Through the first month of the 2021-22 season, the Detroit Red Wings sit third in the Atlantic Division with a 4-3-2 record. Not too bad for a rebuilding team.
Now that October is in the past, let’s take a look at a few noteworthy Red Wings stats from their first nine games. It’s still early, but things are looking up in Hockeytown.
Red Wings Team Stats
8 – The amount of games it took to reach 10 points.
We’ll start with the good news. This is the fastest the Red Wings have reached 10 points since the 2016-17 season (seven games). Last year, it took 16 contests to finally hit the 10-point mark.
It’s clear this is a different Red Wings team. Last week’s win over the Washington Capitals was a sign that times have changed – this is a resilient group that doesn’t fold under pressure.
25th – Detroit’s ranking for both power play and penalty kill effectiveness.
Now for the not so great news. Detroit’s power play (15.2 percent) and penalty kill (73.5 percent) are still not clicking on all cylinders. There’s some signs of progress, but not enough to put the Red Wings in the top half of NHL teams.
70.36 percent – The five-on-five expected goals-for percentage (xGF%) for Detroit’s top line without Tyler Bertuzzi.
Surprising, right? What’s more surprising is that Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond actually fare better from an xGF% perspective without Bertuzzi, than with him (65.19 xGF%). With or without, Detroit’s top line has been absolutely dominating opponents so far this season. If anything, this shows that Jeff Blashill has some flexibility to move Bertuzzi to the second line to better balance the top six.
0 – The amount of five-on-five goals from Larkin or Raymond without Bertuzzi in the lineup.
Is it too late to take back the last idea about moving Bertuzzi off Larkin’s line? While their xGF% is strong, the results aren’t there – yet. Larkin and Raymond haven’t been able to score at even-strength without Bertuzzi mucking it up for them. They’ll have more opportunities though – Bertuzzi is set to miss seven more away games in Canada this season unless he gets the COVID-19 vaccine.
Red Wings Player Stats
9 – The amount of points Raymond has accumulated, which leads all NHL rookies.
Yes, that’s correct. Raymond leads NHL rookies in points so far this season with nine. Many expected the 19-year-old to take some time to adapt to the NHL, let alone North American hockey, but Raymond has only impressed through nine games. He and Larkin have developed excellent chemistry on the top line and power play, which could lead to a Calder Trophy nomination by season’s end.
22:26 – Moritz Seider’s average time on ice (TOI), which ranks second among all Red Wings.
After all the hype, Moritz Seider continues to thrive – even at the NHL level. He ranks second on the team in terms of TOI, trailing only Filip Hronek in that regard. Seider’s eight points—all assists—rank third behind Raymond and Bertuzzi (Larkin also has eight points).
Only nine games into the season, Seider has become a go-to player at even-strength, on the top power play, and on the penalty kill. Like Raymond, he’s getting early Calder Trophy consideration for his contributions thus far.
Related: Last Red Wings to Win Each NHL Award
4.01 – Gustav Lindstrom’s five-on-five xGF/60, which ranks second in the NHL among defensemen (minimum 50 minutes played).
While he’s missed the past few games, Gustav Lindstrom has quietly been outstanding for the Red Wings this season. He’s a perfect low-event, third-pairing blueliner, excelling in the defensive zone by limiting chances against and making smart plays after gaining possession. That’s traditionally been his calling card, at least.
But as the 4.01 xGF/60 suggests, Lindstrom has been very effective in the offensive zone, too. He doesn’t shoot a ton (7.73 shot attempts per 60) – Lindstrom just continues to make smart plays with the puck. If he was willing to skate on the left side, I’d love to see Lindstrom next to either Seider or Hronek, with Nick Leddy rounding out the top four.
.925 – Thomas Greiss’ high-danger save percentage (HDSV%), which ranks ninth in the NHL.
He doesn’t get much credit, but Thomas Greiss has been fantastic this year. Many expected Alex Nedeljkovic to take charge of the crease, leaving Greiss to be Detroit’s 1B or backup. That hasn’t been the case due to the veteran’s strong play. Greiss’ HDSV% is indicative of this. He has faced 11.21 high-danger shots per 60, which leads all NHL starting goalies. It’s astounding that he’s stopping nearly all of them.
235 miles – The distance covered by Steve Yzerman and Joe Veleno on their road trip to Scotiabank Arena.
This assumes the two met at Little Caesars Arena and didn’t take any scenic routes along the nearly four-hour drive. That said, Joe Veleno had ample opportunity to make a good impression on Steve Yzerman en route to Saturday night’s game.
Apparently, it was a great drive, as Veleno exploded for a goal and an assist in his season debut. If this continues, the young center may find himself in Detroit full time, with someone else headed back to Grand Rapids.
While we’re only nine games into the 2021-22 season, it’s encouraging to see so much positivity in Detroit’s output thus far. Most notably, the contributions from Raymond and Seider have been better than expected.
Regardless of what’s to come, this is an entertaining team. The Red Wings are finally showing signs of life in Hockeytown.
Tony Wolak is based in the Washington D.C. area and covers the Detroit Red Wings for THW. As a former junior and college hockey player, Tony has a unique perspective on Red Wings topics.