Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

On The Playoffs, Hronek And Copp

11/21/2022 at 12:10am EST

from Kevin Allen of Detroit Hockey Now,

Teams that are in a playoff position on American Thanksgiving are likely to qualify for the playoffs in the spring.

Most of those beliefs are at least rooted in the sport’s history, even the one about Thanksgiving, provided you accept that a 75% probability is a likely occurrence. In the salary cap era, 76% of teams in a playoff spot on the American holiday (based on percentage of available points earned) have gone to play in the postseason. Those numbers exclude any season when a full schedule wasn’t played.

Last season’s results fit that model: 12 of the 16 teams that were in an NHL playoff spot on Thanksgiving were still there at the end of the season. That’s 75%.

Seventy-five percent isn’t a guarantee. But most gamblers would like that probability. Detroit Red Wings fans would certainly like that fact if their team could hold one of those spots on Thursday. As this story is being written on Sunday afternoon, the Red Wings (9-5-3), according to the NHL.com, are the No. 1 wild card team in the Eastern Conference. They are the only wild card team, in either conference, with a points percentage above .600.

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Below, Ted Kulfan on Filip Hronek and Helene St James on Andrew Copp,

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

Maybe it wasn't necessarily taking a game over, but there was a play during Saturday's game that defenseman Filip Hronek didn't like.

Hronek was on the ice when Columbus tied the game early in the second period. Hronek didn't look great on the goal against.

Which all led to Hronek standing out the rest of the period, and game, and leading the Wings to a convincing 6-1 victory over the Blue Jackets.

"What I liked was, he got beat on the goal against, something he hasn't done, one play, and he hasn't done that all year," coach Derek Lalonde said. "He took it a little personal. So, he got his game going and he ended up scoring twice, he got his five-on-five game going, and he wanted to pick the team up after that, which is real good, playing for your teammates."

The two goals gave Hronek four on the season, along with 10 assists for 14 points, in 18 games, nearly a point per game clip. Hronek's plus-eight rating trails only Dylan Larkin (plus-nine), and analytically, many of Hronek's numbers rank near the best in the NHL.

It's been a rather startling turnaround for Hronek, 25, who struggled with his consistency last season, was a healthy scratch on occasion, and was rumored to be trade bait in the off-season.

Instead, Hronek has arguably been the Red Wings' best overall defenseman as the season nears the quarter-pole.

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from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

He seemed to get by on adrenaline the first couple games, but then Copp faded. There was an uptick in late October/early November, but then his play diminished again. When he set up a goal in Thursday’s 7-4 victory at San Jose, it was Copp’s seventh assist and eighth point in 17 games; he also had a minus-4 rating and was 42.6% on faceoffs.

That’s underwhelming for a guy who was signed to a five-year, $28.125 million deal when free agency began on July 13. It was a busy few days for Yzerman, who in addition to Copp’s $5.625 million annual average value also added Chiarot (four years, $4.75 million AAV), Perron (two years, $4.75 million AAV), Kubalik (two years, $2.5 million AAV), and Määttä (one year, $2.25 million). A week earlier, Yzerman traded for and then signed Husso (three years, $4.75 million).

Since being named GM of the Wings in 2019, Copp is the biggest contract Yzerman has given to a free agent. Copp’s appeal to the Wings was multifold: The 6-foot-1, 199-pound Ann Arbor native was coming off a career season that saw him post 21 goals and 32 assists in 72 games split between the New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets. The Jets had been his NHL home till then, and Copp, 28, had a .71 points-per-game average in 20-21, slightly below last season’s .74 average. The three previous seasons, his average hovered around .34-.41.

Free agency is called the silly season for a reason: Teams face competition for the few skilled players that make it to market, and that drives up prices. The Wings needed a center for their second line, and Copp looked like a good fit for the rebuild with eight years of experience that showed steady improvement.

The Wings certainly have put Copp in position to have better numbers. He averages just under 18 minutes per game, including around two minutes of power play time. Copp has played with skilled wingers, starting with Perron and Jakub Vrana, and, when Vrana was placed in the players assistance program two games into the season, Kubalik moved onto the second line.

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977. No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y. Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation. There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature. Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that.

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