Detroit Red Wings fans got a glimpse into the future on Sunday and it was dynamic. In this certainly small sample size, Detroit’s future seems so bright, the faithful might need to don shades.
During a 5-2 road win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, there were four first-round draft picks of Detroit GM Steve Yzerman among the 18 skaters suited up for the first time. Center Marco Kasper, selected eighth overall, was making his NHL debut.
“I thought Marco was great,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde was telling Bally Sports Detroit after the game. “Simple game, safe game, good team game. Never got himself in trouble. Was around the net.”
Kasper played 14:59 in his NHL bow. “I think the underlying numbers for him are going to be very good,” Lalonde said. “I think for a first game, under these type of circumstances, he passed with flying colors.”
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Defenseman Simon Edvinsson, selected sixth overall in 2021, was playing his first NHL road game, and the team was relying on him heavily. Edvinsson wound up skating 22:25. Among Red Wings players, only Moritz Seider (22:45) wound up seeing more ice time.
Seider, Yzerman’s first-ever Detroit first-round pick when he was tabbed sixth in 2019, drew an assist in the game while playing against Toronto’s top players. In eight career games against the Maple Leafs, Seider’s account is showing nine points.
Red Wings Seider A Sensational Sophomore
While the obvious numbers for Seider might not look as impressive on paper as they were last season while he was earning the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie, the fact of the matter is that he’s performing in a much more well-rounded fashion this season.
“I think for me it’s night and day,” suggested Detroit assistant coach Bob Boughner. “Mo obviously had a great rookie season. I thought that he put a lot of points up and he won the big prize, but I think there’s parts of his game that have improved since training camp. You can see how physical he’s playing. He’s taking that assignment of playing against the top players every night. He is taking that challenge of shutting the other team’s talent down with great pride.
“He’s become an elite penalty killer. He’s learning how to run that first unit up top on the power play. He’s getting lots of opportunity there. It’s a lot to be asking of a guy that age with that experience but excited to see where he goes, because I mean the sky is really the limit for him.”
Up front, skating on Kasper’s wing was Lucas Raymond. The second-year winger also drew an assist during the game. With 16 goals, Raymond is still in with an outside chance at another 20-goal campaign.
Kasper Showing Defensive Responsibility
What’s impressive about Kasper is that even though he’s still 18, it’s clear that a responibility gene is pumping through his veins.
“I think that’s his DNA, too, which is good, and why we’re all so excited about him,” Lalonde said.
Kasper made no attempt to dissuade this notion.
“I think it’s important to play responsible both sides of the puck and really not let anything happen on the defensive side,” Kasper told Bally Sports Detroit. “So just trying to play responsible out there and do my best.”
While assessing Detroit’s future, let us not forget that the captain is locked in long-term. Dylan Larkin, 26, who came to agreement on an eight-year contract extension with the club, was pacing Sunday’s stunning performance with a hat-trick. That’s giving him 31 goals, one shy of his career high, as well as a career-best 76 points.
“It’s a really hard league,” Lalonde said. “To get 30 (goals) is pretty impressive.”
So, too, it would appear, is the future of the Red Wings.