Back in October, the Charlotte Checkers were homeless.
With renovations ongoing at Bojangles Coliseum, the Checkers didn’t play a home game until mid-November.
The year is 2016 and the Detroit Red Wings are still contending for the playoffs for the umpteenth season in a row, right in the thick of the race for the Atlantic Division, just four points back of the division-leading Florida Panthers.
Unlike your daddy’s Red Wings, who were led by veteran stars like Steve Yzerman, Nicklas Lidstrom and Brendan Shanahan, this Red Wings unit is led by a much younger core and has had significant contributions from more than a handful of rookies.
The long-discussed rebuild in Detroit has yet to come and the Red Wings scouting staff is doing their best to make sure that no such rebuild has to take place.
With recent graduations to the NHL like Teemu Pulkkinen and Dylan Larkin – the latter of whom leads all NHL rookies in goals with 11 – there are still several prospects plying their trade at the AHL level looking to be the next call-up to help keep the Red Wings going.
In the past, the Detroit Red Wings found long-term success in partial thanks to a scouting department that unearthed gems like Sergei Fedorov, Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk past the draft’s first round. That trend has continued in recent years. Tomas Tatar, a second-round pick in 2009, burst onto the scene in 2014-15 with a 29-goal season while Gustav Nyquist, a fourth-round pick in 2008, posted consecutive seasons of 28 and 27 goals.