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Puck Drop Preview: 2022-23 Detroit Red Wings

Last Word On Hockey’s Puck Drop Previews are back for the 2022-23 season! As the regular season approaches, Last Word will preview each team’s current outlook and stories to watch for the upcoming year. We’ll also do our best to project how things will go for each team over the course of the campaign. Today, we’re previewing the 2022-23 Detroit Red Wings.

2022-23 Detroit Red Wings

2021-22 Season

The standings may not have expressed it, but the 2021-22 season made many Detroit Red Wings fans feel like a corner was finally turned in their rebuild. Finishing with a record of 32-40-10, the Red Wings finished sixth in the Atlantic Division and 26 points behind the Washington Capitals for the final wild-card spot. That being said, the emergence of young talent created a far more entertaining product on the ice.

Here Come the Kids

Lucas Raymond, the Wings 2020 fourth-overall selection, burst onto the scene with ten points in his first 11 games. Playing in all 82 games, Raymond tallied 57 points in his rookie season. He finished fourth in the Calder Trophy voting race. The winner of the Calder was none other than Raymond’s teammate, Moritz Seider. The young German defenseman was a star for the Red Wings in his rookie season. At only 21, Seider tallied 50 points while playing in all 82 games. Not only did he star on the offensive side of the puck, but he also showed great patience and skill while defending. With the talent on the roster this past season, there’s no question why fans feel like their time is coming. Excitement is clearly on the horizon, and they can feel it.

2021-22 Offseason

Steve Yzerman spent his offseason addressing holes both in the lineup and off the ice. It was clear from the start of Yzerman’s tenure that he was slowly planning toward a bigger goal. With the shot in the arm from the team’s talented youth, the combination of notable additions and staff changes signal that Yzerman believes this team can find a new gear.

Coaching Changes

Following the dismissal of long-time head coach, Jeff Blashill and all of his assistants, Yzerman began his head coach search. The decision was made to hire former Tampa Bay Lightning assistant coach, Derek Lalonde. Lalonde had served as an assistant with Tampa for the past four seasons and is now tabbed to lead the youthful 2022-23 Detroit Red Wings to the next step in their development.

Notable Additions

With a corner to be turned, the Wings added several impact players that will play a key role in making progress towards their first playoff birth in seven years. To fill some holes at the center position, the Red Wings signed Andrew Copp to a five-year deal at $5.625 million AAV. Copp, a Michigan native, had his best offensive season in 2021-22. He tallied 53 points in 72 games. The 27-year-old center showed some fantastic skill following his trade to the New York Rangers. In New York, he added 18 points in 16 games. The Wings hope Copp will continue to show his skill while also remaining a talented 200-foot player.


The Red Wings also signed former Jets’, Canadiens’, and Panthers’ defenseman, Ben Chiarot to a four-year deal at $4.75 million per season. Chiarot has had his struggles on the back end but looks to rebound after a tough 2021-22. It appears that Chiarot will likely be paired with Moritz Seider. This makes the signing all the more important. If the two find chemistry, not only will Seider flourish, but Chiarot could become a more reliable defender.


The Wings also added another goalie into the fold, signing former Blues goaltender Ville Husso to a three-year contract at $4.75 million per season. Detroit looked to get their goalie of the future last year in a deal that saw them acquire Alex Nedeljkovic from the Carolina Hurricanes. However, he struggled down the stretch in 2021-22. After losing their backup, Thomas Greiss, the Wings signed Husso to shore up the crease. In 40 games last season, Husso put up a .919 save percentage and finished seventh in Vezina Trophy voting.

Other notable additions: F Dominik Kubalik, D Olli Maatta, F David Perron

2022-23 Detroit Red Wings Lineup Projections


Lucas RaymondDylan LarkinTyler Bertuzzi

Jakub VranaAndrew CoppDavid Perron

Dominik KubalikPius SuterFilip Zadina

Adam ErneMichael RasmussenOskar Sundqvist

Top Six

The Red Wings’ top six has finally become an actual “top six.” The top line of Raymond-Larkin-Bertuzzi will likely carry the offensive load for the Wings again. However, their offseason additions of Andrew Copp and David Perron may help to spread it out. Copp’s offensive game looked much improved when playing with other skilled players, so pairing him with someone like Jakub Vrana could pay dividends for Detroit.

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Perron isn’t a throw-in either, as he has been a solid NHL contributor for the better part of a decade. In his past five years or so, he has seemed to evolve his game, putting up 46-60 points per season. The now 34-year-old will look to add his skillset and veteran wisdom to a younger line, which now adds a solid layer of depth to the forward group.

