The Detroit Red Wings are entering the next phase of their rebuild under GM Steve Yzerman, and although the last four seasons of sub-.500 records have been difficult to watch at times, there has been one constant that rings true: The kids can play.
Looking ahead to the upcoming season, there are a number of Red Wings – old and new – who are nearing major accomplishments. They vary from total points to record games played, but each one highlights the team’s continued maturation.
Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin Nearing Point Milestones
Despite playing on teams that have struggled to score, Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin have the opportunity to notch their 200th and 300th points, respectively, in 2020-2021. They should have a better chance to increase those totals than in previous seasons, given some of Yzerman’s offseason acquisitions. The team needs them to do just that to take a step forward next season.
With a combined 649 games between the two young forwards, this achievement will merely be a stepping stone in what will become illustrious careers.
New to the team, Troy Stecher, Vladislav Namestnikov, and Marc Staal will also have an opportunity to check off some milestones while making an immediate impact. Stecher needs 25 points to hit 100 in his career, and though that may be a stretch, Detroit’s newest defenseman has recorded at least 23 points in two of his four professional seasons.
Here are all the Red Wings who could hit a new century mark in career points this upcoming season:
- Frans Nielsen – 467 career points
- Dylan Larkin – 266 career points
- Vladislav Namestnikov – 189 career points
- Marc Staal – 188 career points
- Anthony Mantha – 173 career points
- Troy Stecher – 75 career points
Valtteri Filppula Approaches 200 Goals
Valtteri Filppula has always had the ability to score, and a bounceback season after scoring just six goals in 2019-20 would benefit him and the team. He’s nine short of 200 on his career, and 106 of those have come with the Red Wings, where he broke into the NHL 1,018 games ago.
Mantha and Namestinkov could both reach 100 goals this season, as they have 84 and 83, respectively. Especially of note, Namestnikov has played 165 more games than Mantha.
Here are all the Red Wings who could hit a new century mark in career goals this upcoming season:
- Valtteri Filppula – 191 career goals
- Anthony Mantha – 84 career goals
- Vladislav Namestnikov – 83 career goals
Dylan Larkin and Sam Gagner Serving Up Assists
Larkin’s got his work cut out for him if he’s going to hit 200 career assists next season – he’s 41 away. That said, he’s shown that he’s capable, tallying at least 40 assists twice in his career, in 2017-18 and 2018-19. The latter season was his most sparkling to date when he recorded 73 points on 32 goals and 41 assists.
Sam Gagner managed one goal in six games with the Red Wings last season, but it’s his passing that his him on the cusp of a major milestone. The newly re-signed veteran needs just five assists to hit 300 on his career, a mark that seems doable given that he has recorded double-figure assists in 11 of his 13 seasons. (from ‘Detroit Red Wings re-up Sam Gagner for one year; veteran fits into rebuild,’ Detroit Free Press, 09/26/2020)
Danny DeKeyser, Mantha, and Tyler Bertuzzi are all on the cusp of 100 career assists, as they need to record 6, 11, and 30, respectively. Bertuzzi’s milestone will be a stretch – his most successful campaign was last season with 27 assists – but he could have hit 30 last season had it not been cut short.
Here are all the Red Wings who could hit a new century mark in career assists this upcoming season:
- Sam Gagner – 295 career assists
- Dylan Larkin – 159 career assists
- Danny DeKeyser – 94 career assists
- Anthony Mantha – 89 career assists
- Tyler Bertuzzi – 70 career assists
Darren Helm Nearing Major Milestone as a Red Wing
Though Frans Nielsen and Staal will both likely notch their 900th games this season (at 896 and 892 games played, respectively), Darren Helm’s achievement may be the most sentimental of everything listed to this point. He is just three games shy of 700, and what makes it even more meaningful is every one of those games has been with the Red Wings.
Helm is 22nd in all-time games played for Detroit and he has a good chance to move up to 17th next season, where former teammate Justin Abdelkader sits at 739.
His 13 seasons with the Red Wings have produced countless memories. Who can forget the 2009 Western Conference Final-clinching goal in overtime against the Chicago Blackhawks? And his tenacity on the penalty kill always seemed as if it was modeled after the city’s blue-collar work ethic.
He’s amassed 243 points (109 goals and 134 assists), and here’s a little known fact: he received eight votes for the Selke Trophy in 2010-11 (Ryan Kesler won that season with 1,179 votes).
Mantha can hit 300 career games with 40 games played this season, and Larkin is just 11 away from his 400th.
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Here are all the Red Wings who could hit a new century mark in career games this upcoming season:
- Frans Nielson – 896 career games
- Marc Staal – 892 career games
- Darren Helm – 697 career games
- Danny DeKeyser – 441 career games
- Dylan Larkin – 389 career games
- Troy Stecher – 286 career games
- Anthony Mantha – 260 career games
- Tyler Bertuzzi – 199 career games
- Adam Erne – 170 career games
- Dennis Cholowski – 88 career games
It’s tough to know what to expect next season. At this point, the league has stated it’s hoping for a Jan. 1 start date, but it’s nice to know that no matter when it happens, there will be plenty of achievements for the Red Wings to celebrate.
A die-hard hockey fan in the desert, and proud Iowa State alum. Covers the Detroit Red Wings for The Hockey Writers.