Detroit Red Wings: Filip Hronek playing with loads of confidence

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Red Wings veteran defenseman Filip Hronek is playing with a ton of confidence of late. I want to think part of this is due to the terrific handle-bar mustache he’s been sporting this season.

Over the past six games, Hronek has recorded six points, two goals, and four assists. In Detroit’s, 7-4 victory over the San Jose Sharks, Hronek produced a plus-three rating while scoring a key goal that was set up by an extraordinary David Perron cross-ice pass.

It wasn’t that long ago Hronek led the organization with 26 points back in 2020-21, three more points than captain Dylan Larkin. In fairness, that was a COVID-19-shortened season, but Hronek did appear in all 56 games. We can say the Red Wings have come a long way over the past couple of seasons.

Filip Hronek is flying under the radar in 2022-23 for the Detroit Red Wings.

Hronek is averaging over 22-minutes per night, and the right-handed shot is proving to be a valuable defense partner paired with veteran left-hander Olli Maatta. The duo compliments Detroit’s top pairing of Ben Chiarot and Moritz Seider.

Hronek has totaled two goals and 12 points over 17 games this season. Hronek has maintained a Corsi For Percentage of 47.4% this season and a career-high 5.6% Relative Corsi For Percentage at even strength. In comparison, last season, Hronek’s Relative Corsi was -0.3%. To give you a little bit more transparency, this season, Moritz Seider’s Relative CF% has settled in at 1.6%, and last season over 82 games, Seider totaled 4.3%. It’s not an end-all-be-all statistic, but Hronek is performing exceptionally well this season, and no one is really talking about it. Don’t forget, during the offseason, many fans continued to suggest Hronek should be the odd man out this season.

Again, having a reliable, steady defense partner like Maatta has sure helped Hronek settle into an offensive-minded top-four role. Marc Staal had been Hronek’s usual defense partner over the past couple of seasons, so it wasn’t awful, but Staal’s lack of mobility left the pair compromised from time to time.

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Hronek’s current contract is set to expire at the conclusion of next season; the deal carries a cap hit of $4.4 million; with how well he’s performed this season, it’s a very team-friendly agreement.

The Detroit Red Wings have struggled to find a consistent third pairing this season. Detroit tried Robert Hagg with Gustav Lindstrom, but the two often found themselves hemmed in their own zone for long periods of time. At times, Detroit replaced Hagg with Jordan Oesterle, and things seemed to improve. The Red Wings had been without Jake Walman for the first six weeks of the season and are still without Mark Pysyk; both would be considered upgrades to the third pairing.

Lindstrom is currently day-to-day with an injury, and the third pairing of Walman and Oesterle will continue to man the third group for the time being.