There wasn’t much for the Detroit Red Wings to like about Monday’s 6-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators. However, Detroit coach Derek Lalonde did unearth a postive in the defensive commitment and sacrifice Jake Walman was making.
“I like some of the things he did,” Lalonde said. “Obviously eating some pucks on the penalty kill.”
Walman also likes some of the things he’s done since arriving in Detroit at the NHL trade deadline a year ago. In that year he’s gone from a guy who was unable to carve out a permanent home of the blueline of the St. Louis Blues to a top-pairing shutdown defender in Detroit.
Each night, Lalonde assigns Walman and 2021-22 Calder Trophy winner Moritz Seider the task of slowing down the other team’s best players.
It’s a role in which Walman is flourishing and reveling. And also one for which he expresses no desire to stop filling. And unrestricted free agent at season’s end, Walman is making one thing abundantly clear – Detroit has become home and he’d like nothing more than to make it a long-term arrangement.
“I got an opportunity here and I’ve always said I want to play where I’m wanted,” Walman said. “That’s always been my motto. I’ll play my heart out for whoever wants me.
“That’s how I’ve been going about it. It’s what I’m trying to do here.”
Walman Remaining Mum On Contract Talks
Walman is among three members of the Red Wings core who are soon to be UFAs. Captain Dylan Larkin and winger Tyler Bertuzzi are the others. And as is the case with both of their situations, things are going just as Detroit GM Steve Yzerman prefers it to be. All’s quiet on the negotiating news front.
Postgame, DET coach Derek Lalonde tells @iamtrevort that Jake Walman is fine after punishing loss to OTT. Details uncertain at this time, but it's believed Walman and Wings are closing in on an extension. He's come a long way. https://t.co/0h4iQxZPUt
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 28, 2023
Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night In Canada is reporting that Walman and the Red Wings are closing in on an agreement for a contract extension. If he knows the details, Walman isn’t saying.
“I’ll leave that for him,” Walman suggested when questioned about the status of his contract talks, wisely deferring to Yzerman. “You can ask him that. I don’t know.
“I think we’re building something here. That’s all I’ll say.”
Pushing For The Playoffs
For the time being, Walman wants to be focusing all his energy toward Detroit’s drive for a playoff spot. Following Monday’s loss in Ottawa, the Red Wings are three points out of the second Wild Card spot in the NHL’s Eastern Conference.
“It’s not fun being out of the picture,” Walman said of last season. “I’ve been part of those teams in the past where you’re always kind of in it and this is starting to feel like that, like we’re building something really good.
“It wasn’t really there at the beginning but we’ve just constantly taken steps and we’re growing. I think everybody in the room feels that buzz that we got going right now. It’s a stressful time and we just want to make sure we put ourselves in the right spot so we can make a push and don’t worry about anything else.
“With these guys we brought in, the guys that we have, I think we’re really going to make a push and we all believe in each other.”