The Detroit Red Wings have seen their depth challenged before they could even hit the 10-game mark of the season. Givani Smith and Matt Luff were the first call ups as they try to patch the holes.
With a “next man up” mentality, here’s a look at some of the players during the latest stretch of losses who have produced and been solid performers for the Red Wings during a time of need.
Larkin is still over a point-per-game production with 10 (4-6) so far this season. During the 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild, he turned an astute defensive play into an offensive rush. The rush evolved into a golden opportunity for Adam Erne, whose shot was turned away. Later in the period, Larkin took a pass, made a move to muscle into the high slot, and ripped a shot that rang off the post.
On both of Lucas Raymond’s goals in the 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild, Larkin factored in with a secondary assist. On both tallies, it was Larkin who spearheaded the opportunity. Sharp passes to Erne and Domink Kubalik respectively on the first and second goals, who in turn, fed Raymond for the goal.
With key players missing time, Larkin is logging more time on the ice, and led all skaters with 22:14 against New Jersey. He led all forwards in ice time with 20:05 during the 5-1 loss to Boston Thursday night. Larkin has been playing north of 20 minutes in six of the first eight games this season.
With just about 10 percent of the season in the books, Larkin has undoubtedly been Detroit’s best player and has provided nothing short of a blue chip performance night in and night out.
Slotted up to the first line against Minnesota, Erne delivered a big assist that set up Raymond’s first goal of the season. Erne registered the Red Wings only goal in the loss to Boston. The physical forward has four points (1-3) in his last four games and justified head coach Derek Lalonde’s decision to try him out on the top line.
The early returns for Erne have been encouraging during a hopeful bounce back season that is also the final year of his contract.
— Alexander Johnson (@AJohnsonSports) October 17, 2022
To build on this success, Lalonde believes Erne shouldn’t stray from what works for him, no matter where he is in the lineup.
“But at times when he goes and complements the top guys he changes his game a little bit and tries to turn a little more into a skill game,” Lalonde said. “Tonight he did not do that.”
“I really liked that line,” Lalonde continued. “Analytically, I don’t even have to look at it, they’re going to come out of this game with really high numbers in every situation and he was a big part of it.”
The Boston game was the outlier, a contest where the Red Wings went from chasing one goal in the third to suddenly down four in less than two minutes. Husso was given the chance Saturday night to show it was an anomaly and he did just that. Not only did he swat 30 shots away, Husso stood tall when needed. During the third period when the Red Wings were outshot 10-1, he was a wall between the pipes.
Lalonde couldn’t have been more pleased with Husso, praising his efforts against one of the league’s most impressive attacks.
“He was excellent,” Lalonde said. “We put him in a bad situation to give up an odd-man early, especially to the type of players we did. They are one of the highest-scoring teams in the league. This is a challenge. They’re picking corners. There’s deception in their play. They play east-west. They’re hard on goalies. I thought Ville played exceptionally well tonight.”
Husso was stellar against Anaheim during Detroit’s 5-1 victory, turning 32 shots aside. In the three-game stint, he’s 2-1 with a .928 save percentage.