DETROIT (AP) — Yzerman press conference scheduled for 3pm today.

 

DETROIT, MI – APRIL 09: Former Detroit Red Wing Steve Yzerman #19 enters a ceremony honoring Joe Louis Arena on April 9, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. The Detroit Red Wings beat the New Jersey Devils 4-1 in the last NHL game at the arena. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

 

The Detroit Red Wings ended a third straight season without a postseason bid, counting on a core of players 24 years old and younger to end the postseason drought next year.

Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou, and Tyler Bertuzzi each set career highs for scoring and Anthony Mantha matched his highest point total.

 

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – JANUARY 04: Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings reacts to his game winning overtime goal to beat the Nashville Predators 4-3 at Little Caesars Arena on January 04, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

 

Even though Detroit had more points in the standings than just three teams in the NHL, the quartet is generating hope for the future.

“It’s extremely satisfying to see what these young guys can do,” 38-year-old defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “I think if people can stay patient with this process, Larkin is going to lead the way to bring the franchise back to where we all want it to be.”

 

 

GLENDALE, AZ – JANUARY 14: Head coach Jeff Blashill of the Detroit Red Wings watches from the bench during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on January 14, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Red Wings defeated the Coyotes 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

 

The Red Wings ended talk about who would be their coach next season, giving coach Jeff Blashill a two-year contract extension earlier this month.  They also decided to stick with goaltender Jimmy Howard, signing him to a one-year deal last month to keep him under contract next year.

A tweet from the Red Wings organization has Wings fans buzzing.

 

 

No matter who is coaching or running the franchise, the Red Wings desperately need Larkin, Athanasiou, Bertuzzi and Mantha to lead the way on the ice.

 

 

DETROIT, MI – MARCH 08: Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland talks with team owner Marian Ilitch talk at the public viewing for former Detroit Red Wings player Ted Lindsay, Friday, March 8, 2019, in Detroit. Lindsay pioneered the first NHL hockey players’ union despite intense opposition from team management, began the tradition of taking the Stanley Cup closer to fans by skating it around the ice and refused to attend his own Hall of Fame induction ceremony because only men were allowed. Lindsay died Monday at the age of 93. (Photo by Paul Sancya-Pool/Getty Images)

 

 

“Can they carry a hockey team to wins? That’s a big question they’ll answer on a nightly basis next year,” Blashill said. “It’s a heck of a responsibility. I don’t think there’s very many young players throughout the league that are able to carry their team. We’re going to ask that group of four up front to be a huge piece to carrying this team and they’re going to have to spend the summer getting way better.”

The Red Wings are likely not ready to be major players in free agency because they’re more than a player or two away from contending for a championship. They will have some decisions to make with their own players eligible to be unrestricted free agents, including Kronwall, who played 79 games for a second straight year to show he can stay healthy and be productive.

 

 

 

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