Filip Hronek took a seat on Saturday. As the defenseman watched, the Detroit Red Wings took it on the chin from the Montreal Canadiens.
Hronek was a healthy scratch for the Red Wings’ 6-1 loss to the Canadiens at the Bell Centre. After the game, Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill acknowledged that health wasn’t an issue for Hronek.
“Coach’s decision,”Blashill said of Hronek’s absence from the lineup. “Just a decision.
“I said we got 8 D that I think are NHL defensemen. I made the decision to put Stech (Troy Stecher) in. Somebody has to come out.”
That the somebody who came out was a clear message from the that what Hronek has been offering the team through the fist four games of the 2021-22 NHL season wasn’t good enough.
— everett (@borntodanhard) October 8, 2021
Last year, Hronek led the Wings in scored with 26 points. He joined Paul Coffey as the only defensemen to lead the team in scoring in a single season in franchise history.
For his performance, the Czech defender, a restricted free agent, was rewarded with a new contract. He signed a three-year deal worth $4.4 million.
Hronek Facing Increasing Expectations
However, with that kind of pact comes an increase in expectations and it’s evident that Hronek wasn’t delivering the goods. Through four games, his stats ledger was showing a solitary assist, even though he was logging a team-high 23:03 in ice time per game. Hronek’s Corsi of 37.1 rates the worst among Red Wings bleuliners.
Minus Hronek, Blashill shuffled two of his three defense pairings against Montreal. Marc Staal played with Stecher. Gustav Lindstrom, who was skating in tandem with Staal, slid into Hronek’s vacated spot alongside Danny DeKeyser.
Stecher was seeing his first game action of 2021-22. Jordan Oesterle is the only Red Wings rearguard yet to play in the regular season. Might the former Blackhawk make his Detroit debut on Sunday in Chicago?
Oddly enough, Hronek and Staal were the only Red Wings who played in all 56 games during the 2021 season.
Blashill declined to get into specific details about what Hronek needs to do to perform better and work his way back into the Red Wings lineup.
“No, nothing specific,” Blashil said. “Just coach’s decision.”