Are the 2019-2020 Detroit Red Wings the Worst AB Team We’ve Ever Seen?

We all know how awful the Detroit Red Wings on-ice performance was during their seventy-one games played in the 2019-2020 NHL season, as they only registered thirty-nine points in that span, with a record of 17-49-5. In fact, seven teams had more wins than Detroit had points this season, which is simply unbelievable. The question is, just how bad were they in terms of AB?


The 2019-2020 Detroit Red Wings now officially hold the record for the worst team AB score ever in our thirteen seasons of using the metric at a -147.74 team score. Only six teams prior to this season had ever crossed the -100 team score plateau, as the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning both did it in 2008-2009 (-124.66 and -117.74 respectively), the Edmonton Oilers in both 2020-2011 and 2014-2015 (-117.66 and -103.59 respectively), and the Colorado Avalanche in 2016-2017 with a score of -113.25. They were the most recent team to record a -100 or worse score until the Red Wings did it this year. Out of these six teams, three of them received the number one pick in the NHL draft, and were used to select Connor McDavid (EDM 2015), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM 2011), and John Tavares (NYI 2009). 5 of the 6 teams received Top 3 selections in their drafts, as only the 2016-17 Colorado Avalanche did not receive a Top 3 selection. If history repeats itself, the Red Wings will get one of the top prospects in the upcoming NHL draft, as no team with a -100 team AB score has ever fallen out of the Top 5 selections.


Interestingly enough, all six of these teams that recorded -100 or worse scores, five of these teams improved not only from their -100 seasons but the season before as well. The New York Islanders improved by +8.43 points from 2007-2010. The Tampa Bay Lightning improved by +13.16 points from 2007-2010. The Edmonton Oilers improved by +5.77 points from 2009-2012. The Colorado Avalanche improved +54.66 from 2015-2018. Finally, the Edmonton Oilers improved again by +8.66 points from 2013-2016. The Arizona Coyotes were the only team that had a worse team AB score after receiving their Top five pick than the year before their -100 season, as they regressed -11.63 points from 2013-2016.


The following table shows the ranges of individual AB scores for the players of these seven -100 teams, to break down exactly how many players the team had to contribute to this number.


Range 19-20 DET 08-09 NYI 08-09 TBL 10-11 EDM 16-17 COL 14-15 ARI 14-15 EDM
Positive 1 7 9 6 1 5 8
-0.01-2 2 3 2 4 4 0 2
-2 to -3 5 1 2 4 1 2 3
-3 to -4 2 3 2 2 1 4 4
-4 to -5 6 5 2 2 2 2 1
-5 below 12 7 12 9 13 11 10
Total 28 26 29 27 22 24 28


As you can see in the table, the 2019-2020 Detroit Red Wings were tied for the lowest number of positive players on a -100 team and tied for 2nd with 12 players -5 or worse. They also had the highest number of players ranging from -4 to -5 with 6. Like we discussed before, this combination of 2019-20 Red Wings resulted in the worst team AB score we’ve ever seen at HFFA with a -147. 74 score, which is 23.08 points worse than the 2008-2009 NY Islanders, who previously held the record at -124.66. On the bright side, the average improvement of these six -100 or worse teams the following season is +52.7 points, which would obviously be a major step in the right direction for Detroit, as well as landing the #1 overall pick in the upcoming NHL draft. More to come.


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