They aren’t making the playoffs this season. Their 26-year run of consecutive postseason appearances is over and done with.
Not officially, but for all intents and purposes, you can stick a fork in the Wings.
“We know the magical number probably to get into the playoffs,” forward Steve Ott said. “It’s usually around that mid-90s points.”
For argument’s sake, let’s go with a low number. We’ll say it will take 90 points to get the Wings into the playoffs. If history holds form, it won’t be enough but we’re just talking hypothetically here, only to emphasize how unrealistic the playoff dream is for Detroit.
To get to 90 points, the Wings would need 36 points over the last 25 games. You know how many points the Wings have in their last 25 games? That would be 24 points, not even .500 hockey.
You have to go back 37 games for the Wings to accumulate 36 points. Again, not even .500 hockey, but now we’re supposed to expect they can play .720 hockey over the last 25 games?
Like we said, it’s reality check time for the Wings, and the reality is that there were 18 NHL scouts at Wednesday’s 2-0 loss to St. Louis.
Thanks to several bad, long-term contracts, there’s little in the way of player personnel that the Wings can move before the March 1 NHL trade deadline but they do have two coveted commodities - forwards Ott and Thomas Vanek, both who signed one-year free-agent deals with the Wings last summer.
The attraction to Vanek, who shares the team lead with 13 goals, is obvious. He’s a high end skill player who can ignite a power play and goes to the dirty areas to score, a vital characteristic in the playoffs.
Vanek has been quite open to discussing the possibility that he could be wearing another team’s sweater in two weeks time.
“You wait and see, and wait for a phone call I guess, someone to let me know if I’m staying or going,” Vanek said. “I’ve got to worry about tomorrow, make sure my game is good, and that’s about all I can control.”
There hasn’t been as much outward speculation about Ott but as a depth forward who can kill penalties and play all three forward positions, he certainly would prove an asset to a contender.
An NHL source indicated that Detroit GM Ken Holland’s phone is blowing up with calls about Ott’s availability.
Of the two, Vanek certainly offers the potential to bring more in return in any transaction.
“Do I like it here?” Vanek asked rhetorically. “Yeah I do. Could I see myself staying here? Yeah that would be great but again, it’s a business.
“I think Kenny’s got to make a decision. At the same time, if there is a deal to be made, it’s gotta be right on both sides. I’ve been through it before. Would it surprise me that he would move me if he could get something good? No, not at all. If I was the GM, it would be something I would look at.”
Vanek made it clear he doesn’t want to leave Detroit - he’s actually loved his time with the Wings. But like he said, he’s aware that’s a call which is out of his hands.
“I like it here a lot,” Vanek said. “I think it’s been a good fit. I think it’s a good culture here.
“Are we one of the better teams in the league right now? I don’t think so. Are we too far off from getting back in the playoffs and making some noise? I don’t think so. Again, I think we’re not there but I think this team could get there.”