Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

Noticing The Young Wings

02/28/2022 at 12:20pm EST

from Sonny Sachdeva of Sportsnet,

What stands out most is who was leading that charge. As has been the case all year, it was the club’s young stars, the Red Wings’ youth movement continuing to show its potential.

Lucas Raymond was the first to get Detroit on the board, scoring early when Toronto had built up a 2-0 lead, keeping his club in it. He tallied again at the tail end of the comeback attempt, when the chaos had fully swelled, sniping the goal that got the red and white to dangerous territory at 8-7. He had another assist in between, too. Moritz Seider managed a pair of helpers on the night as well, and had plenty of time to do so as he led the team in ice with more than 25 minutes to his name.

The two rookies remain in the thick of the Calder Trophy race, with Raymond’s 42 points through 53 games leading all rookie scorers and Seider, perhaps more impressively, sitting fourth in rookie scoring with 39 points while averaging over 23 minutes a night. But it wasn’t just the two freshmen doing their thing — 22-year-old Michael Rasmussen chipped in a goal as well, 22-year-old Joe Veleno came up with a goal and a helper, and 24-year-old Filip Hronek amassed four points on the night, scoring Detroit’s third goal and then assisting on three others. And, just for good measure, captain Dylan Larkin (a veteran at 25 years old) chipped in with a helper, continuing what’s been a career year for him as he scores at the quickest pace of his career.

While Detroit’s navigating another season of lessons and steady growth rather than making the climb to anywhere near contender status, their potential has been on full display in 2021-22. They’re winning a higher percentage of their games than they have in five seasons. And while their chances at getting back to the post-season for the first time in that span are as slight as can be, there’s no question something is taking shape.

Watching Detroit nearly claw all the way back against Toronto, it was tough not see shades of their GM in the young Red Wings. There’s a quote about Steve Yzerman that comes to mind, from a Sportsnet interview with Darren Pang — who grew up with Yzerman in Nepean, and remains a close friend — a few years back. He was asked about Yzerman’s understanding of talent, his ability to put together quality pieces, as the GM did in helping to build what’s become a juggernaut in Tampa Bay.

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