The Grind Line: Red Wings’ 2022 Christmas Wishlist

What’s The Grind Line? Apart from the once-famous line of Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, and either Joe Kocur or Darren McCarty, The Grind Line is also The Hockey Writers’ weekly column about the Detroit Red Wings. This week Tony Wolak, Devin Little, Kyle Knopp, Logan Horn and Caleb Kerney are the muckers who make up THW’s forechecking unit and sound off on Red Wings topics.

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Christmas 2022 is under a week away and that means that Santa is making his final preparations for his annual trip around the globe. While some kids are hoping to find a new Xbox or PlayStation under their tree, others are hoping to find a new Reverse Retro jersey, or perhaps something else to help them represent their favorite NHL team. For kids across the state of Michigan, that team is the Detroit Red Wings.

But what are the Red Wings hoping that Santa delivers as 2023 lurks just around the corner? Most wishlists contain more than one things, and that is the case for the Red Wings this year. Here are our picks for what the Red Wings hope to receive this holiday season.

Tony Wolak: The Best for Jakub Vrana

Plain and simple, we all should want the best for Jakub Vrana this year. Whether that’s him rejoining the lineup or continuing to receive treatment, I hope he continues to make progress.

Vrana has been in the NHL’s player assistance program since Oct. 20 and next to nothing has been shared about the reason why. That’s perfectly reasonable, though – this is Vrana’s journey and his privacy should be respected.

Jakub Vrana Detroit Red Wings
Jakub Vrana, Detroit Red Wings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

All the best, Jakub!

Devin Little: A Larkin Extension

Every now and then, the Red Wings and their fans get a glimpse into what things would look like if this team did not have their captain, Dylan Larkin. The most recent instance was their 4-1 loss against the Minnesota Wild on Dec. 14. While the Red Wings certainly put up a fight, especially considering the long list of players missing from their lineup, it was immediately evident that they are basically playing with one arm tied behind their back without Larkin in the lineup.

It is well-documented that Larkin needs a new contract before July 2023, and the reports on where negotiations stand have mostly just affirmed that both sides want to get a deal done. With 27 points in 29 games, he leads the team in points, and is on pace for another season of 70-plus points or more, which only further affirms his place as a key piece of Detroit’s offense.

Related: Red Wings: Dylan Larkin Gaining Leverage in Contract Negotiations

The Red Wings’ future is bright, no doubt about it. But, quite frankly, it will be a lot brighter if Larkin is a part of it.

Kyle Knopp: Ned to Find His Form

This has been a tough season for Alex Nedeljkovic. After a stellar start with the Carolina Hurricanes, he came to the Wings with hopes of being the guy in net but has yet to find his groove. Subpar numbers last season saw Detroit bring in another young, potential No. 1 to drive competition, yet it seems to have had the opposite effect. Wings fans are hoping “Ned” can bounce back and give Detroit a dynamic 1-2 punch for the next few seasons.

Logan Horn: A Lopsided Deadline Trade Win for Yzerman

The Red Wings’ playoff hopes look a little less realistic with every coming week, and it won’t be long before the management team is looking at which players could be dealt at the trade deadline. General manager Steve Yzerman already has a few wild trades under his belt in Detroit, but it would be incredible if he could flip an asset for an extra first round pick in the stacked 2023 NHL Draft.

Caleb Kerney: A New Partner For Seider

Moritz Seider is our franchise defenceman and the organization should set him up for success, not failure. Ben Chiarot plays his best hockey when it’s not against the opponent’s top competition. The coaching staff owe it to their Calder Winner to mix up the pairings and find a better fit for Seider. He needs someone who he can lean on and learn from, who can make up for his lapses and not the other way around. Please Santa, please!

Now it’s your turn! What do you think should be the top item on the Red Wings’ wishlist this holiday season? Let us know in the comments section down below!