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Defensive Production Highlights Fast Start By Red Wings

Three Detroit Red Wings defenseman are on pace for 30-point seasons



Filip Hronek, Detroit Red Wings
Filip Hronek is currently scoring at a 51-point pace.

Let’s face it, if you were to give a dissertation on what went wrong for the Detroit Red Wings last season, defensive play would be a keynote of that address. What they did with the puck, what they did without the puck, it all too often added up to a disastrous outcome.

Detroit finished last in the NHL in high danger chances allowed. The 312 goals the Red Wings gave up was placing them 31st overall in the league. It was the most pucks put into the Detroit net in a single season since 1989-90 (323).

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This season, though, when speaking to the subject of Detroit’s impressive 7-3-2 start, much reverence and credit must be sent in the direction of the Red Wings rearguard. The blueline brigade is getting the job done with and without the puck. Five of seven defenseman who’ve played for Detroit this season are displaying a plus rating.

“I think it starts in our D zone,” forward Pius Suter was assessing of the club’s improving defensive game. “We get out quicker, breakouts and all that stuff. Then you just have more time to play O-zone.

“If you get the puck out quicker, it’s harder for them to regroup also. They get frustrated and I think that translates defensively to more and more O zone time.”

Red Wings Rearguard Adding Up Numbers

Yes, they’re improving their game in their own end of the rink. However, the blueline brigade is also pitching in to help put the puck into the other team’s net.

“I love what we’re seeing from our D, because it’s been simple offense,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said. “It’s been good offense, it’s been simple offense. It hasn’t been the risk, join the rush, get ahead of the rush, cheat, poach.

“Our offense has been jumping in the play correctly for the right offense. So those guys are getting rewarded for managing the puck out of our zone and it ends up in the net at the other end.”

All but one of the seven defenseman to suit up this season has collected a point. In fact, three Detroit defensemen are on pace to clear the 30-point plateau.

Filip Hronek is enjoying a stellar bounce back year. With eight assists through 13 games, Hronek is on a 51-point pace. Olli Maatta (2-4-6) is en route to a 38-point year. A 50-point player last season, 2021-22 Calder Trophy winner Moritz Seider is a bit slower off the mark this season with five assists. However, that’s still good enough right now to finish with 32 points.

A trio of 30-point defensemen is something that hasn’t happened in Hockeytown since the 2011-12 season, which also happened to be the final campaign that seven-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom was skating on the Detroit defense.

Niklas Kronwall (36), Lidstrom (34) and Ian White (32) all climbed above 30 points. Both Kronwall (15) and Lidstrom (11) also hit double digits in goals that season.

Of course, both Lidstrom and Kronwall are currently on the Detroit staff, helping mold the defense of the future for the franchise.

This season, the coach likes what he’s seeing from his defensive crew.

“Being predictable and simple in our o-zone, I’m really happy with what our D have given us,” Lalonde said.