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 recently-completed campaign, as well as what the future holds for them in Detroit. Today, we feature Taro Hirose
Position: Left Wing
2022-23 totals (GP-G-A-PTS-): 3-0-0-0
Contract Status: Signed through the 2023-24 season at $850,000.
Every NHL team needs players such as Taro Hirose. When you hear coaches speaking to the value of organizational depth, it’s guys like Hirose that they are talking about.
Undersized for an NHLer at 5-foot-10 and 162 pounds, Hirose is nonetheless skilled enough that he can step in and fill a role for the Red Wings when called upon.
— Grand Rapids Griffins (@griffinshockey) April 15, 2023
“Just doing the right things every day and then when you get your chance up here just try to take a hold of it,” Hirose listed as the role he sees himself filling.
2022-23 Red Wings Highlights
Twice recalled from the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins under emergency conditions, Hirose would fill a bottom-six forward role in three NHL games for the Red Wings.
Taro Hirose posted career highs in goals (16), assists (41), points (57) and games played (71) during the 2022-23 season #GoGRG
— Grand Rapids Griffins (@griffinshockey) May 9, 2023
With the Griffins, Hirose set career highs in games played (71), goals (16), 41 assists (41), and points (57). He led the club in assists and points. He wound up tied for 11th in the AHL in assists and sixth in the league in power-play assists (22). Hirose would tally his first pro hat-trick during a 6-5 win over the San Diego Gulls on Nov. 18.
2022-23 Red Wings Lowlights
While he’s enjoyed stints with Detroit in each of his five NHL seasons, the three games played last season were the lowest NHL total in any of Hirose pro campaigns. He was good for 15 games in 2021-22, collecting 1-3-4 totals. Overall, he’s played 60 NHL games for Detroit, counting four goals and 16 assists.
The future, though, may hold more of an AHL role for Hirose as a teacher to younger forwards such as Elmer Soderblom, Cross Hanas, Amadeus Lombardi and Carter Mazur, who will be seeking to climb to the NHL level as pros.
What Does His Detroit Future Hold?
In Grand Rapids, Hirose is now sixth in franchise history in assists (124) and 10th in points (165). It will be his destiny again to fill a top-six forward role with the Griffins in 2023-24, while being on call should the Red Wings find the need for help. He’ll also be tasked with helping to mentor the young forwards coming up through the Detroit system.
“I think I can help the younger guys,” Hirose said. “Anything I can do to help any of the younger guys improve their game I’m all for it.”