Much has been said about Detroit’s offensive outburst to begin the 2023-24 season. Most of the attention/credit has been directed toward the team’s top two scoring forwards, rightfully so, but the Detroit Red Wings also quietly have the top-scoring blue line through the first ten games of the season.
Sure, Alex DeBrincat currently leads the league in goals with nine, and for a time, Dylan Larkin led the league with 15 points. Larkin has since been passed by Jack Hughes, Elias Pettersson (18 points each), and Artemi Panarin (16), but Detroit’s captain is still fourth in league scoring. Although it’s gone quiet of late, the Detroit Red Wings own one of the league’s top power play units, which has leveraged this group to a league-leading 40 goals scored on the season. And while the Red Wings want to tighten things up defensively, having allowed 32 goals against, 23rd in the league, they’ve been getting tremendous offensive production from their backend to begin the year thanks to great starts from Moritz Seider and Shayne Gostisbehere.
General manager Steve Yzerman made it a priority to re-tool Detroit’s backend this past summer, and re-tool he did. Not only did the Red Wings add size and physicality with the likes of Justin Holl, but they also added some offense in the way of Gostisbehere. Detroit added Jeff Petry late in the summer; he’s a blend of both.
The Detroit Red Wings are getting a ton of offense from their backend to begin the season.
The Detroit Red Wings have totaled 33 points from their defenseman this season, led by Seider with 10 points and Gostisbehere having recorded nine. Recently, head coach Derek Lalonde spoke about how Detroit wanted to be ‘deeper’ this season. This also explains why the Red Wings elected to add veteran defenders rather than inserting multiple young rookies to round out the roster.
"“We talked about being deeper with our scoring, getting it throughout the lineup. It’s with our D, too,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “We want them involved without risk. We want them involved the correct way. For the most part they’re doing that. I think it’s a good sign and why we’re probably off to the offensive start we are.”“I get really excited when D create simple offense,” Lalonde said. “When the 200-foot goals start from the simple plays out of their zone or just simple on the blue line. “It’s amazing, you add a couple of sticks to your lineup, how different it can look.”"
Seider and Gostisbehere both anchor Detroit’s top power play unit. Larkin, DeBrincat, and David Perron usually accompany them. During five-on-five play, Seider is paired with Jake Walman while Gostisbehere’s partner changes game to game with the Red Wings rotating Petry, Holl, and Olli Maatta.
In his rookie season, Seider burst onto the scene, averaging over 23 minutes per night and totaling 50 points in 82 games en route to a Calder Trophy. Last season, the young defenseman took a slight step backward offensively, recording 42 points over 82 contests. This year, he’s averaging a point per game. Part of his early season success is simply due to his development and growth; the other part is due to the fact Yzerman has assembled a better, more complete roster.
Walman is third on the Red Wings with five points, followed by Holl with three and Chiarot, Petry, and Maatta with two.