Take a look at our 2023-24 mid-season Detroit Red Wings report card for the team's defensemen and goaltending.
Thanks to a strong month of January, the Detroit Red Wings were able to build themselves right back up and currently find themselves in a playoff spot, holding one of the two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference. And with 32 games remaining in the 2023-24 regular season schedule, let's take a look at our midseason Detroit Red Wings report card for each player, continuing with the defensemen and goaltenders.
The recipient of the 2022 Calder Trophy for the NHL's best rookie has encountered a rollercoaster ride in his third season in the league. Despite maintaining a significant presence as Detroit's top defenseman, there have been several instances reminiscent of last season's dreaded sophomore slump.
Nevertheless, he retains his position as Detroit's primary defenseman and is poised to be a cornerstone for the team in the years ahead.
Jake Walman: B+
The offensive-minded defenseman has already surpassed last season's goal tally and continues to complement Seider ideally. While he may not be the most defensively reliable player in the NHL, Detroit owes much of its current standing to his contributions.
Ben Chiarot: B-
Despite a disappointing first season in Detroit, the physical defenseman has experienced a resurgence in his second year with the Red Wings. Unfortunately, he is currently sidelined with an injury, and his absence is keenly felt on the team's blue line.
Olli Maatta: B
In his second year with Detroit and the first of a three-year contract extension, Maatta conducts himself with the seasoned demeanor of an established NHL veteran, quietly attending to his duties on the ice.
Shayne Gostisbehere: B
While his defensive prowess wasn't the primary reason for his signing, Gostisbehere has significantly bolstered Detroit's offensive capabilities, particularly on the power play. He remains a consistent threat to contribute crucial points from the blue line.
Jeff Petry: C-
The veteran blue-liner is back playing in his hometown, but unfortunately, he's been more of a liability rather than an asset in the defensive zone. While he's typically slotted into the team's bottom six, he routinely finds himself in and out of the lineup.
Another newcomer to the Red Wings for 2023-24, fans are witnessing firsthand why he faced criticism from the fan base of his former team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, the good news is that he provides decent depth and experience.
Ville Husso: C-
Ville Husso, once the Red Wings' starting goaltender, has seen his position challenged by the standout performance of Lyon, especially during his absence due to injury. However, Husso's stats before his December 18 injury were less than promising for a team with playoff aspirations.
Despite a respectable 9-5-2 record, his goals-against average of 3.53 and save percentage of .893 place him among the least favorable NHL goaltenders with at least 15 games played. While Husso is expected to see playing time soon, Detroit cannot rely solely on Lyon.
Alex Lyon: A
Despite waiting nearly two months to make his first start with the Red Wings since the beginning of the season in early October, Lyon has consistently impressed in Detroit's crease. Due to a December injury to starter Ville Husso, Lyon has shouldered the majority of starts for Detroit, playing a pivotal role in the team's resurgence throughout January following a challenging December.
With Husso nearing a return to the Red Wings after completing a rehab start in Grand Rapids, there are impending decisions to be made. However, for the time being, Detroit would be wise to continue relying on the hot hand Lyon has demonstrated.
James Reimer: C
Another first-year Red Wings goaltender, Reimer was originally designated as the team's backup behind Husso. Despite posting solid numbers in his initial games, his performance began to decline concurrently with the team's notorious December slump. Nonetheless, his recent start against his former teammates from the Maple Leafs showed promising signs.
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- The Detroit Red Wings rebounded from a poor December with a strong month of January and are set to start the 2nd half of the 2023-24 season in a Wild Card postseason spot.
- There are several positives to look to when it comes to Detroit's defense and goaltending
- But as with any team, there is certainly room for improvement in the team's 2023-24 performance in their defense and goaltending.
Bottom Line: The regular season continues on Saturday afternoon
Despite the recent struggles of some players, the positive news for Detroit is that they haven't let the setbacks from the challenging month of December linger, and they find themselves back during the playoff race in the Eastern Conference for 2023-24.
Returning from a bye-week that allowed them much-needed relaxation, the Red Wings are set to resume their playing schedule. They will face the Vancouver Canucks at Little Caesars Arena one week from today in a matinee affair. Do you agree with our Detroit Red Wings report card for the defense and goaltending so far this year?