For the Detroit Red Wings, the 2020-21 season is over. While other teams make their way to the playoffs, the Red Wings sit at the sixth-best draft lottery odds, according to Tankathon. This season was filled with unsurprising and underwhelming results for the Red Wings. Despite this, the team played far above expectations. Younger players stepped up, new faces filled in on key roles, and goaltending (eventually) shaped up. Out of all the faces on the roster, three particular players stood out this season as the Red Wings 2020-21 MVPs. They’ve shown immense growth and done more than enough to warrant this recognition.
Red Wings 2020-21 Season MVPs
Sometimes, it can be hard to pick particular names as season MVPs. Due to the shortened season and the slew of injuries at the season’s end, picking the top players was easier than ever before. These three players went above and beyond to keep the Red Wings afloat all season long. They improved their abilities night in and night out. There were very few players that could be considered MVP-worthy besides these select few. (NOTE: while Jakub Vrana has been astonishing since his acquisition in Detroit, he was not eligible for the Red Wings 2020-21 MVP honours, having only played 11 games with the Red Wings.) Having said that, these are the players worthy of the title of MVP:
1. Filip Zadina
I’ve spoken about Zadina extensively in the past, but he’s been far and beyond one of the best offensive weapons in the Red Wings’ roster all season long. From his playmaking abilities to his lethal shot, he scored nearly half a point-per-game all season long. On paper, those numbers might not seem too large, but a variety of factors contributed to these numbers. Zadina ended the season with a 6.2 shooting percentage — significantly lower than the NHL average of 9.46 percent. In a longer season, Zadina would likely regress to the mean and start picking up more goals.
Additionally, the Czech forward plays on the team with the worst offence in the league. The fact that he was able to score at such a significant rate speaks to his ability as an offensive threat and a high-talent rookie. He ends the season as the team’s fourth-highest scorer and youngest player on the roster. For that reason, he’s earned his place as one of the Red Wings 2020-21 MVPs on the offence.
2. Troy Stecher
Stecher was initially signed as a bottom-pairing defenceman. He’s exceeded expectations since then and rose to become the best defenceman on the team. The best part? He did it all with Marc Staal as his linemate. Stecher has among the best Corsi percentages and Fenwick metrics among the Red Wings. He’s quickly become one of the most coveted defencemen in Detroit, and will likely pair with future star Moritz Seider on the second defensive line in 2021-22. Shockingly enough, Stecher, with 11 points, is outscoring 18 members of his old team, the Vancouver Canucks. While he wasn’t billed as an offensive threat, he’s shown more than enough that he’s capable of handling power-play duties in addition to his current role.
Stecher will look to remain with the Red Wings for the foreseeable future. From his humorous warmup routines to his shining personality, Stecher has become beloved in Detroit. Here’s to hoping he helps to keep the defensive end of the ice safe for years to come.
3. Jonathan Bernier
If ever there were a player worthy of MVP honors on the Detroit Red Wings, it would be Jonathan Bernier. Despite what his record may suggest, he is without a doubt the reason why the Red Wings won many of their games this season. His shot suppression skills, rebound control, and ability to get in the zone make him an outstanding goaltender on his own. The fact that he can steal games against teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning makes him a force to be reckoned with. Initially, Thomas Greiss was slated to be the team’s starting goaltender. After a slow start, Bernier shouldered the burden and ran away with the role. Were he on any other team, he would likely be an ironclad 1B goaltender. There’s no denying that the Red Wings were saved from their fair share of blowouts thanks to Bernier.
Next season, Bernier will be an unrestricted free agent. If the Red Wings are looking for another goaltender to go with Greiss, Bernier should be their top choice. He’s familiar with the team, plays his heart out, and has been one of the team’s best goaltending options in years. It would be foolish for the Red Wings to let him walk without trying.