Detroit Hockey Now’s Red Wings Review series is assessing every player who held a significant place in the fortunes of the 2022-23 Detroit Red Wings season. We’ll be looking at the highs and lows they experienced during the just-completed campaign, as well as what the future holds for them in Detroit. Today, we feature defenseman Jake Walman
2022-23 totals (GP-G-A-P): 63-9-9-18
Contract Status: Signed through 2025-26
Jake Walman boasts a new three-year contract worth $10.2 million. He’s playing among the Red Wings’ top four defensemen with Moritz Seider who is one of the world’s best young hockey players. And he was recently named to play for Team Canada at the World Championships.
It’s like he hit the trifecta with a big payoff, or matched all of the numbers on a lottery ticket. This has clearly been a career-changing season for Walman.
He came into the season rehabbing from shoulder surgery and trying to prove he belonged permanently on Detroit’s defense. He left the season with management believing he’s an important player for this rebuilding team.
When coach Derek Lalonde was asked about the core players in the rebuild, he said recently: “Walman — you can put him in that group.”
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) May 5, 2023
2022-23 Red Wings Highlights
On Dec. 28, the Red Wings rallied from a four-goal deficit to down the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4 on an overtime goal by Walman.
After he scored, he broke out the Griddy celebration he had been working on. It was an internet hit. His Griddy went viral.
JAKE WALMAN HITS THE GRITTY AFTER SCORING THE OT WINNER!!!!
— Nathan “Grav" (@NathanGraviteh) December 29, 2022
2022-23 Red Wings Lowlight
Down the stretch, when the Red Wings were struggling to deal with injuries and the management decision to move Filip Hronek and Tyler Bertuzzi, Walman was one of the players who saw his numbers take a hit.
He was -7 in last five games. Contrast that with how Walman started the season: +14 in his first 17 games.
What Does His Detroit Future Hold?
The Red Wings don’t have to worry about Walman taking his elevated status for granted. Complacency is not an option.
“I’m so competitive, it looks like a successful season but I’m not happy with it,” Walman said. “I am happy with it, but I know there’s a lot more than I can give. I don’t have limits on what I can do. Not just me, but the team. It’s still going to be the same summer I’ve done every summer, train hard, thinking about the jumps and strides you’ve taken in the team game next year. I’m not really relaxed and content, I’m more excited.
He is thankful to be in the top four, and particularly to be playing with Seider.
“I think it works because we’re similar players in most aspects of the game,” Walman said. “I’ve said it all along, he’s a beast out there. He can do it all. He can do everything by himself. We can learn a lot from each other. I’ve taken stuff from him. I’ve always tried to be tenacious defending and he’s got that, too. He can break the puck out, he can bully guys off the puck, he can join the play. I think we complement each other really well. Whenever he’s up in the play I’ll stay back and whenever I’m up, he knows to stay back. I don’t know if it’s hockey IQ or what, but I know where he’s going to be, he knows where I’m going to be.”
Walman is analytical in his approach to the game, and that’s why he will be on Detroit’s defense for the next few years.