Red Wings of Tomorrow is assessing every prospect in the Detroit Red Wings system and what they are projecting to be in the future. We’ll be looking at the strengths and weaknesses of their game, as well as what the future holds for them as they advance through the Detroit organization. Today, we look at left wing Taro Hirose.
Position: Left Wing
How Acquired: Free agent signing in 2019
2021-22 Stats: (GP G-A-Pts) 59-15-38-53 (with Grand Rapids Griffins); 15-1-3-4 (With Detroit Red Wings)
Contract Status: Two-Year Deal; $850,000 AAV
Anticipated 2022-23 Team: Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL)
Hirose has often been seen as a player who’s never had a real chance to crack the lineup. With the slew of signings Steve Yzerman made this offseason, it might be harder for him to get that shot.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) May 21, 2022
Playing 15 games this past season in Detroit, Hirose’s hand-eye can set up a slick pass and he has been known to generate offense. In Grand Rapids, Hirose was just six points shy of being a point-per-game player.
Re-signed in May, Hirose is a depth player for the organization and has shown flashes of contributing for the Red Wings.
Estimated Time of Arrival in Detroit
Hirose has been a player Red Wings fans have wanted to see more of. The problem has been that roster spots haven’t been there, and as mentioned above, those spots have been reduced even more.
Where does it leave Hirose? He’s certainly a skilled forward with his vision, but his skating at times can be a hair short of what the team needs in tighter contests, be it beating an opponent to the puck, or having that needed burst of speed to open up a scoring chance. While he’s scored goals at the AHL level, it hasn’t translated with the Red Wings.
Former MSU forward Taro Hirose scores his first goal of the season https://t.co/BQOGxJnGUn
— alex faber (@alexpicfaber) March 20, 2022
During his 26-game chance with Detroit in the 2019-20 season, he had seven points (2-5) and there wasn’t enough of an argument to bring him back for a longer stint in the following seasons. As the roster improves, it will be tougher for Hirose to find a spot to carve out.
However, that’s not to make it sound impossible. A strong preseason with a new staff could position Hirose for a spot with the bottom six. His vision, along with his stickhandling, is what earned him a shot with the organization in the first place. Cutting down on turnovers, putting on some muscle, and converting some chances could open possibilities for Hirose.
He’s already a strong contributor for Grand Rapids. Opportunity will certainly present itself this season for Hirose when injuries inevitably occur. But it certainly seems that the next two years in the organization will be crucial for Hirose to find his footing in Detroit if it’s meant to be.