Red Wings: Three Keys to Creating a New Defense Corps

Albert Johannson of the Detroit Red Wings. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
Albert Johannson of the Detroit Red Wings. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Red Wings
Albert Johannson of the Detroit Red Wings. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

The Red Wings Three Keys to Creating a New Defensive Powerhouse

Filip Hronek: Except as an empty net super sniper, Hronek has been disappointing. Mostly because he has been asked to do too much in a system that does not highlight his significant skill set.

A coveted right-hand shot with strong puck skills, he has not been able to put together a strong full season. Hronek is who he is. A number four defenseman at best. Slotting at least one rookie in the 2022-2023 defense corps will scramble the pairings from last year. Having an experienced defense-minded partner for Simon Edvinsson is the traditional wisdom. This has not been Hronek’s game.

Outside of a trade or a free-agent signing, Hronek may be the best option to partner with the rookie. A strong defensive system and a puck-moving partner make Hronek’s success a barometer of the development of the defense. For the first time as a Red Wing, Hronek will be placed in a position to succeed. Although maybe unfair, this season is his last best chance to prove he can contribute to a contending team.

Simon Edvinsson: Expecting Edvinsson to be as successful as Moritz Seider in year one is far too much to ask. But with Seider taking huge first pairing minutes, the load on Edvinsson will be manageable on the second pairing. This is the year to let him play, make mistakes, be dazzling, and develop into an NHL star.

Albert Johansson: The biggest wildcard in determining whether the defense makes an incremental improvement or a leap into the top half of the league is Albert Johansson. Most SHL defensemen require time in Grand Rapids to get accustomed to North American ice, physical play, and quick decision-making.

Johansson has played with full-grown men for three seasons and has led a championship team. Although a smallish defenseman, his vision, poise, and skating are perfect for the modern NHL. The Red Wings have a conservative approach to preparing players for the show, but Johansson may be more NHL-ready than Edvinsson. Moreover, Seider is the perfect partner for Johansson. Seider has size and physicality, both are great skaters and passers, and they would be a left-right shooting pair.

Icing a first and second-year player on the top pairing has risks, but they won’t get caved every night. Seider is already a team leader and a top 15 D-man in the league, who models confidence and has extensive experience covering for the mistakes of his partners. They have the potential to be a dominant pairing within two years. Considering Johansson as a player who might make the team only if he has a great camp to playing as a first-pairing defenseman is a major leap, but a major leap is exactly with this new defensive corps needs.

Pairings based on the current roster:
Staal in reserve