Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

Consider These For The New Year And The Play Of Jake Walman

12/26/2022 at 6:13pm EST

from Kevin Allen of Detroit Hockey Now,

Consistency remains an issue for the Red Wings. They have shown signs of becoming a highly competitive team, but they haven’t been able to maintain the same level of play.

But the team has positives to lean on as Detroit players practice Tuesday in preparation for Wednesday’s game at Pittsburgh. Here are five factors to consider about coach Derek Lalonde’s team heading into that road game.

1. Robby Fabbri Coming Off Injured List

The Red Wings have been targeting New Year’s for his return from knee surgery. It is not unthinkable that he might play Wednesday against the Pens or Friday against the Ottawa Senators.

His spunkiness and gritty play around the net should give the Red Wings a lift. Fabbri had 17 goals in 56 games last season. That essentially means the Red Wings are adding a 20-goal scorer back in the lineup.

2. Vrana Should Be Ready to Play

Lalonde has said there’s no timetable for Jakub Vrana to get back in the lineup. He hasn’t played in two months because he entered the NHL/NHL Players Association Players Assistance program. He is back practicing with the time. The Red Wings worked him pretty hard in his last practice.

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Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News on Jake Walman,

"I'm just trying to play my game, trying to help the team in whatever that is," Walman said. "I'm really trying to establish myself. It's time I take a step in my development and game."

Walman has one goal and one assist in 16 games, but his plus-minus rating of plus-14 is second to only Filip Hronek (plus-15), with whom Walman is seeing more time with lately as a defensive pairing.

Walman, 26, acquired last trade deadline (along with Oskar Sundqvist and draft picks) from St. Louis in exchange for defenseman Nick Leddy, had flourishes of eye-opening play with the Blues, but then, not enough. The consistency was an issue.

Walman feels he's at the point of his career where he becomes a regular and dependable NHL player.

"It's that time where I really prove I can be a big part of the team," Walman said. "If I can help the team with minutes (played), that's great. If I can help the team on the scoreboard, great. Any way I can help the team."

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I've been a fan of Walman since he joined the team last year. He's been steady defensively and he has a rocket of a shot. I'd just like to see him use it more.

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