Detroit Red Wings spotlight: Take a look at our list of 3 standout performers, and 3 who need to pick up their game.
Thanks to a strong surge in January, the Detroit Red Wings now securely hold one of the two Wild Card playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The team has been benefiting from contributions across the entire lineup, although certain players have room for improvement in their performance.
3 Standout Performers
Detroit's captain is having another impressive season, marking the first year of his eight-year contract signed in early March of the previous year. Despite missing a few games due to a concerning injury in early December, Larkin is maintaining a scoring pace of over a point per game. He continues to prove himself entirely deserving of the captaincy, a vision GM Steve Yzerman had when the announcement was made before the 2020-21 season. With 47 points (23 goals, 24 assists) in the 44 games he's played, he's currently on track to achieve 77 points in 72 games.
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.
A product of Yzerman's offseason signings, Daniel Sprong‘s performance has been noteworthy enough to secure a contract extension for the upcoming year. He has showcased not only a scoring touch but also a formidable right-handed shot.
If Sprong maintains his current pace, he is set to achieve a career-high 52 points (21 goals, 31 assists), surpassing his previous best output of 46 points achieved last year while playing with the Seattle Kraken.
3 Players who need to pick up the pace
While Alex DeBrincat experienced an impressive and scorching start to his first year with Detroit, scoring at a remarkable 60-goal pace, it was widely understood that sustaining such a rate would be challenging. However, the recent dip in his performance, with just a single goal in his last 14 games, is a valid cause for concern.
It's important to note that players like DeBrincat often undergo fluctuations in their production. There's reasonable optimism that he can return to the 35-40 goal pace he demonstrated during his years with the Chicago Blackhawks, especially with the return of a healthy Patrick Kane to the lineup.
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.
Husso must improve his stats, as the Red Wings cannot afford subpar goaltending. If he fails to meet expectations, Yzerman may contemplate parting ways with him to address the team's needs effectively.
As you remember, David Perron missed six games due to suspension after his retaliatory cross-check to the face of Ottawa Senators forward Artem Zub back on December 9. However, the Red Wings need more production out of the veteran forward, who has lit the lamp only 10 times in the 44 games that he's played; right now, he's on pace for only 16 goals, considerably lower than the 24 he scored last season.
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- Our latest Detroit Red Wings spotlight piece examines 3 standout performers on the roster as well as 3 players who must improve their performances
- The Red Wings are getting steady production and value from Dylan Larkin and Daniel Sprong, while Alex Lyon has emerged as Detroit's starter in net
- Alex DeBrincat, David Perron, and Ville Husso must improve their performances.
Bottom Line: The push for the playoffs resumes on Saturday
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.
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.