Every season there is a player who seems to have a breakout season for their team, whether it be a little-known player that comes out of nowhere to have a career year or a highly-touted prospect finally getting their break and making the most out of it. The Detroit Red Wings have a few different players who could be their breakout player for this season. Let’s discuss them now.
Coming off his second professional season where he seemed to take a step backward, Lucas Raymond could very well be in line to have a breakout year for a few different reasons.
Raymond’s point production dipped from 57 his rookie year to 45 last season while playing in eight fewer games. With another offseason of training and health, he could be able to reach the 82 games played mark again this season (from Red Wings’ Lucas Raymond has ‘chip on shoulder’ heading into offseason, mlive.com, April 20, 2023). This could be enough for him to get back to his rookie year numbers or be able to surpass them due to the work he has put in over the offseason.
Another factor in Raymond being a breakout candidate is that he could slot in on the first line with captain Dylan Larkin and newly-acquired Alex DeBrincat. This would give Raymond the chance to play with two top-level players who he can feed off of, whether it be setting Larkin and DeBrincat up for goals or vice versa.
If Raymond is able to return himself to his rookie season form, mixed in with top-line minutes and opportunities, he could have a breakout season this campaign for the Red Wings.
Another forward who could have a breakout season for the Red Wings this season is Michael Rasmussen. Since coming into the league during the 2018-19 season, he has been able to improve his point production each season when healthy and finished last year with a career-high 29 points.
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With Rasmussen being projected to fill the left-wing spot on the second line for the Red Wings this season, he could be in line like Raymond to have a breakout season. One of the biggest factors for Rasmussen is his health. If he is able to stay healthy throughout the season and maintain his status as a top-six forward, he could easily make the next jump that both the Red Wings management and fans are hoping that he is capable of doing.
After a strong season with the St. Louis Blues in the 2021-2022 season where he won 25 of his 38 starts, Ville Husso was traded to the Detroit Red Wings in the offseason. General manager Steve Yzerman was hoping that he would be able to build off of that strong season and help carry the load for the Red Wings last season.
During the first two months of the season, he looked like the goalie he was with the Blues, going 9-3-0 in 15 games played with a 2.79 goals-against average (GAA). However, he followed that up with two months in December and January where he went a total of 8-8-0 in 19 games played with a 3.33 GAA in December and a 3.34 GAA in January. He finished last season with a 26-22-7 record, a 3.11 GAA, and a .896 save percentage (SV%).
The hope this season is that with an improved defensive core in front of him, mixed in with the additions on the front end of the lineup, will help lessen the traffic and workload that Husso will face. If he is also able to return to his true form that he showed in St. Louis, the Red Wings could be looking at a breakout season with their goaltending position.
While there are factors into any of these players having breakout seasons (ie. injuries, other transactions), the tools are there for each player to do so. It will be interesting to see if this trio breaks out in 2023-24 from here.