Bottom Six

Detroit’s bottom six continues the theme of new-found depth. Suter and Zadina were frequently paired together on the Wings’ second line last season, where they showed signs of chemistry but were often overwhelmed. This season, the two look to thrive in more sheltered minutes while also developing their chemistry together and with new teammate Dominik Kubalik. Kubalik joins the Red Wings after three years with the Chicago Blackhawks, with one year as a teammate of Pius Suter.

Kubalik looks to rekindle the offensive touch that he had in his rookie season in 2019-20, where he put up 46 points in 68 games. The “heavy” minutes will likely be taken up by the fourth line, centred by 6-6 Michael Rasmussen. Rasmussen plays a sound game, and will likely play a role in establishing a checking game that focuses on a heavy forecheck. Coach Derek Lalonde will likely look to institute a forecheck that resembles the Tampa Bay bottom six, and will certainly have the Erne-Rasmussen-Sundqvist play an important role in realizing that.


Ben Chiarot – Moritz Seider

Olli Maatta – Filip Hronek

Simon EdvinssonGustav Lindstrom

Top 4

Newcomer Ben Chiarot joins Moritz Seider on the top pairing this year in Detroit. Seider, fresh off winning the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie, looks to continue to develop into a dominant young defenseman. He’s now paired with Ben Chiarot, a tough, left-shot defenseman. Chiarot has seen his play suffer in recent years, which does seem to coincide with an uptick in minutes.

The Wings undoubtedly hope that he can find his game alongside one of the league’s young stars, but he’ll have his work cut out for him to fix some of the holes in his game. Another new arrival, Maatta, looks to help solidify the second pairing with Filip Hronek. Hronek has been a mainstay on the Detroit blueline since his debut in 2018 and looks to maintain his two-way game with a brand new partner. Maatta is coming off a solid season with the Los Angeles Kings that saw him develop a very strong defensive game. Maatta, 28, has bounced around in recent years but looks to find a home in Detroit and use his defensive ability in a top-four setting.

Bottom Pair

The Red Wings’ bottom pair has to be one of the more intriguing storylines on the team this year, mainly due to Simon Edvinsson. Edvinsson hasn’t made the team yet, but many project him to slide into a sheltered role alongside Gustav Lindstrom. Lindstrom is coming into his second full NHL season after carving out a role for himself last season. A sheltered role for both players will certainly benefit them to start the season, but look for Derek Lalonde to use their skillset as a tool throughout the year.


Alex Nedeljkovic

Ville Husso

Battle for the Crease

Following his strong year in St. Louis, Husso joins the Wings looking to win the battle for the starting job. The 27-year-old Finn will come into camp with his work cut out for him, as Alex Nedeljkovic will look to rebound after a tough season. After his terrific rookie season in Carolina, Nedeljkovic had high expectations in his first year in Detroit. Nedeljkovic had his high points throughout the season but had several inconsistent stretches that led to a .901 save percentage.

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With an improved team in front of them, both Husso and Nedeljkovkic will enter the season with a shot at winning the crease. With two goalies with a reasonable shot at taking the starter’s job, one can assume that the battle will push both goalies to be better. It isn’t outside of the realm of possibility that the Wings ride the hot hand and split starts fairly evenly between the two, but given his recent success, Husso could have the upper hand going into camp.

Players to Watch

Jakub Vrana

Vrana missed most of the 2021-22 season with a shoulder injury and only played a total of 26 games. Vrana was acquired from Washington in a deal that sent Anthony Mantha to the Capitals in 2021 and immediately began flashing signs of his offensive potential. In his first 11 games, he registered 8 goals and 11 points. Heading into the 2021-22 season, Vrana had high expectations and was pencilled into a top-line position. After injuring his shoulder in training camp, those hopes were dashed and stifled his scoring output even when he returned. Now, Vrana returns to the Wings at full health looking to make up for the lost time. With a new line, look for him to find his game and be a regular contributor.

Simon Edvinsson

Edvinsson, the Wings’ sixth-overall pick in 2021, has been highly scouted by many since before he was drafted and has continued to impress during his time in the Swedish Hockey League. The 6-4 defender has terrific skating ability, which only helps his offensive game. If the 19-year-old Edvinsson cracks the roster to start, do not be shocked to see him making an impact. It remains to be seen how his game will transfer to the smaller ice. Regardless, a player with his talent should be able to adapt and add yet another layer of talent to this roster.

Prediction for the 2022-23 season

It could be argued that the Red Wings have one of the most improved rosters in the league this year. With that said, they still have not proven themselves to be any better than the teams they’d be battling with. the 2022-23 Detroit Red Wings are likely to finish with their first winning record since 2016, which would be a significant step in their rebuild. However, that still will not put them in the playoff race. Expect them to finish around the 80-85 point mark. Missing out on the wild card race by ten or more points.


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