Why the Upcoming Red Wings vs Hurricanes Game is a Very Big Game

On Sunday November 24, Detroit will face the Carolina Hurricanes for the first time since giving up 7 goals to them on November 1. This game is an important one because in addition to being a good opportunity for the team to have a good response to a team that pretty much embarrassed them last time around, the Carolina Hurricanes are an example of a team that did an excellent job rebuilding, which is obviously relevant to the current Detroit team.

Acquiring Players

Taking a look at Carolina’s roster, specifically how they acquired many of their most effective players is a great example of how a modern rebuild should be done. The good news for Detroit fans is that Ken Holland was starting to do some of the things that worked in Carolina before he was replaced by Steve Yzerman, who then has continued to build off of that foundation.

Stockpiling Draft Picks

Carolina made 12 selections in the 2019 Entry draft, including two 2nd rounders and three 3rd rounders. While this is the largest number of picks in recent drafts for Carolina, the Hurricanes had more than 7 picks in 4 out of the previous 5 entry drafts.

Additionally, looking at the picks they chose shows that they did a great job of picking players that have shown they can be impact players.

Andrei Svechnikov looks like he will be the elite player you expect from a second overall pick. The previous year’s first rounder Martin Necas looked really good in the November 1st game. Other recent picks include: Jake Bean, Noah Hanifin, Sebastian Aho, and Haydn Fleury.

Ken Holland drafted Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi with the draft picks received when he traded back. Same thing with Dennis Cholowski and Filip Hronek. For all the legitimate criticism leveled at Holland for some of his contracts, Holland helped the rebuild by acquiring extra draft picks, giving Detroit more “lottery tickets.”

Dylan Larkin is turning into a player who is exceeding the average ceiling for a 15th overall pick.

In the last three entry drafts, Detroit has been able to make extra selections with acquired draft picks.

2017 - 11 picks, including 4 third rounders
2018 - 10 picks, including 2 first rounders, 2 second rounders, 3 third rounders.
2019 - 11 picks, including 3 second rounders.

This upcoming draft, Detroit currently has 2 second rounders and 2 third rounders.


Steve Yzerman has been reminding Detroit fans what trades are like. His trades have followed a pattern which is exactly the kind of trades you want to see from a team in a rebuild. The Robby Fabri deal in particular has been a home run so far, although it’s obviously still early. Acquiring players with a high pedigree who have underperformed in exchange for a relatively low cost is exactly what Yzerman should be doing.

Carolina acquired Nino Niederreiter for Victor Rask from Minnesota, in what has turned out to be a lopsided deal in the Hurricanes favor.

Dougie Hamilton, currently on the Hurricanes top defensive pair, was acquired in a trade along with Michael Ferland and the signing rights to Adam Fox in exchange for Carolina draft picks Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm. Lindholm and Hanifin are playing in high positions in the Flames lineup, so it’s not a steal of a trade, but Carolina saved 2.3M in cap space.

When the team decided that they were going to move on from Justin Faulk, they traded him to St. Louis along with a 5th round pick for Joel Edmundson, Dominik Bokk and a 7th round pick. Edmunson is currently playing on Carolina’s second pairing, so they were able to turn an asset who was not going to fit into their long term plans into another player who slotted into the same slot.

In short, Carolina has been able to make these and other smart trades to help build their roster into the exciting team they are currently.

Team Identity

Anyone even casually paying attention to the NHL knows that the Hurricanes embraced a cohesive team identity last season with their Storm Surge celebrations after home wins. While some in the sport were turned off, it clearly helped them as they took a major step forward last season.

While I am not advocating for the Wings to do their own version of a Storm Surge, bringing in Yzerman seems to have led to a shift in the team identity. Even though Dylan Larkin is not wearing the C on his jersey, he appears to have taken over the role of team captain in all but the official title. The mantle has been passed to the young core of the team.

For tickets to Monday’s game, you can get them here at StubHub.

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