The Red Wings are on the cusp of extending their playoff streak to 23 years. This fact alone serves as a testament to the legacy of excellence this organization has cultivated during that time. However, several players have contributed new chapters to that story this season—many of whom had no plans of doing so when the season began.
The Red Wings’ 2013-14 season has been marred by injuries to top players in Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Daniel Alfredsson, Johan Franzen and Darren Helm, among others.
As regrettable as this is, it has allowed Detroit’s younger players to contribute in ways far beyond what their relative inexperience would suggest is possible. Indeed, 10 rookies have suited up for the Red Wings this season—some of whom can now be counted as indispensable.
What follows is a ranking of the top five breakout performances by young players (rookies and second-year players) in Detroit this season.
The ranking takes into account the player’s position, his contributions to team success and overall individual performance, evaluating them in ascending order of excellence.
The Detroit Red Wings would not be in the position they are today without these five players.