The Detroit Red Wings are off to a fast start to the 2022-2023 season. The Red Wings have earned six out of a possible eight points during the first four games of the season. The only blemishes on the season are two overtime losses at the hands of Chicago and Los Angeles. The Red Wings will host Anaheim in a matinee affair this afternoon; game time is 5:00 PM ET at Little Caesars Arena.
Here is a list of ten first impressions of the 2022-2023 Detroit Red Wings.
This team is BIG, really big
The line of Michael Rasmussen, Elmer Soderblom, and Oskar Sundqvist is the biggest line in NHL history. The line averages 6’6, 230 LBS. The Red Wings only have three players (Pius Suter, Lucas Raymond, and Robby Fabbri) under 6′ tall.
The depth is already being tested
Through free agency and the draft, the Red Wings assembled depth that had been absent during the playoff drought. With Tyler Bertuzzi (upper body) and Jakub Vrana (personal) out for indefinite periods of time, the Red Wings still possess four solid lines.
Husso and Nedeljkovic have been excellent
Ville Husso and Alex Nedeljkovic have been an excellent tandem for the Red Wings. Expect the duo to continue to share goaltending duties for most of the first half of the season.
Chiarot and Maatta are proven vets
Ben Chiarot and Olli Maatta have been excellent through four games. Maatta has five points to start the season, and Chiarot has one goal and two points. The pair also solidify the top-four defense pairings with Filip Hronek and Moritz Seider.
The sophomore jinx is evident
Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond are struggling at the start of the season. Both are being watched more closely compared to one year ago. Every time Raymond touches the puck, he has someone draped all over him. Seider is playing the most minutes on the team and is certainly getting the respect he deserves from other teams. Both will be fine, but the duo is struggling out of the gate to start the season.
Kubalik was a steal from Chicago
When Bertuzzi went down with an injury, Dominik Kubalik was asked to play on the top line. So far, Kubalik has two goals and five points in four games.
Hronek has had a nice start
Playing with Maatta has given Hronek a chance to play a more significant role with the Red Wings. Maatta is really strong defensively, and Hronek now has a better chance to be offensive without giving up goals on a nightly basis. Last year, Hronek had a rating of -29 and had never had a season where he was a plus player. Through four games, Hronek is +5 and looks comfortable playing with Maatta every night.
Special teams look improved
The power play is still struggling, but it looks like the puck movement has improved from one year ago. The Red Wings are currently 23rd in the NHL with a 12.5% success rate. The penalty kill has been terrific. So far, the Red Wings have not allowed a power play goal against and are one of only four teams that currently have a 100% success rate at killing penalties.
Dylan Larkin is playing his heart out
A game-saving play in the final minutes of Monday’s game against Los Angeles shows that Larkin wants to lead this team back to respectability. As an impending UFA, negotiations between the Red Wings and Larkin’s representatives don’t appear to be affecting his desire to lead by example.
The Red Wings are relying on the 21 players they have.
So Red Wings management has decided to let the current roster players play. The only regular who has not dressed is Jordan Oesterle. There are several recruits in Grand Rapids, but for now, management will let them ripen in the AHL. The prospects will be good and ready if needed at some point in the future.