Red Wings: Expect Another Solid Year From Troy Stecher

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - FEBRUARY 17: Troy Stecher #70 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Chicago Blackhawks at Little Caesars Arena on February 17, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - FEBRUARY 17: Troy Stecher #70 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Chicago Blackhawks at Little Caesars Arena on February 17, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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After being exposed in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft, fans are lucky that Troy Stecher has returned to Detroit. The defenseman was one of the best signings last off-season, can he repeat that performance this year?

Age: 27

Right Defenseman

Second Year With the Red Wings

Stats Snapshot:

Goals: 3

Assists: 8

CF%: 45.2

Pts/60: 0.9

ixG: 1.94

GAR: 4.5

(Advanced Stats Courtesy of Evolving-Hockey)

Last Season With the Red Wings

Stecher ended up as one of Steve Yzerman’s best signings before the 2020-21 season. He was assigned a pairing with Marc Staal, the veteran defenseman whose contract was dumped in Detroit by the New York Rangers.

Facing relatively low expectations heading into the season, the duo become the team’s best pure defensive pairing. While Staal struggled initially, the Stecher continued to provide stable play in the back end throughout the year. Eventually, Staal started erasing early mistakes and the pairing was not only the best defensive unit on the team, but one of the best in the NHL (as of March 2021, they had the lowest goals against per 60 for defensive parings, sitting at 1.55).

Stecher was a key part of the success of the defense. He was also one of the few defensive players that provided at least some offense – he was not necessarily impressive offensively, but he had the ability to successfully activate from the blue line or create scoring chances with a slick pass.

Best Case Scenario This Season

Stecher picks up where he left off last season. He keeps that chemistry he sounds with Staal last year and is deployed as the most successful pure defensive unit on the team. Stecher improves offensively as well, taking shots more often and increasing risks without making simple mistakes. He not only builds Staal’s confidence, but also the prospects when paired with them (namely, Gustav Lindstrom).

Worst Case Scenario

Last year was the peak and Stecher has a major year of regression. He struggles to make any sort of offensive impact and his pairing with Staal ends up as the worst on the team. Stecher ends his final season in Detroit unceremoniously, failing to make any sort of lasting impact.

The Prediction Part

Stecher has a year very similar to his last. Stecher’s style of defensive is relatively low-ceiling, low-floor; playing safe and smart, mostly keeping risks to a minimum and basically keeping the blue line sealed. As a result, it’s hard to predict a lot of regression or improvement in his play. Stecher, like last year, is going to be consistent and reliable on the backend. Progression will probably come as a result of an overall improved  team.

Possibility of Becoming a Trade Deadline Target: likely

After failing to protect Stecher in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft, the Red Wings organization made it clear he’s not a part of their long-term future. Yzerman might want to hang on to him as a transitional piece, but if he’s just going to let him walk, get some offers at the deadline. With a $1.7 million contract, Stecher is not too expensive for a team looking to contend, especially if Detroit retains 50 percent. If he has another season like last year, there’s a good chance a few teams around the league show interest.

The Bottom Line

Stecher was a pretty important part of the team’s improved defense last year and he’ll probably be in the same position. At this point, he’s essentially a transitional player for the team: not a part of Detroit’s future, but a part of the overall improvement of the team. Expect another year of solid play and consistency from Stecher – and enjoy, because this could be his last with the Red Wings.