Red Wings Grades: The Young Defensemen
As the Detroit Red Wings continue to trudge through its difficult rebuild, one of the things that has kept fans watching has been the development of prospects and young players. Let’s take a look at how a few members of Detroit’s young defensive core fared in the 2020-21 season.
Games Played: 56
Top pairing defenseman
2021 Season in a Nutshell
Filip Hronek had a season that is a bit tough to analyze. On paper, it is actually one of the best seasons a defenseman has had for years in Detroit. His 26 points beat out Dylan Larkin, Adam Erne and Filip Zadina for most on the Red Wings. Analytics are seemingly on Hronek’s side, too. His CF% was improved from 2019-2020 as he moved the needle to 48.3%.
In a data driven world, it is hard to bring in the eye test into any sort of analytical dive into a player’s season. However, I’d venture to say that a majority of fans would agree that Hronek did not quite have the season that his stats show.
Some of the stats are a bit misleading: 17 of his 24 assists were secondary and both goals were empty netters. Now, the empty net goals should not be weighed the same as a regular goal, but it does show perhaps Hronek’s best attribute this year: reliability. The coaching staff heavily relied on Hronek this year – not only did he play in all 56 games, his average time on ice was 23:23 (Per hockey-reference.com)
They Said It
“He’s been forced to really trial by fire and he’s been thrown into the mix, and it’s hard to do. You don’t have a veteran defenseman who can carry you as you make some mistakes, and he’s had to sink or swim on a nightly basis. (But) enough nights, he’s swam.”
-Jeff Blashill via the Detroit News