One of the cornerstones of Steve Wasserman’s rebuilding Detroit Reshapes the defense pipeline for the Red Wings. In his first three years on the job, the general manager used six amazing picks in his first two rounds on defenders, and last year, he was the first of those cheaters – Moritz Cider – go out to NHL amazingly.
A year later, two more of Detroit’s top defensive candidates, Simon Edvinson and Albert Johansson, will be at Traverse City for their first training camp. But after a busy period that saw Yzerman sign three new defenders who are expected to be on the roster, they will have a lot to prove once they get there.
So, after asking one question about every striker earlier this week, here’s one question about every defender and striker on the Red Wings squad as training camp approaches.
How better could it be?
There’s not a lot to be said for Seider’s stellar debut season. He broke into the league, took penalties and scored 50 points On the way to the Calder Cup. And now, all eyes are on his appearance.
It will be tough to top his debut, but expectations are really high for Cider, with many – myself included – believing he could join the league’s defensive elite in the Norris Cup conversation. Cal Makar And the Adam Fox They’ve shown in the past two seasons that voters have no problem honoring young defenders among the best players in the league. Of course, Fox and Makar, among others, remain major hurdles for Seider to actually win the award anytime soon, a high bar with four of the award’s top five riders scoring more than 70 points last season.
But Seider still has a way to join the perimeter of that conversation thanks to his two-way ability. If he can add 10 or so points while still improving his natural defensive ability, he can be considered from the top 10 to 15 by the end of the season.
Is he one of the top four long-term players?
In terms of production, Red Wings knows exactly what to expect from Hronek. The 24-year-old defensive player averaged between 0.46 and 0.5 points per game in each of four NHL seasons — a scoring average that, in addition to being remarkably consistent, ranks 40th among all NHL defenders in that period (minimum of which 80 matches have been played). He’s also played a big role in Detroit, scoring more than 22 minutes in each of the past three years.
Knowing only these facts, this question might seem like a no-brainer to a defensive man still very young.
But Hronek also had the hiccups of that period, especially defensive. His shot size and quality numbers have been rocky for a while, and eye testing is increasingly starting to back that up.
He’s entered the top four this season, that’s for sure. But now that Seider has emerged as the top backbone on the right, it will be interesting to see if Hronek can deliver better overall effects on the gameplay and re-enforce that he should remain part of the core, or if Detroit might need to start in Think of long-term alternatives as the team pushes to compete for the playoff.
Does Faith Reward Detroit?
It was clear that the Red Wings wanted to tackle their defense this off season, and Chiarot was the biggest addition they made in trying to do so, signing the 6-foot-3 defender on a four-year deal. Yzerman hasn’t given that kind of term lightly since arriving in Detroit, especially to a 31-year-old, so all eyes will now be on Chiarot to reward this vote of confidence.
The contract has been subject to some public criticism, It is largely due to some unfavorable outcomes With advanced stats models, but Chiarot’s reputation in the league shines a bit brighter – and the top teams have looked to him in the past. He should bring some much-needed physique to Detroit and could act as Cider’s number one defense partner. If the Red Wings help keep more bodies out of the creases and the pucks out of the net, much of the contract talk will quickly wear off.
Are there more violations in the store?
Like Chiarot, Määttä was brought with defense in mind. And his history says he can really help Detroit in this regard. But in his opening press conference, Miyata also said he thinks he has a lot more to offer aggressively than the numbers have shown. If that pays off in what should be a top-four run for the Red Wings, he could turn out to be the most underrated signing of the Detroit offseason.
Is he NHL ready?
This is the million dollar question that will dominate camp and pre-season. Edvinson was the No. 6 pick in 2021 Excellent last season When I was 18 years old at SHL. At 6 feet 6 feet tall, he has size, skates well, and his strong defensive stick allows him to split plays. For all these reasons, he is expected to take a long look at the evening’s opening line-up.
But there are still questions to answer. As good a league as the SHL is, it’s still not the NHL, and in pre-season Edvinsson will experience a faster pace of play – on smaller ice – which will test whether he’s ready to tackle the game so quickly.
