Detroit Red Wings Leaning on Young Players Recently

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Both Lucas Raymond and Jonatan Berggren have been a vital part of the Detroit Red Wings lineup recently. The two young wingers have found their scoring touch despite struggling to do so in the early part of the 2022-23 season. These two have proven that they can play at the NHL level and will be part of the Red Wings Roster as they become a playoff team. Raymond has scored 15 goals in 45 games this season while Berggren has scored seven goals in 32 games played during his rookie season.

These two young Red Wings have stepped up in the absence of winger Tyler Bertuzzi. Bertuzzi has dealt with multiple hand injuries during the 2022-23 season, a season that Bertuzzi hoped would be productive for the 27-year-old. The Ontario, Canada native will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Bertuzzi has had contentious contract negotiations with general manager Steve Yzerman in the past. This latest injury may be the death knell in the mind of Yzerman when it comes to re-signing Bertuzzi. Head coach Derek Lalonde said recently that he expects to have Bertuzzi back in the lineup by Tuesday after suffering a lower-body injury.

Forward Joe Veleno is still learning to play at the NHL level at around the midway point of his third season. Veleno has scored one goal and added three assists in his last 10 games played. Veleno is playing more than just a one-dimensional offensive game. In a recent game against the Vegas Golden Knights, he blocked two shots and had two hits. A lot was made of the amount of size that Veleno added during the offseason two seasons ago. This muscle has gone from Veleno’s frame in order to be faster on the ice. At only 23 years old Veleno is growing into his role on the Red Wings at one of the premium positions in the sport of hockey.

The Red Wings rank 24th in the NHL in goals scored. If Veleno and Berggren were not on the team the absence of Bertuzzi might have put the team in a position to draft Connor Bedard as the number one overall pick in the 2023 NHL entry draft. The center from North Vancouver, BC, Canada is a player whose impact on the game will be felt immediately. A top-end center is something that every NHL could obviously use, particularly the Red Wings who may or may not be without Dylan Larkin who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.

Defenseman Moritz Seider has also played well despite not having the counting stats that he did during his rookie season. The 21-year-old won the Calder Trophy for the 2021-22 season and thus expectations were high for the Zell, Germany native headed into his sophomore season. Seider has had increased responsibilities under new head coach Derek Lalonde’s new systems. This is what happens when you are the best defenseman on a roster that has been lacking defense in recent years. Seider has drawn the toughest matchups night in and night out.

Jake Walman is another young defenseman that has played well for the Red Wings. The 26-year-old has played well alongside Seider as the top pairing in the team’s defense corps. The defense has long been a glaring issue for the Red Wings. This is despite Seider shocking the hockey world by playing so well during his rookie season. Walman will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season after signing a one-year contract with the Red Wings after he was traded from the St. Louis Blues. He has done nothing to dissuade Yzerman and the Red Wings from signing him to a new contract.

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