It’s a small sample size, but Alex DeBrincat is performing just as the Detroit Red Wings hoped through the first two games of the regular season.
As it’s been often documented, general manager Steve Yzerman had a hectic off-season, to say the least, but the return on investment appears to be heightened. Not only are the off-season additions performing well, they’re all boosting the production of their teammates. Daniel Sprong had been a low-risk, high-reward acquisition. Sprong was not tendered a contract by the Seattle Kraken following a 21-goal, 46-point season over just 66 games playing on the fourth line. Sprong is enjoying a top-nine role with the Red Wings and has scored in back-to-back games for Detroit to open the season.
The Red Wings also added utility forward J.T. Compher, who plays in all situations. Compher is also off to a hot start, having recorded a goal and two assists through the first two games. He’s also averaging over 20 minutes per game in the early going, which leads all forwards.
Alex DeBrincat just as advertised through two games for the Detroit Red Wings.
Although most of Yzerman’s off-season additions are chipping in early on this season, no one has impacted the game more than Detroit’s prized addition, Alex DeBrincat. DeBrincat leads Detroit with four points, which includes three goals after the first two games.
DeBrincat has meshed perfectly with Dylan Larkin, and the pair found chemistry on Saturday evening while playing with Lucas Raymond. As you know, Raymond and Larkin have played a ton together, usually on a line with Tyler Bertuzzi. Bertuzzi, while productive, had been a completely different player than DeBrincat. Bertuzzi usually worked in the corners to retrieve the puck and became an effective net-front presence, which allowed the skillful Larkin and Raymond to generate some offense and creativity in the offensive zone.
The notion of how Detroit’s top line will gel without Bertuzzi’s dirty work was put to bed Saturday evening against a physical Tampa Bay club. It’s been said numerous times throughout the summer how much muscle Raymond put on during the off-season, but honestly, it felt like one of those ‘Miguel Cabrera is in the best shape of his life’ things. If you are not a Tigers fan, every spring training that had been the saying for years, but as soon as the regular season began, fans realized that Miguel was just another year older. Raymond is a lot younger, of course, but we needed to see if he had been more assertive on his skates and stronger on the puck. On Saturday night, Raymond proved just that. He even put Michael Eyssimont skates up into Detroit’s bench with a big-time hit. Raymond, along with Larkin, were tenacious on the forecheck.
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DeBrincat adds an extra dimension to the Detroit Red Wings lineup, which they’ve been missing for quite some time. His ability to score from anywhere in the offensive zone, as proven Saturday night albeit a lucky bounce, and his ability to open up others is evident. Playing alongside Larkin and Raymond suggests DeBrincat may be on track to net 40 goals for the third time in his career and become the first Red Wing to do so since Marian Hossa did it back in 2009.