There are many ways to build a successful NHL franchise. In order to build long-standing success, a team needs to be able to develop their own talent. While adding free agents is needed, a team can not fill every need with large free agent contracts.
Finding, developing and integrating young talent is an integral part of a team’s success. Over the past twenty seasons, the Detroit Red Wings have shown to be the best team in the league at this. Their record of 20 straight playoff appearances, six Stanley Cup finals and four championships shows just how well they excel in this area.
What is impressive about Detroit’s talent development is that due to their success, they are not drafting near the top. The easy-to-spot players like Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos are long gone before Detroit gets a chance to make their pick.
So how does Detroit do it? What makes them so successful?