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Making Sense of the Detroit Red Wings Defence Corps

NHL Rumours

The addition of Jeff Petry crowds the Detroit Red Wings defence even more and leaves a lot to figure out before the season starts.

Making Sense of the Red Wings Defence Group

Steve Yzerman has not been shy about adding to the team’s blueline since he took over in 2019. He’s added both Moritz Seider and Simon Edvinsson through the first round of the draft. He traded for Nick Leddy, Marc Staal, and Jake Walman, the last player coming over in a trade that sent Leddy out. This is before getting into the Red Wings’ defensive free-agent signings. That includes Ben Chiarot, Olli Maatta, Justin Holl, and Shayne Gostisbehere.

That leaves us a month from the start of the NHL preseason with the Red Wings having eight defensemen under contract. The players are Seider, Walman, Petry, Holl, Chiarot, Maatta, Gostisbehere, and Jared McIsaac. McIsaac is a 2018 draft pick that’s dealt with injuries during his development and would be a surprise to see real minutes. Injuries will happen throughout the year, but Coach Derek Lalonde has some exciting possibilities for pairings.

Who Plays Where on the Detroit Red Wings Defence?

Judging from their instant chemistry last year, Walman and Seider will handle first-pair duties for the defence. After that, it’s anyone’s guess. Holl and Petry are both righthanded, and Yzerman has reiterated that he prefers defencemen on their strong hand. Chiarot and Gostisbehere, both lefties, do have experience playing the right side, but it seems that they’ll slot in on their strong  with Maatta also getting minutes there. Chiarot and Petry have some experience together with the Montreal Canadiens and should hold down the second pair after both averaged over 20 minutes a game last year. Furthermore, Gostisbehere and Holl have different skill sets that could mesh well similar to Maatta and Filip Hronek last year. That would leave Maatta the lone man out, but he is sure to get time. In addition, it gives the Wings the best 7th defencemen they’ve had in years.

Can Simon Edvinsson Force a Promotion?

The elephant in the room is what happens with Simon Edvinsson. The number six overall pick in the 2021 Draft got nine games last year and didn’t look out of place. However, he is recovering after off-season surgery on his shoulder.

The recovery process has a four-to-six-month timetable for a return, so it remains to be seen if he’ll be ready. Even if he is ready, can he bump Chiarot or Gostisbehere off their respective pairs, and would it even make sense for him to get third-pair minutes on the Red Wing’s defence? He’s undoubtedly a cornerstone of the future, but it seems tough to pencil him into the lineup considering the established defencemen in front of him.

Main Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


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