It’s been a long time since the Detroit Red Wings could boast of the balance and depth that exists up and down the club’s current roster. This season, it’s also been awhile since the Detroit squad was able to load all of their firepower up and aim it directly at the opposition.
Not only does Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde boast of a wealth of talent among his forward lines, suddenly he is also awash in depth. He has more forwards than he has available spots in his lineup.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) February 8, 2024
“We’re going to have some tough decisions for scratches,” Lalonde said. “But that’s all part of it. Those are good problems to have.”
Red Wings Dropping Fabbri To Fourth Line
With Patrick Kane returning from a lower-body injury, the Red Wings have 13 healthy forwards. Currently, it’s Klim Kostin who’s the odd man out.
Kane is slotting in on the second line alongside J.T. Compher and David Perron. Despite the history of chemistry between Kane and Alex DeBrincat, Lalonde is opting to maintain the trio of Dylan Larkin with DeBrincat and Lucas Raymond. Fabbri drops from the second line down to a fourth-line spot with Joe Veleno and Daniel Sprong.
The only line remaining intact from prior to the club’s Feb. 1 break is the unit of Andrew Copp, Michael Rasmussen and Christian Fischer. Arguably, they’ve been Detroit’s most effective 200-foot line during the club’s current 9-2-2 run.
“Hopefully like Copp’s line, we can build chemistry and start to click offensively again,” Larkin of the Red Wings top two units.
Firepower On All Four Lines
The Red Wings boast 10 players with 10+ goals and you’ll find them populating all four foward units. Few NHL teams can boast of Detroit’s scoring depth.
The scoring balance of the squad was among the mitigating factors convincing UFA Kane to be choosing the Red Wings as his next team.
“That was one of the things I liked about the team here from the start of the season was just the depth on the team,” Kane said. “You can really count on different guys throughout your lineup to step up every night.”
guess I've been sleeping on the Red Wings offence this season. Tops in the Eastern Conference. #Canucks better not doze in Detroit like they did in Boston especially with Wings getting Patrick Kane back from injury pic.twitter.com/bGAOSTh24C
— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) February 9, 2024
Even fewer teams can count on the kind of scoring that Detroit’s new-look fourth line is capable of delivering. Between them, Sprong (13), Fabbri (13) and Veleno (nine) have illuminated 35 red lamps this season.
“Guys like Spronger and Fabbs, they can score, they can put the puck in the net when they get their chances,” Larkin said. “When you get late into the season, you get in tight games. You need goals like that. You need goals from each line.
“Someone needs to be a hero at different times. That’s why good depth teams make it far.”
Lalonde finds himself with options, and that’s position every coach loves. It also bodes well for Detroit making a strong run to the finish line and ending the club’s seven-season postseason drought.
His fingers adorned with three Stanley Cup rings, Kane has witnessed this formula work well in the past.
“Every team that I’ve been on that’s won had a lot of depth,” Kane said. “We could really build our game here going into the playoffs.”