No offseason is unimportant, but for the Detroit Red Wings, the summer of 2014 may well represent a crossroads.
This season, the team made a virtue out of necessity, handing over key minutes to top young players because the veterans expected to handle those roles spent so much time on the injured reserve list.
As a result, the Red Wings have a rich graduating class of top forwards who will need to be mixed in with more established players to form a forward corps that can get the team into the playoffs once again (hopefully to make some noise beyond a first-round exit).
There are likely changes coming on the back end and in net, too, and a strong summer would go a long way toward ensuring that Detroit's current slump (the team just barely made the playoffs) is a time for retooling rather than the start of a full-fledged rebuild.
Read on for our take on what lies ahead, from trades to the draft to free agency.