The Athletic’s Max Bultman offers 5 trends which he believes are contributing to the Red Wings’ success over their first 14 games’ worth of play:
More contributions from down the lineup: As you read the last section and the comparison to the Bertuzzi-Larkin-Mantha line, you may have recalled that those 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons didn’t actually work out so hot for the Red Wings in the aggregate. So what’s the difference between the occasionally miserable team results of those seasons and the quick start now? One is the broader range of contributions Detroit is getting.
The big name here is Vladislav Namestnikov, whose two goals Tuesday gave the Red Wings a crucial early lead and a buffer against the dangerous Oilers. He’s already up to seven goals on the season, just one fewer than he had a year ago. That, certainly, is a difference.
There’s also the likes of Sam Gagner, a bottom-six veteran with six points in 14 games while playing as one of Detroit’s most-used penalty killers. There’s the second line of Robby Fabbri, Pius Suter and Filip Zadina, which has played some of its best hockey in these past few games and was Detroit’s best line in the team’s win over Vegas. That depth is something Detroit simply hasn’t had in recent years, and it’s not limited to the forwards.
Moritz Seider’s empty-net goal Tuesday gave him 11 points for the season. Marc Staal, a veteran third-pair defenseman, had a huge penalty-kill shift Tuesday against the vaunted Oilers power play (which went 0-for-2) and a strong game overall. Gustav Lindstrom — a young blueliner who is still trying to establish himself as a regular — has had some of the best shot-quality numbers on the team thus far.
Take it all together, and the Red Wings are getting boosts from more spots in the lineup than they have in the recent past. That adds up.