Focus on Young Players as Wings Continue Rebuild

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The Detroit Red Wings had been struggling coming into their game on Sunday night against the Carolina Hurricanes. The fact that the majority of the team’s scoring has come from only three of its players (Tyler Bertuzzi, Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin) is one reason for the struggle.

Filip Zadina

Filip Zadina, the Grand Rapids Griffins right-winger who was selected sixth overall in the 2018 NHL Draft, has been on a roll lately.

The 19-year-old Czech has scored 23 goals and totaled 48 points in parts of two seasons with the Griffins. From November 8th-22nd this year, Zadina tallied four goals and four assists. The Detroit Red Wings, who are looking to snap a five-game slide in which they are 0-3-2, lost Saturday to the New Jersey Devils. Not only did the team lose 5-1 to the New Jersey Devils yesterday, but Anthony Mantha left the game during the first period with a lower-body injury. Head coach Jeff Blashill said after the game that Mantha will be out “for a little bit of time.”

Given the number of injuries on the Red Wings roster and the recent play of Zadina, the 19-year-old earned the call-up from Grand Rapids. In nine games played with the Red Wings last season, Zadina totaled a goal and two assists. If he can come close to replicating that performance during whatever time he is up with the big club this season, the Red Wings will be even more glad that the right-winger out of Pardubice, Czech Republic fell to them in the draft.

Zadina had his first chance to prove himself this season when the Red Wings faced the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday. Carolina has been playing well as of late, winning four of their last five games prior to the game (two wins of which came in overtime). This good play is thanks in part to their right-winger Andrei Svechnikov. The brother of Red Wings left-winger Evgeny Svechnikov has four goals and four assists in the team’s last five games. Below is the projected lineup for the Red Wings:

Unfortunately for the Svechnikov family, the two brothers will not be on the ice when the Red Wings and Hurricanes face-off tonight. This is not the first time this has happened. Last season, Evgeny was recalled to Grand Rapids from Detroit ahead of a matchup between the two teams.

Other Notable Young Players

Filip Hronek has been another bright spot for the Red Wings. In the last five games, the Czech defenseman has scored two goals and added three assists.

Moritz Seider, defenseman for the Grand Rapids Griffins, scored his first professional goal in a game against the San Antonio Rampage on Wednesday night. After serving two minutes for a minor penalty, Seider found the puck on his stick and fired a shot from the left face-off dot at 13:14 of the third period.

The fact that the team has not won in their last five games is discouraging. However, if the young players on the team can continue to adjust to the game at the NHL level, they will be in a better position to contend for a playoff spot in the future.

The Red Wings were ultimately defeated by the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0. The team was shutout due to a lack of offensive output, totaling only eight shots in the second and third period. In just over 15 minutes on the ice, Filip Zadina totaled one shot on net. He did not do anything in his time on ice during his debut that would lead anyone to believe he does not belong in the NHL.

The Red Wings will play their next game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night. This will be just the third game behind the bench for the Leafs’ head coach Sheldon Keefe, who replaced Mike Babcock as head coach last week.


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