DSN’s 2021-22 Detroit Red Wings season report card

The Detroit Red Wings are now officially in the offseason. three months have been a monumental disappointment after having initially flirted with a Wild Card playoff spot, there are several positives that they’ll be taking into the offseason – perhaps none more than the emergence of defenseman Moritz Seider, who will not only be a Calder Trophy finalist for the NHL’s top rookie but will almost certainly be a candidate for the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman in the near future.

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As we look forward to the moves that GM Steve Yzerman will be making, let’s take a look at our final grades of the roster that was for the 2021-22 Red Wings season.

FORWARDS

Dylan Larkin: A

Prior to his season-ending early thanks to core muscle surgery, the Red Wings captain enjoyed a highly productive campaign and solidified his position as one of the upper echelons forwards in the NHL.

Tyler Bertuzzi: A

The gritty forward reached the 30-goal plateau for the first time in his career, and his absence in Canadian cities due to his vaccination status was clearly felt.

Lucas Raymond: A

The 4th overall selection in the 2020 NHL Draft burst onto the scene, leading all NHL rookies in scoring for much of the season while instantly establishing himself as one of Detroit’s most important players.

Robbi Fabbri: B

The versatile winger enjoyed a productive year before eventually being felled by a torn ACL.

Jakub Vrana: A

Though he missed the first 3/4 of the season after recovering from shoulder surgery, Vrana showed that he’s a pure goal scorer. Had he appeared in the season from the get-go, he was lighting the lamp at a 40+ goal pace.

Sam Gagner: B

Known for his veteran leadership, Gagner continued to be a strong presence in the dressing room as well as on the penalty kill.

Michael Rasmussen: B

While it wasn’t the best of starts for the young forward, Rasmussen turned things around in the second half of the season and enjoyed the best offensive output of his career. Look for him to hit the 20-goal mark next year.

Pius Suter: C-

Brought in to provide offense, Suter tallied only 15 times after scoring 19 goals with Chicago in last year’s shortened season.

Joe Veleno: C

Splitting time between Detroit and Grand Rapids, Veleno showed flashes of promise, but needs to learn consistency.

Oskar Sundqvist: INC

Acquired by Detroit in the Nick Leddy trade, Sundqvist appeared in 18 games with his new team, recording eight points. He’s under contract for next season.

Adam Erne: D-

Despite providing gritty play on the ice, Erne’s offensive output fell off a cliff. Don’t expect him to return.

Filip Zadina: D

Zadina entered the season as being expected to be one of Detroit’s key contributors of offense, but he wasn’t able to put together any real consistency. Next year could be a make-or-break season for him.

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DEFENSEMEN

Moritz Seider: A+

Simply put, a masterful campaign for the frontrunner of the Calder Trophy. Easily Detroit’s most valuable player who played in all situations with the poise of a seasoned veteran.

Filip Hronek: C-

Not the best of years for Hronek, who finished with a ghastly -29 plus/minus rating while committing far too many turnovers.

Jake Walman: INC

Acquired in the Nick Leddy trade from St. Louis, Walman showed a knack for moving the puck.

Danny DeKeyser: D

In what was most likely his final NHL season, the Red Wings veteran proved himself to be far past the point of usefulness. Don’t expect him to get another NHL contract.

Jordan Oesterle: D

Oesterle appeared in 45 games in his injury-shortened season, and certainly wasn’t anything flashy. He’s under contract for one more season.

Marc Staal: B

The veteran blueliner showed that he can still hack it in the NHL at age 35. Don’t be surprised to see him earn another short-term deal for next year.

Gustav Lindstrom: B

It was a positive year for Lindstrom in his first full NHL season. Expect him to get better from here on out.

GOALTENDERS

Alex Nedeljkovic C+

The first-year Red Wings goaltender showed flashes of brilliance at times, while also looking like an NHL rookie goaltender in other games. Look for him to show better numbers next year under an improved Red Wings defensive unit.

Thomas Greiss: C

In what was likely his final year with Detroit, Greiss proved to be serviceable in most of the games he played in, but like Nedeljkovic, was often victimized by the opposition thanks to the porous Red Wings defense.

COACHING STAFF: D

We already know that two key members of the coaching staff won’t be returning, as head coach Jeff Blashill and Doug Houda (who ran the defense) were informed that their contracts won’t be renewed. Blashill’s time in Detroit had run its course after seven years behind the bench, and a need for a change in the dressing room became more apparent in the last four months of this season that saw Detroit put forth some of the worst defensive efforts in recent memory.

Meanwhile, newcomer Alex Tanguay should have a stronger year next season running the powerplay units after experiencing growing pains this year.

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