His youngest in the world was a reminder that he’s still 19 and probably needs some polishing. And if that were the case, Detroit would simply send him to Grand Rapids, on the same two-year development path that Seider completed before he debuted.
But the best case scenario for the Red Wings is definitely Edvinsson showing up and making a quick impact against the NHL competition with his height, instincts and ability to move the puck.
We’ll find out soon if he’s ready to do it.
Jordan AusterlAnd the Robert Haag And the Gustav Lindstrom
Who earns a lineup spot?
Depending on whether Edvinsson gets a job (and assuming full health), there will be either one or two more spots in the lineup available from this group of three, all of whom played at least 45 NHL games last season. And if the Red Wings choose to carry 14 attacks forward, one of those three could find themselves in concessions if Edvinsson claims a place.
Either way, it should be a great pre-season battle between new man Hague (veteran defender – senior defender) and returning Oesterle and Lindstrom.
Detroit may be hoping the 24-year-old Lindstrom can separate himself by taking the next step. But the depth here will impose real competition and could leave a difficult decision for Yzerman.
Could it be a camp surprise?
Coming from Sweden to play his first season in North America, Johansson is a long-range shot, but also a wild card.
His pure skating should be among the best – if not The BEST – He’s in the center of Detroit, and he has some impressive puck skills. But he will also have to demonstrate that he can perform the task defensively if he is going to take a real tour of the job.
Most likely, Johansson has been set for a year (or maybe two) to add polish in Grand Rapids, presumably getting her major power play semblances in the process. But his raw skills still make him a player to watch this season.
How much time will he miss?
Capturing a trade deadline, the Walman skate is probably the best in the Red Wings. But Detroit will miss him to start the season after he underwent shoulder surgery. And as with Ruby FabriIt is not clear how long his recovery will keep him aside.
If he’s healthy, Wollman will be in the same mix with Hagg, Oesterle, and Lindstrom – and he’ll probably be a favorite out of it. But instead, he was willing to spend a training camp just trying to get back to 100 percent.
What would it look like in a new setting?
Hosu broke out last season in St. Louis, finishing seventh in the Vesina vote after posting 0.919 savings in 40 games.
His workload may be similar to what he has been asked to play this season in Detroit, where he joins Alex Ndeljkovic To form what should be a true tandem pose. But the degree of difficulty is still increasing, as the Red Wings were one of the worst defensive teams in the league a year ago. How would Hoso deal with it if the team in front of him gave up more dangerous opportunities? There’s a whole new kind of pressure out there.
Now, Detroit has made a clear effort to improve that part of its team this season, and it probably will pay off. But after the last few seasons, I’m going to need to see it to believe it.
Can he regain his early edge in the season?
Nedelkovic entered last season with the same question Hoso asked – coming off a great run behind a great team, but getting into an entirely different situation. By the end of the year, that new environment seemed hard to beat. After converting to an excellent .932 level, save percentage as a novice in Carolinafinished his first year in Detroit just a hair above 0.900.
But it’s easy to forget that in the first three months, Nedelkovic was fantastic. He had a 0.918 save percentage as of January 17, stole a handful of matches and made eight performances with at least 35 saves in his first 28 games.
It took a stumble from there, and the next two months saw it bombard a 0.875 savings ratio as Detroit’s promising start collapsed. As he settled for a bit on the sprawl, the entirety of the work posed a question: Which Nidlikovich can expect the Red Wings to move forward?
The Husso acquisition brought some competition, but consider me a vote more toward the former. The Red Wings worked hard on Nedeljkovic last season, including reintroducing him in matches he had already pulled out of. There is a physical and mental wear and tear to that, especially given the way the team was playing in front of him. That three-month sampling to start the year was proof that Ndeljkovic can still thrive outside of Carolina’s strong defensive environment.
With that in mind, perhaps a Husso tandem will work with all sides, allowing Nedeljekovic to stay fresh and Detroit for an alternative he feels confident in.
(Top photo by Phil Hoso: Brad Rimple/USA Today)