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Detroit Red Wings

Red Wings Two Truths and a Lie: Cause for Concern?



Dylan Larkin, red wings

The Detroit Red Wings have been fighting through injury, hardly something unique just to them. But the players it has been hitting certainly has an effect that can slow the progress made since the season opened.

From the hit that sent Filip Hronek out of Wednesday’s loss to the Minnesota Wild, to Dylan Larkin’s injury that is likely to keep him out another game, Detroit is starting to sputter a bit.

But is it cause for concern? Here’s a closer look, two truths and a lie style, that examines what is a true concern and what isn’t.

Truth: The Red Wings are a Deeper Team Which Should Help Competitiveness

Last season, the Red Wings hit the wall around the same time of the season, dropping below .500 after the New Year and then really falling apart after some tough losses with lopsided goal differentials.

This season? Even with Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, Jakub Vrana, and potentially Hronek out of the lineup, the Red Wings can still rely on some talent to help them through a tough stretch without key players.

Another crack at the Elmer Soderblom-Michael Rasmussen-Oskar Sundqvist line could be in order as the towering Swede has returned to the Detroit roster. Jonatan Berggren has yet to see top six minutes, something that might be a very real option with so many of the regulars missing time.

Lucas Raymond hasn’t been the player of last season, but is dangerous at any given point. If he finds his scoring touch, there’s additional scoring.

David Perron has been the smart, point-producing veteran the Red Wings have relied upon in some tough battles this season. Beyond that, Ville Husso is proving to be dynamite between the pipes, one of the main reasons Detroit only lost 1-0 to Carolina in an effort where the Red Wings offense was unable to generate much.

It’s fair to think the Red Wings might hit the skids without Larkin, who is one of their main generators of offense. But Detroit is in a much better position this season when it comes to depth than last season.

But with that said….

Truth: A Lengthy Larkin Injury Would Be Worst Case Scenario for Detroit

Now for the bad news–a long time without Larkin does not bode well long term for Detroit. It’s not that they won’t be competitive–it’s that Larkin has absolutely driven Detroit’s offensive attack this season.

When both Larkin and Hronek were out for nearly the entirety of the Minnesota game, Detroit struggled mightily to generate scoring chances. Beyond that, since Larkin exited during Tuesday’s game in the second period, the Red Wings have scored just once.

With Saturday’s game against Ottawa, Detroit faces a division foe that is trending up while the Red Wings’ fortunes have been going the opposite direction. In the span of their last four games, the Red wings have been outscored 13-4. Since a big win over Tampa Bay nearly two weeks ago, they’ve lost four straight.

Larkin’s injury doesn’t help matters. And if that injury keeps him out for some time, the temptation would possibly turn to fans wondering if another high draft pick would be the best route for the Red Wings.

Lie: Prolonged Losing Should Shift Detroit’s Focus Back to Lottery Luck

On the one hand, yes, it’s sure tempting that the Red Wings should look back at the draft and the potential at going after one last hope of lottery luck. If they’re losing top scorers left and right and their offense is weakened significantly, the idea to maneuver back to what’s been the constant for nearly a decade sure seems a rational approach.

But on the other hand, would this be the final time Detroit sells players off for picks and prospects, hoping that one final shot at the lottery finally results in some luck?

There’s a lot of gray area between the arguments.

Tanking would be holding a lot of hope that the lottery combinations finally go the Red Wings way. They’ve never moved up, have moved down four times, and stayed in their initial spot twice.

The luck just hasn’t been on their side.

Beyond that, is there a psychological aspect of shifting back into the here-we-go-again mindset of every game being a tough road to victory rather than having a chance every time to win.

The 2021-22 season started out with excitement before fading into blowout losses and injuries that piled up. The 2022-23 season has been a step forward, but that familiar wall hit last year around this time and sprung back up.

Albeit for different reasons.

Much will hinge on the health of Detroit’s two offensive drivers, Larkin and Hronek. Not to mention the other aforementioned goal scorers who have been missing.

There’s been a different vibe to this iteration of the Red Wings. It’s certainly facing its first big test with the slew of injuries.