x-factor, of course, for next season, is how the Red Wings will handle a move to the Eastern Conference.
The Red Wings will be in an eight-team division and have 16 teams in their conference instead of 15 like normal. This will obviously create some different dynamics in both the regular season and the postseason, assuming the Red Wings qualify for the 23rd straight year next season.
It is, however, nothing the Red Wings can't overcome in and of itself. Teams might be getting better, but the Red Wings have showed that they are also getting better and younger. Look for them again to be a playoff team come 2014.
All statistics courtesy of NHL.com and CapGeek.com.
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