Detroit Red Wings midseason report cards: Jake Walman

The Detroit Red Wings have plugged Jake Walman into a top-pairing role. But, examine his midseason report card to see if that's really what he deserves.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jake Walman (96) shoots on goal against the Anaheim Ducks.
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jake Walman (96) shoots on goal against the Anaheim Ducks. / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Red Wings have been rocking with a unique top pairing. It's one that emerged in 2022-23 as the team's top unit. It's headlined by the Red Wings star defender Moritz Seider. He's started to establish himself as the team's best defender, but his partner also deserved some credit for last season.

When the Detroit Red Wings brought in Jake Walman, it was on more of a whim. They hoped Walman could provide some value, even if it were a stopgap role. He did just that last season. The Seider and Walman pairing was able to excel.

Seider may not have been exceptional offensively in year two after a Calder Trophy-winning season. But Walman settled into his role alongside the German defender quite well. Last year, Walman managed nine goals and nine assists for 18 total points over 66 games played.

The intriguing factor is that he's already back to 18 points on the season, through just 44 games in 2023-24. He has ten goals and eight assists to tie his total from last season. Heading into the second half, he's on his way to set another career-high in points and in the driver's seat to keep adding.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman has been great offensively, but...

Defensively, there has been laziness with Walman's game. The offense has shown up, and 44 games into his season, he's got ten tallies, which is outstanding. But when he's been a liability in the defensive zone at times, it's troublesome.

At times, Walman's been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whether it's missing coverage, leaving a player wide open, or just being lackadaisical on a puck battle, goals have been scored at his expense. There's something to be said about it, and it certainly knocks him down a peg on the report card.

It's been good to see the offense and scoring showing up for the 27-year-old in his third season with the team. He signed an extension to stay in Detroit, and he'll provide value for the Red Wings, but he's got to clean some things up in the defensive zone.

There's room for improvement with most players, but Walman specifically needs to clean up things defensively. A loud performance down the stretch could help balance things out. But with Walman's ice time has gone up in 2023-24, averaging a shade over 20 minutes a night.

Even with good offensive output, Walman's Corsi numbers are below the team average. He often plays with Seider and matches up against the other team's toughest opponents.

Walman. B+. Defenseman. Detroit Red Wings. Jake Walman

Walman being able to register his career-high in points through half the season is impressive. With 32 games to go, seeing if he can keep up this pace will be interesting. A big part of me wants to give him an A, but the defensive issues have been problematic. That being said, he gets a "B+" in my book.

The Red Wings need consistency from their top pairing. For Walman to settle into a role like this, he has to improve on the defensive issues a good bit. He's got time to do so as the Red Wings make their postseason push and try to get back into the playoffs in 2023-24.