3 players who were the Red Wings biggest surprises this season

The Detroit Red Wings may or may not be extending their season, but it doesn’t mean they had plenty of pleasant surprises in 2023-24.
Detroit Red Wings v Carolina Hurricanes
Detroit Red Wings v Carolina Hurricanes / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages
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A few notable players on this upstart Detroit Red Wings team gave us plenty of awesome surprises. No, their better record and points total shouldn’t have come as a major surprise, given the number of years the organization has been under the famed “Yzerplan,” but when they come so close, only to potentially miss out on the playoffs if things don’t go their way, it still stings. 

While their late-season collapse that put their playoff hopes in jeopardy was one of the uglier surprises of the 2023-24 campaign, the pleasant surprises were plentiful. One major surprise came in the form of J.T. Compher, who played his entire career with the Colorado Avalanche before he came to the Eastern Conference to show that he was capable of putting up ample points following a 52-point outing with the Avs. 

Before 2022-23, Compher never accumulated over 33 points in a season. And there are countless examples of NHL players enjoying outstanding campaigns before they revert to their former selves, and that could have easily been the case with Compher. 

Several Red Wings players enjoyed surprising seasons

As of the final week of the 2023-24 season, Compher has found the back of the net 17 times with 46 points and is just one goal away from tying his career-high. He likely won’t reach 52 points again since the regular season is about to enter the history books, but he’s also averaging 0.613 points per game, ultra close to the 0.634 he averaged last season. 

Compher’s numbers may be surprising once again, but those listed in the following three slides enjoyed even more unprecedented outings. This isn’t taking away from anything Compher accomplished during his first year in the Motor City, even if he probably won’t finish in the top 13 for the Selke for the second year running. 

But when you see which players landed on the following slides, you will know why they are the Red Wings three biggest surprises of the 2023-24 season.