The Detroit Red Wings kicked off the 2nd half of the 2021-22 season Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Flyers, getting back to the .500 mark with a 6-3 victory. And two of the keys in the victory have had some of the biggest impacts on the squad that's shown massive improvements from the team that was by far the worst in the NHL just two seasons prior.
Rookie forward Lucas Raymond and defenseman Moritz Seider have been godsends for the Red Wings, along with goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic in net – all of whom have been proven to be steals by GM Steve Yzerman, who has the franchise back on the upswing after years of having gone stale under former GM Ken Holland.
And while they're still not ready to become the Red Wings of old, the seeds have been planted, and there are only more good things coming. Let's take a look at the top ten moments the Red Wings have enjoyed during the first half of this season.
Moritz Seider scores 1st career goal, an OT winner
Drafted with the 6th overall pick in 2019, Seider's selection seemed to be a bit of a long shot to many upon initial assessment. But he's proven that not only is he a bonafide Calder Trophy candidate, but likely a future Norris Trophy winner.
Absolutely insane shot-blocking sequence against NHL-leading Panthers
Red Wings forwards Adam Erne and Robby Fabbri turned into human shot-blocking machines during the third period against the Florida Panthers at Little Caesars Arena earlier in the year, along with a few key saves from goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic in a sequence that can only be described as crazy.
Lucas Raymond hat trick vs. Blackhawks
Not only did Raymond light up the rival Chicago Blackhawks, but he also became the first Red Wings rookie to record a four-point night since both Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov did so in 1991.
Tyler Bertuzzi explodes for four goals on Opening Night vs. Lightning
Tyler Bertuzzi has emerged as a bonafide goal scorer, currently second overall on the team with 22 goals. He enjoyed the best night of his career so far on Opening Night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, lighting the lamp four times in front of a frenzied Little Caesars Arena crowd.
Dylan Larkin scores 1st career hat trick
Not only is captain Dylan Larkin enjoying a tremendous season, but he's also on pace to shatter his previous career-best in goals scored. In late December against the New Jersey Devils, he cemented a major career milestone with his first career hat trick.
Moritz Seider becomes 2nd fastest defenseman in team history to reach 20 points
Moritz Seider recorded his 20th career point (3-17—20 in 29 GP). He required the third-fewest games by a rookie defenseman to reach the mark with the @DetroitRedWings behind Nicklas Lidstrom (22 GP) and Jeff Sharples (26 GP).#NHLStats: https://t.co/GmoeSVNw6v pic.twitter.com/vbN2MHuiGg
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 15, 2021
Seider is enjoying a phenomenal rookie season, leading the team in ice time and being one of the projected frontrunners for the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's top rookie. He joined some elite company in mid-December, hitting the 20 point mark in just the second quickest time in team history behind that of none other than Nicklas Lidstrom. Of course, his career turned out pretty well.
Nicklas Lidstrom hired as Senior VP of Hockey Operations
Red Wings brought another former franchise legend into the fold, as 7-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom was hired as Vice President of Hockey Operations. The Red Wings now boast two of the greatest players in NHL history as key members of their front office, as Steve Yzerman currently serves as GM. Lidstrom will have a special focus on the team defense, as well as being involved in heavily scouting in Europe.
The emergence of Gustav Lindstrom
While his name certainly sounds nearly identical to a franchise legend, young defenseman Gustav Lindstrom certainly isn't quite to that level yet. However, he's proven to be an effective puck mover during his first full NHL campaign, and the games he's missed due to injury have certainly been noticeable.
Red Wings earn 3,000th franchise victory by stealing a game in Boston
As an Original 6 franchise, the Detroit Red Wings certainly have had their great share of moments and players over the years. And in November, they became the 4th NHL team to hit the 3,000 win mark over their fellow Original 6 rival Boston Bruins in Beantown thanks to goals from Filip Zadina and Marc Staal.
The Detroit Red Wings earned their 3,000th victory in franchise history by knocking off a fellow Original 6 foe on Tuesday night.https://t.co/nI7ZgKNgyp
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 1, 2021
Moritz Seider does it again with yet another OT winner
The young Red Wings defenseman once again added another notch to his impressive rookie season, burying his second career overtime-winning goal with a perfectly placed snipe past New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin in a December matchup at Little Caesars Arena.