Several teams have done smart business to enhance their chances in the 2022/23 NHL season, but none more so than the Detroit Red Wings.
They have spent big to improve in all areas and after several years of rebuilding, the opportunity for a realistic shot at making the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with them 50/1 to go all the way.
|What:||NHL Season 2022/23|
|Where:||USA and Canada|
|When:||7th October 2022 - June 2023|
|How to watch:||bet365's Sports Live Streaming|
|Odds:||COL Avalanche 17/4, TOR Maple Leafs 8/1, FLA Panthers 9/1, TB Lightning 10/1, CAR Hurricanes 11/1|
The Red Wings have missed the playoffs for six seasons straight but during that time have used their high picks in the NHL draft to replenish their franchise.
Leading the way is sixth overall selection in 2019 defenceman Moritz Seider and fourth pick in 2020 forward Lucas Raymond.
Hard-hitting defenceman Seider was named the NHL's rookie of the year last season after amassing 50 points (seven goals, 43 assists) in 82 games, while Raymond scored an impressive 57 points (23 goals, 34 assists) also in his first season.
A similar impact is expected of 6'6" blue-liner Simon Edvinsson next season who was picked with the sixth selection in 2021.
The impact made by the youngsters has prompted General Manager Steve Yzerman to believe that the rebuilding process needs moving to its next stage and he has splashed the cash this off-season to forge a path toward contention.
In fact, no team saw a bigger increase in spending with the Red Wings adding nine new notable faces to the line-up.
Detroit has long suffered from a lack of quality depth in the line-up, but this problem appears to have been alleviated for new coach Derek Lalonde.
Dylan Larkin (31 goals, 38 assists), Tyler Betruzzi (30 goals, 32 assists) and Raymond were too heavily relied upon to do it all last season.
That dependence will lessen in the new campaign with David Perron and Andrew Copp added to provide some depth scoring beyond the top line.
Each enjoyed an excellent 2021/22 with 34-year-old Perron scoring a near career-high 27 goals plus 30 assists in 67 games for the St. Louis Blues and Copp bagging 21 goals, 32 assists for the Winnipeg Jets and New York Rangers.
Both also made a big impact in the playoffs with Perron scoring nine goals, four assists in 12 games and Copp getting six goals, eight assists in 20 games.
Add in 27-year-old Dominik Kubalik, who had 15 goals, 17 assists in 78 games with the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit's top nine looks the most dangerous is has in some time.
Yzerman has also added experienced support to Seider and Edvinsson on defence, bringing in 30-year-old Mark Pysyk from the Dallas Stars, two-time cup champion 28-year-old Olli Maatta from the Los Angeles Kings and 31-year-old Ben Chiarot from the Montreal Canadiens.
All three will help provide stability to a blue-line which conceded the third highest amount of goals in the NHL last season (312) and contributed to the Red Wings having a -82 goal differential.
Arguably Yzerman's biggest add is in net with Ville Husso, 100/1 for the Vezina Trophy, coming in from the Blues to form a partnership with Alex Nedeljkovic who was signed last summer from the Carolina Hurricanes.
Husso had a 25-7-6 record in 40 games (38 starts) last season with a .919 save-percentage and 2.56 goals-against-average (GAA). Alex Nedeljkovic, a year younger, was 20-24-9 in 59 games (52 starts) for the Red Wings with a .901 save-percentage and 3.31 GAA.
In the duo, the Red Wings have two goalies who have shown starter potential in the NHL and each has tremendous upside.
While the sample size of their work remains relatively small, it's easily conceivable that at least one of the two proves a stable option for a Detroit side which has shipped goals for several seasons.
With honourable mentions to the Ottawa Senators, Seattle Kraken, Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes, who have done smart business this off-season, no team has added as much value to their team than the Red Wings.
The busy off-season won't necessarily turn Yzerman's team into a cup contender again, but the haul of impactful veterans to add depth and supplement a core of exciting youngsters signals that the famous franchise is clearly on the rise again.