I don’t like to be a shit-stirrer, but the Chicago Sun-Times’ Ben Pope–a fine journalist–and I happen to vividly disagree regarding his assessment of the state of the Red Wings’ blueline:
Red Wings: The Wings were so bad last season — the NHL’s worst team in 20 years — that even a substantial improvement in 2021 won’t pull them out of last place.
Up front, there are some pieces to build around in Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Filip Zadina. The addition of free-agent goalie Thomas Greiss will help keep them close in more games, too. But the Wings are still terrible, most of all on the back end. All six of their defensemen would be third-pairing guys, at best, on a contender.
Filip Hronek is not a 3rd-pair defensemen, and the Red Wings have an abundance of second-pair guys after him in DeKeyser, Stecher and Nemeth. Merrill, Staal, Biega, they are what they are, but that’s okay.