Red Wings’ Center Marco Kasper is Ready For 2nd Line Role

The future is bright for the Detroit Red Wings. Their prospect pipeline is starting to generate NHLers who are contributing to the team. Moritz Seider, Lucas Raymond, and Simon Edvinsson have proven one way or another that they are ready for minutes in the big leagues.

Related: Red Wings’ Kasper is Better than Joel Eriksson-Ek & Dylan Larkin

Seider and Raymond have been staples of the NHL squad for the past two years. Which prospects could solidify a consistent spot on the roster next season? Edvinsson is trending that way, but Marco Kasper is making his case to be there too. Having Kasper as the second-line center makes sense because it can allow the Red Wings to deploy Andrew Copp differently. Kasper has played the role in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) and is ready to make an impact in the NHL as early as 2023-24.

Andrew Copp Can Play Elsewhere

Copp signed with the Red Wings in the 2022 offseason after being traded to the New York Rangers at the deadline. In the 2021-22 season, he played 72 games, collected 53 points (21 were goals), and averaged 2:14 time on ice on the power play while playing 19:11 on average per game. During that season Copp spent his time split between playing left wing, right wing, and center.

Andrew Copp Detroit Red Wings
Andrew Copp, Detroit Red Wings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Copp played one game with Kasper and Raymond for a total of 11:46 time on ice (TOI). It’s a small sample size, but Kasper played the center position during gameplay while Copp took faceoffs. It would give the coaching staff great flexibility to have another center in the top six who can take draws to help Kasper along, and Copp could do just that. Copp played a similar role in his time with the Winnipeg Jets, often playing as a winger for Mark Scheifele or Paul Stastny. His familiarity should make the Red Wings coaching staff comfortable deploying him that way.

Kasper Played the Role in the SHL

Kasper played 52 games in the SHL playing for Rogle BK. He tallied eight goals and 15 assists for 23 points while shooting 108 times and delivering 35 hits. In the SHL a hit is only attributed to a player if the team gains possession of the puck afterward so Kasper actually landed more hits than that.

Kasper was consistently listed as Rogle BK’s second-line center. This built on his solid rookie season in the SHL where he averaged 14:16 TOI. For a 17-year-old to get that kind of TOI is pretty rare, and speaks to his ability to do what is asked of him from the coaching staff. The SHL is only a few levels below the NHL as far as quality of competition goes. With the right support, Kasper could thrive as the Red Wings’ second-line center for the 2023-24 season.

Kasper Is NHL Ready

Kasper played 14:59 TOI in his NHL debut before being sidelined for the rest of the season with an injury. In the ice time he got, he displayed grit, intensity, good skating, and did not back down when intimidated. He’s well on his way to becoming a favorite player among Red Wings fans.

With a summer of conditioning under his belt, he should be primed for the start of the 2023-24 season. His surgery rehab is going well as he is already off crutches and working on strength and conditioning. A faster, tougher, nastier Kasper will make it incredibly difficult for the Red Wings to not play him on the NHL roster come October.

It may be difficult for the Red Wings to sign a free agent as a second-line center. But with Kasper in the wings ready for NHL action, they may not have to look too far.