Ranking the Detroit Red Wings 5 Worst Offseasons in the Past Decade

Isaac SmithAnalyst IAugust 31, 2013

Ranking the Detroit Red Wings 5 Worst Offseasons in the Past Decade

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    The Detroit Red Wings have made the playoffs since the 1990-91 season, but that doesn't always mean they come out on top at the end of the playoffs.

    Out of the past decade, there have been some pretty bad offseasons and some of these offseasons would likely stir up rage and anger in the Red Wings' fan base.

    Nevertheless, here are the five worst Red Wings' offseasons in the past decade.

    Worst in this sense is defined as the most agonizing to remember.

5. 2003

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    The Detroit Red Wings were looking to defend their 2002 Stanley Cup title and opened up against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

    The Red Wings were surprised by the Ducks, who swept them four games to none and the Red Wings' title defense was over before it ever got started.

    That offseason, Sergei Fedorov would also leave the Red Wings (for the Mighty Ducks ironically). The only good thing to come out of that offseason was that the Red Wings found their next coach in Mike Babcock.

    Although Babcock would not take over from then head coach Dave Lewis until after the 2004 NHL lockout, the Mighty Ducks were coached by Babcock in 2003 and the Red Wings' management got a firsthand view of how good of a coach he really was.

4. 2009

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    What's worse than losing in the first round of an attempted Stanley Cup defense? How about losing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final while attempting to repeat as Cup champions.

    Not only losing in Game 7 of the Final, but losing to the same team that your team beat in the previous Stanley Cup Final.

    Things couldn't really get worse than that could they?

    Well realistically, they did as Marian Hossa departed via free agency to the hated Blackhawks. Detroit had a choice between re-signing him and re-signing Johan Franzen and others.

    Some hockey fans would argue that they made the wrong decision in taking Franzen over Hossa.

3. 2012

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    Losing players to retirement is always hard. When that player is Nick Lidstrom, the captain of the Detroit Red Wings, it is just downright painful to process.

    In the 2012 offseason, the Red Wings lost not only Lidstrom to retirement, but Brad Stuart decided that he needed to be closer to his family in California.

    Losing these two defensemen was difficult for the Red Wings to get over and they struggled early on in the lockout-shortened 2013 season.

    In the playoffs, however, the Red Wings surprised many by knocking off the Ducks and almost eliminating the Blackhawks.

2. 2006

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    The Detroit Red Wings were eliminated by the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the 2006 playoffs.

    While first-round playoff losses always sting, this one hurt a lot more because it marked the last time that then-captain Steve Yzerman would ever play in the NHL.

    Yzerman retired following that series, largely due to knee problems from multiple surgeries. Although he stayed with the organization for a few years in a management role, there was no replacing No. 19 and his huge leadership role on the ice.

1. 2004

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    What is worse than losing in playoff hockey, losing the Stanley Cup in Game 7 and having two captains retire?

    How about no hockey at all? Such was life in the 2004 offseason which turned into the longest offseason in the history of the NHL.

    No NHL players could practice on the team's ice because the owners and the players could not come to an agreement to save the season.

    This offseason was the worst in the past decade because, although it didn't involve an agonizing Game 7 loss or watching a captain retire, it did involve lots of fans losing interest in the game of hockey and the NHL altogether.