NHL.com’s Nicholas J. Cotsonika posted a 2021-2022 season preview for the Detroit Red Wings this morning, assessing the three keys for Wings success this upcoming season:
1. Offensive improvement: They simply need to score more. They scored 125 goals last season, one more than the Anaheim Ducks, who scored the fewest in the NHL. Part of the problem was injuries. Part of it was the power play (11.4 percent), second-to-last in the NHL behind the Ducks (8.9 percent).
Forwards Tyler Bertuzzi, Robby Fabbri and Dylan Larkin are expected to be healthy. Forward Jakub Vrana wants to show what he can do in a larger role after coming from the Washington Capitals in a trade April 12. Detroit added defenseman Nick Leddy and center Pius Suter in the offseason, plus assistant Alex Tanguay to coach the power play.
2. Nedeljkovic’s numbers: Goalie Alex Nedeljkovic needs to follow up on last season, when he was a finalist for the Calder Trophy, which goes to the NHL rookie of the year as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association, after going 15-5-3 with a 1.90 goals-against average, a .932 save percentage and three shutouts in 23 games (all starts) for the Carolina Hurricanes.
That would help the Red Wings win in the short term and address the concern about the small sample size of his NHL career (29 games). After trading for the 25-year-old on July 22 and signing him to a two-year contract, general manager Steve Yzerman said they think he has the potential to be their goalie “for a number of years.”
3. Seider’s development: The most important thing for them to return to Stanley Cup contention is the development of their top prospects, and the top prospect most ready to make an impact in the NHL is 20-year-old defenseman Moritz Seider.
The No. 6 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft scored 22 points (two goals, 20 assists) in 49 games for Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League in 2019-20. After he was loaned to Rogle of the Swedish Hockey League amid the coronavirus pandemic last season, he scored 28 points (seven goals, 21 assists) in 41 games. He won the SHL Elite Prospects Award and was named SHL Defenseman of the Year.
Continued; NHL.com’s Dan Rosen and Cotsonika discuss the Red Wings’ season to come in a 6-and-a-half-minute-long video as well: