With an awful season now in the rearview mirror, the Detroit Red Wings are looking to show some major improvement. The roster has been revamped and the young players will hope to show some growth in the second season with Steve Yzerman as GM. So, with the season coming up next month, it’s time to make some Red Wings 2021 predictions. Make sure to check out fellow Red Wings writer Andrew Walsh‘s article with his predictions here.
Red Wings 2021 Predictions: Top Scorer
The easy call for top scorer is Anthony Mantha. The big forward was having a career year in 2019-20 when injuries derailed his season. This year, Yzerman has made it clear that he wants his winger to stop fighting and putting himself at risk. Fights were what led to two of his three injuries in the last two seasons.
Mantha had 16 goals and 22 assists last season in 43 games. He led the Red Wings in points per game (.883) and some of his best performances were while linemate Dylan Larkin was struggling. With the two of them at full strength and Mantha playing a full season, expect the rising star to lead the Red Wings in scoring this season.
Red Wings 2021 Predictions: Breakout Star
With a lot of Red Wings young prospects playing in Sweden and staying there for the season, there won’t be a lot of options to have a breakout season. There is one obvious option, and that is 2018 first-round draft pick Filip Zadina. The Czech winger was off to a great start to last season before a lower-body injury effectively ended his season.
In 2019-20, Zadina had 15 points in 28 games including a couple of highlight-reel goals. While on loan with Oceláři Třinec of the Czech Extraliga, he had 14 points in 17 games and has now returned to the Red Wings for the preseason. His goal-scoring prowess came out last season, and with the improvement of talent around him, expect the man who “brings the goals” to bring a lot to Hockeytown this season.
Red Wings 2021 Predictions: Biggest Impact Signing
The Red Wings added a lot of talent this offseason via short term, low-cost contracts. A lot of these players could make a big impact for the team this season. The one who will make the biggest impact is defenseman Troy Stecher. The Red Wings were the worst defensive team in the NHL last season. Outside of Filip Hronek, there weren’t any positives that could be taken from the blue line in Detroit.
That’s where Stecher comes in. His 3.8 point shares with the Vancouver Canucks was higher than any defenseman on the Red Wings last season. Pairing him with Hronek would create a solid top defensive pair that can support the great first forward line that Detroit has. He can play on both the power play and penalty kill which the Red Wings struggled with as well. He’s the exact type of player Steve Yzerman needed to sign.
Red Wings 2021 Predictions: Team MVP
This is where things get a little tougher. The first line for the Red Wings can be so scary when all healthy and performing. It seems easy to pick one of the three of them and call it a day. However, the best player in Detroit is on their blue line and that is Filip Hronek.
Through the first half of 2019-20, Hronek was undoubtedly the Red Wings best player. He played solid defense and contributed offensively all while having very little help from his fellow defenseman. Through the second half of the season, his play diminished as Jeff Blashill was forced to play him over 25 minutes a game. That’s a lot for any defenseman, let alone one in his first full season in the NHL.
Steve Yzerman has completely revamped his blue line this off-season. This will give Hronek capable teammates to help him which will only improve his play. He will run the power play and lead the team’s defensemen in scoring. He will be the team’s MVP in 2021.
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