MLive’s Ansar Khan’s player profiles continue this morning with a discussion of defenseman Filip Hronek’s 2019-2020 season outlook:
2019-20 outlook: Hronek was expected to win the competition between young defensemen and earn an NHL roster spot out of training camp but wasn’t ready, so he was demoted after playing six games as an injury replacement. He returned to Detroit in mid-December and was sent back to Grand Rapids for a couple of weeks in February before joining the Red Wings for good on Feb. 17.
He improved defensively during his time in the AHL and was much better the final seven weeks of the season. He cut down on mistakes and odd-man rushes against by not stepping up as much in the neutral zone while still contributing offensively.
Injuries forced the Red Wings to play the rookie more than they would have preferred – he logged more than 22 minutes in a stretch of 13 out of 15 games. He saw more time on the penalty kill. He played against top lines more often.
Barring a significant regression, Hronek will start the season in the Red Wings’ top four, paired with either Danny DeKeyser or (more likely) Patrik Nemeth. The club would like to keep him around 20 minutes per game while having him man the point on one of the power-play units and still see some time on the penalty kill.