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Five Random Thoughts About the Red Wings; What’s Up On Larkin Talks?



Olli Maatta

Five thoughts about the Detroit Red Wings that occupied some headspace this morning:

1 Olli Maatta’s Future

It’s early November.  GM Steve Yzerman is thinking about making this Red Wings squad better, not who he might deal at the trade deadline. Maatta has helped the Red Wings improve defensively.  But with so many teams already looking intently for defensive help, it’s fair to wonder if any team has inquired about Maatta’s availability.  After all, he will be an unrestricted free agent again this summer.

2. Hronek’s Revival

Defenseman Filip Hronek fell from favor last season in Detroit. He seemed like a possible trade candidate in the offseason. But that didn’t happen. And under new coach Derek Lalonde, Hronek has been among the team’s most consistent contributors. His 46.7 Corsi rating is best among Red Wings defensemen. He’s tied for fourth in team scoring with 11 points.  Moritz Seider is the only player with more playing time than Hronek. He has benefited by the coaching change.

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3. How much Can Mark Pysyk Help?

The Red Wings’ third pairing defensemen haven’t played as well as the coaching staff had hoped. Gus Lindstrom hasn’t yet taken his game to the next level. Robert Hagg offers a physical element, but is plagued by inconsistency. Mark Pysyk is a veteran defenseman who plays a safe, simple game. Over a full season, he can post 100 hits and 100 blocked shots. He would seem to fit well into Lalonde’s system. He should be ready around New Year’s. If he could add a layer of consistency to the third pairing, it could help the team stabilize the team’s defensive play.

4. The Larkin Question

If you talk to folks around the NHL, the first question they always ask is: Why hasn’t Dylan Larkin re-signed? Heading into the offseason, the best guess was that Larkin, the team’s captain, born and raised in the Detroit area, would be re-signed easily and the Tyler Bertuzzi re-signing would be problematic. But we are steaming toward Thanksgiving and neither player is re-signed. GM Steve Yzerman doesn’t comment on player negotiations, but we can guess the two sides can’t agree on the yearly salary average.  Yzerman probably didn’t like some of the contracts that were given to top players last summer. Larkin’s agent, Pat Brisson, is undoubtedly using them all as comparables. Keep this in mind: Yzerman was comfortable letting Steve Stamkos go to free agency in 2016 and Stamkos ended up staying with Yzerman’s Lightning team. Larkin has made it clear he wants to stay in Detroit.

5. What if…

There is no reason to believe that the Larkin deal won’t get done. Last season, the Predators worked on re-signing Filip Forsberg and didn’t get it done until the 11th hour. The general read was that Forsberg was going to test the market. But he ended up re-signing. But what if Larkin doesn’t get done. Some fans are already wondering what the options are. The Red Wings’ best center prospect is Marco Kasper and he’s still 18 years old. Hockey insider Nick Kypreos floated the idea of the Red Wings going after Bo Horvat. The Vancouver Canucks haven’t been able to re-sign him and he can be an unrestricted free agent next summer. There is some logic to that speculation. They are roughly the same age and have comparable career numbers. Both players are having good seasons, although Horvat has more goals (14 to 7).