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Red Wings Notebook: Lalonde Unperturbed by Chiarot’s Messy Plus/Minus

Chiarot led Red Wings in blocked shots per 60 minutes last season



Ben Chiarot, Red Wings
Red Wings defenseman Ben Chiarot was a team-worst minus-31 last season.

Underlying numbers, fancy starts, or old-school digits – any way you did the math last season, it simply didn’t add up well for Detroit Red Wings defenseman Ben Chiarot.

Playing his first season of five on a long-term UFA contract with an AAV of $4.75 million, Chiarot was a team-worst minus-31. His Corsi rating of 42.3 was also the poorest of any Detroit defender.

However, Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde, who was inserting Chiarot for his first game of the preaseason on Tuesday at Chicago, was quick to jump to the defense of his veteran defenseman, who drew an assist on Detroit’s first goal in the 4-2 loss to teh Blackhawks.

“He can put a lot of value in,” Lalonde said. “Beating the Ben Chiarot drum, he’s extremely valuable to us. Even last year, fielding some questions on some of his underlying numbers and plus/minus, we think he’s very valuable to us in a lot of ways.”

At 6-foot-3 and 232 pounds, Chiarot is capable of playing a heavy game and being a physical presence between the boards. That was an element that was in short supply with the Red Wings last season. Looking to some other numbers, those digits are telling a story of how Chiarot was delivering the goods in other areas of the game.

He was second among the club’s rearguards in hits (147) and blocked shots (163). Chiarot was parrying pucks at a team-high per-game rate of 6.24.

“I think that’s one of the reasons why people are getting away from that black and white plus/minus,” Lalonde said. “I still think there’s some value to it. But at the same time, there’s a reason that black and white plus/minus is getting faded out around the league. He was culpable for some of it but a lot of it was circumstantial.”

Anisimov Gets His Shot

Playing against the club with which he was once posting three successive 20-goal seasons, forward Artem Anisimov got the first chance to show what he could do in the Red Wings uniform on Tuesday.

Skating 13:32 of ice, he was accounting for one hit and two shots. Anisimov was posting an even rating and won 57.1% of his faceoffs.

In camp on a PTO, Anisimov was a frequent linemate of new Red Wings forward Alex DeBrincat when the two were together in Chicago.

DeBrincat, for one, is pulling for his old teammate to find a path to pulling on the winged wheel jersey.

“He’s a big centerman,” DeBrincat said. “I think he can carry the puck up. He plays well with great players. I think he’s got a very good hockey mind, good hockey IQ. He can really move the puck and he’s really good in the O-zone. He’s a great player.

“We’ll see what happens but he’s a great guy and someone I learned from in my time in Chicago. He scored goals every year, was someone that really looks out for the young guys and tries to teach them. He’s a good guy to have around.”

Last season, Anisimov was filling a mentor role to young prospects in the Philadelphia Flyers system while playing with their AHL franchise in Lehigh Valley.