The Detroit Red Wings were on the brink of elimination. Down 4-3 to the Montreal Canadiens, the Winged Wheel had just seven seconds to find an equalizer. If they didn't, they would miss the NHL Playoffs for a franchise-record eighth consecutive season. The world smiled upon Hockeytown, though. Pending Red Wings free agents Shayne Gostisbehere and David Perron linked up for a game-tying goal with three seconds remaining.

It seemed as if Detroit had an undeniable magic. The team noted for their ability to mount a comeback had done so once again. But then, it was over. Detroit failed to put the Habs away in overtime, requiring a shootout. However, the Washington Capitals had defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in regulation.

The Red Wings went on to win in the shootout. It didn't matter, though. Detroit was out of the NHL Playoffs once again. They improved by 11 points from the 2022-23 season. But given where they were heading into the NHL Trade Deadline, it feels like a true disappointment.

The Red Wings showed signs of growth and promise this year. That being said, next season may not be as kind to them. And there are two major reasons to be concerned with Detroit heading into the 2024-25 NHL season.

Goaltending remains an issue

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Alex Lyon (34) makes a save in the first period at Little Caesars Arena.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Wings have tried finding a number-one starting goaltender for a few years. Detroit currently is not in need of a long-term option. The team has two of the best goalie prospects in the league, Sebastian Cossa and Trey Augustine, waiting in the wings. They simply need a veteran to hold down the fort until one of them is ready.

However, the Red Wings have failed spectacularly in this endeavor. Now, Detroit's goaltending improved a little this season compared to last. They recorded a .902 save percentage as opposed to the .894 mark from 2022-23. That being said, their goaltending was less than reliable for the vast majority of the season.

The Red Wings tried going with Alex Nedeljkovic, acquiring him in 2021 from the Carolina Hurricanes. He didn't pan out, so they went with Ville Husso in 2022. Husso did show promise, but was overused by head coach Derek Lalonde. Detroit then added veterans James Reimer and Alex Lyon last summer.

Husso struggled with injuries this season. Lyon caught fire in January, but he was also overused by Lalonde during the team's hot streak. Reimer showed some promise, but couldn't string together consistently reliable performances in the crease.

The Red Wings are now in between a rock and a hard place. Detroit needs to address their goaltending once again this summer. However, none of their previous moves have worked to this point. And there's no indication that anyone they bring in, bar an already elite netminder, will buck this trend next season.

Numerous question marks on the roster

This is the biggest cause for concern for the Red Wings. There are a ton of question marks on the roster heading into the offseason. This goes for pending Red Wings free agents and contracted players alike. Detroit has a crucial summer ahead if returning to the NHL Playoffs is their goal for 2024-25.

The biggest piece of business revolves around young stars Lucas Raymond and Mortiz Seider. Detroit's budding superstars have certainly earned themselves new contracts. With their entry-level deals now up, the time for general manager Steve Yzerman to pay up is now.

Once that is taken care of, it's going to be interesting to see how Yzerman approaches NHL Free Agency. He has operated as a free spender in years prior. However, cap space will be limited after Seider and Raymond are paid. What will the Detroit hockey icon do to improve his team's ability to compete?

The Red Wings have a few key players hitting the open market, as well. Future Hall of Famer Patrick Kane will hit the open market after a successful stint in Hockeytown. Furthermore, defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere has earned himself a raise in NHL Free Agency. Veteran forward David Perron is a free agent, as well, and he is key to the team's locker room culture.

What do the Red Wings do with their defensemen, as well? Detroit had a ton of depth on the back end. However, it wasn't exactly the best quality. Jeff Petry struggled mightily in his first season in Detroit. Justin Holl barely got into the lineup. Ben Chiarot did improve, but still struggled with consistency in 2023-24.

Steve Yzerman has done an excellent job as general manager of the Red Wings. They have completely rebuilt their prospect pipeline under his watch. As a result, they should have a bright future. That being said, he has a challenging offseason ahead of him. And the uncertainty should raise some concern heading into next season.