Nobody expected the Detroit Red Wings to get off to a good start this season, so their 2-4-0 record is no surprise. The Red Wings offense was expected to be improved from 2019-20, but even then, they were still expected to be one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league. However, the complete lack of scoring balance from this team is stunning through the first six games of the season.
Red Wings Offense Lacks Depth Scoring
After the Red Wings win against the Carolina Hurricanes, it seemed they had figured out their scoring touch. Bobby Ryan joining the lineup after recovering from an injury was a needed spark as he scored three times in his first two games with the team. However, it became apparent very quickly just how little depth this team actually has.
Through the first six games of the season, the Red Wings have just five different goal scorers. Five. In six games. Ryan leads the team with four, captain Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi have three, and Anthony Mantha and Robby Fabbri each have one. There hasn’t been a single goal scored by a defenseman, and all five of these forwards usually feature on the top two lines.
This creates a much easier situation for opponents to deal with the Red Wings offense. They can easily shift around their forward lines to get their top defensive lines matched with the Red Wings top lines. It played a part in the Chicago Blackhawks shutting them down and handing them 4-1 and 6-2 defeats this past weekend. This is the same Blackhawks team that had allowed five goals in each of their prior four games to start the season.
COVID-19 Hasn’t Helped Matters
The Red Wings offense has been hindered by the lack of two fairly important pieces. Filip Zadina has missed the past two games and Fabbri has missed the last four due to COVID-19 protocol. They both are very important pieces and have been missed dearly by a team struggling to find the back of the net. While Zadina hasn’t scored yet, he had two assists in the win vs Carolina and his forechecking has created havoc for opposing defenses.
However, this doesn’t excuse the complete lack of chances and scoring from the other players on the Red Wings. Despite some solid play and good chances, neither Mathias Bromé nor Vladislav Namestnikov has registered a point this season. Neither has Valtteri Filppula who, despite averaging 14:59 of ice time this season, has registered just three shots in six games. Filip Hronek has had four assists so far, but the rest of the defensemen on the team have a combined three.
Someone desperately needs to step up to get the Red Wings offense going. Larkin is leading the team as expected with six points in six games. However, he can only help out one line at a time, and one of the aforementioned players or assistant captain Frans Nielsen will need to provide a spark if this team wants to be competitive at all going forward.
A Tough Road Ahead
The Red Wings schedule doesn’t get any easier with some tough opponents looming on the horizon. They play the first of a back-to-back against the reigning Western Conference champions, the Dallas Stars, tonight in Dallas. They are off to a fantastic start to the season with two wins over the Nashville Predators where they scored eight power-play goals in the two games combined.
The Red Wings then come back home where they’ll play the Florida Panthers, and then head down to Florida where they play two against the reigning Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. If they want to be competitive against three opponents who are significantly better than a Blackhawks team that swept them, the Red Wings offense will have to figure things out and get some help from their depth forwards.
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