In order to properly discuss why the Detroit Red Wings offensive production from the blue line has been spooky-good, you have to admit you’ve seen a Ghost.
The spirited play of Shayne Gostisbehere, or Ghost as he is known to teammates, is a primary reason why the Red Wings were leading the NHL in defense scoring earlier this week. Detroit has 43 blue line points in 10 games going into tonight’s game against the Florida Panthers.
“A lot of those points have come from him off the power play,” coach Derek Lalonde said. ” Him getting involved, moving the puck. I get real excited when D create simple offense. When the 200-foot goals start from the simple plays out of their zone or just simple on the blue line… But I love the simple offense. Shayne’s been a big part of that, too.”
After GM Steve Yzerman signed Gostisbehere, it was no longer a given that Moritz Seider would lead Detroit defensemen scoring. Gostisbehere put up 65 points one season for the Philadelphia Flyers and totaled 51 points for the Arizona Coyotes in 2021-22. In the early going, Seider has 10 points and Gostisbehere boasts nine for Detroit.
“I didn’t realize we’re leading the league,” Lalonde said. “It’s part of the offense. We talked about being deeper with our scoring, getting it throughout the lineup. It’s with our D, too. I don’t think our structure is much different than anyone else. We want them involved without risk. We want them involved the correct way. For the most part they’re doing that. So I think it’s a good sign and why we’re probably off to the offensive start we are.”
Averaging four goals per game, the Red Wings are tied for third in NHL scoring. The defense scoring is a big part of that. Although it’s early in the season, it’s encouraging nonetheless. The Red Wings ranked 24th in scoring last season.
D Men Attacking
Gostisbehere says he feels Detroit defensemen have license to attack if an opportunity is present.
“Any chance we’re told, any defenseman, if we can get up in the rush, be part of the play,” Gostisbehere said. “That’s what we are trying to do. I think as a D rops our first (priority) is to keep pucks out of the net. But I think more of our offensive side, when we have the puck a little more, that plays as defense.”
Gostisbehere has always had a reputation of a player who has excellent instincts on when to shoot on the power play. The Red Wings have been using him on the wing on the power play, even though he’s equally effective on the point.
“Give (assistant coach) Alex Tanguay credit,” Lalonde said. “He was doing that in Arizona, towards the end of his time there, playing a little bit on the half wall. He can still shoot it. It’s not uncommon for D to be in that shooting half wall. Versatile. He can play both spots. We may even have some time where he sees some time at top also.”