HSJ in the morning: Ten thoughts about the Red Wings at Christmas

The Free Press’s Helene St. James posted a subscriber-only article this morning which examines the Red Wings via 10 subjects upon which St. James focuses. Among them:

His guys: Yzerman got a piece of business done this month, inking Fabbri to a three-year extension. It’s another piece in Yzerman’s transformation of the roster. When training camp began in 2019, there was a sense among the players that they weren’t “his guys,” meaning Yzerman’s. Now almost all of them are.

Of the players on the NHL payroll (including those on injured reserve), 13 forwards, seven defensemen and both goaltenders bear Yzerman’s stamp of approval. Either he has brought them in, he re-signed a player he inherited (like Filip Hronek), or, in the case of Dylan Larkin, Yzerman named him captain. That leaves forwards Filip Zadina and Joe Veleno to earn Yzerman’s endorsement. Yzerman has engineered significant change in a short amount of time while giving himself flexibility within the confines of the salary cap.

Larkin ascending: Larkin went into the extended break having recorded his first hat trick at the NHL level, giving him a team-leading 15 goals and 29 points. He spoke sweetly of thinking of his grandmothers when the third goal went in — they used to encourage him to score with $5 rewards. His contract with the Wings carries an annual average value of $6 million, so he doesn’t need nana’s money anymore, but the Wings needed Larkin to have this kind of season after he produced just 23 points in 44 games last season. Larkin is on pace to reach 30 goals for the second time in his career, and he has re-established that he’s the team’s engine. Larkin is a big believer in doing things right — remember, he was Henrik Zetterberg’s understudy — and that’s showing again.

The trinity: Raymond leads the rookie scoring race, and Seider leads rookie defensemen in scoring. On top of that, Alex Nedeljkovic, who is still considered a rookie even though he was a finalist for the Calder last season, leads rookie goaltenders with nine victories. It’s happened just twice in NHL history that the rookie leaders in each category — points by a forward, points by a defenseman and wins by a goaltender — have all been on the same team.

In 1929-30, forward Ebbie Goodfellow (34 points in 44 games), defenseman Harvey Rockburn (five points in 36 games) and goalie Bill Beveridge (14 wins in 39 games) did it with the Detroit Cougars (who were renamed the Red Wings in 1932 when James Norris bought the franchise). In 1936-37, Syl Apps, Jimmy Fowler and Turk Broda did it with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Continued (paywall)

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.