Red Wings Preview: The Potential of The Third Line

Robby Fabbri and Oskar Sundqvist. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Robby Fabbri and Oskar Sundqvist. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Red Wings
Robby Fabbri and Oskar Sundqvist. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The Red Wings Third Line

The Detroit Red Wings made a move to acquire wing, Robby Fabbri, from the St. Louis Blues back in 2019. That trade was the first of many Blues-Red Wings moves. And, in looking at that trade now, I feel it’s safe to say that we’ve won it.

Fabbri since being traded from St. Louis to Detroit has done exactly what I feel we’ve all expected him to do. He’s showed off his speed, and his offensive talent consistnetly all the while making plays too. However, the problem with Fabbri has been the fact that he’s a liability when he has to play defense. With terrible positional awareness, it makes it hard to have him on the ice in tough situations. However, that’s why I feel this third line could be so strong.

When you look at some of the best lines around the league- there is generally a pattern. First, you have to have an offensive player. Rather that’s a wing or a center, that doesn’t matter. But, you have to have at least one player who can be trusted in the O-zone. Second, you have to have a defensive foward on the line. And third, you have to have a median or a combination, if you will.

When you think of top lines around the league, Boston’s generally comes to mind. At least for me. Therefore, let’s break it down to give you a visual.

Their first line is David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand. Pastrnak is your O-zone threat. When the pucks on his stick, you need to watch for the shot because he can and will pull the trigger if you give him space. Bergeron is your high IQ, defensive player that can lock down the opposing teams top player. Then you have Marchand does a little bit of both.

In my opinion what makes a line so dominant is having a line that complements each others strengths and weaknesses and that’s where I was getting at with the Red Wings line.

As I was previously saying, the Red Wings have an offensive threat in Robby Fabbri. He’s a very talented scorer and can really draw people from the net with his speed and offensive skillset. That brings us to the defensive player that can lock down the opposing teams top player. In this case, that player would be former St. Louis Blue- Oskar Sundqvist.

Now, I’d be lying to you if I said that part of the reason I have so much faith in this line is because of the previous connection that Fabbri and Sundqvist had in St. Louis. Being third/fourth liners for the most part, I’m sure that they are not unfamiliar with each others play styles. There’s probably just some rust to knock off.

Anyways, Sundqvist complements Fabbri well because Sundqvist can play elite defense while providing offense when asked too. However, Sundqvist is primarily known for his high IQ defensive play. He always seems to know the next move before it happens and it makes him such a reliable player on the ice. That brings us to the third player on the line which I predict will be Joe Veleno.

Joe Veleno is currently one of the guys I expect to have a breakout year this season. He has all the tools to be a very good player for this organization but he was just in a system that didn’t give him the right opportunites. I feel that under a different head coach who utilizes him correctly, he will become the Red Wings second-line center in no time.

Veleno does a little bit of everything for the Wings. But, the thing that I notice most with him is the grinding part to his game. He is an very, very, very good skater with some real raw offensive talent that could lead to a breakout season in terms of production. Furthermore, his speed and grinding play style could make him a very good standout defensive player for this team as well. And as you can figure it’s for this reason that I wanted Veleno to, in this scenario, to be the third-line center. I feel he really complements Fabbri and Sundqvist well with his play style.

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I know it’s too early to tell what will come of this line. Actually, we don’t even know if this will be a line during the season. But if we get the chance to see this line- we could be three lines deep that could be a first line for another team. I have that much faith in this line if we get to see it.